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People in the Department: Visiting Scholars

People in the Department: Visiting Scholars

The aim of a Visiting Scholar is to discuss and share ideas with another academic in our department who works within the same field of interest. From this mutual collaboration may come ideas and, possibly, future projects.

Our Visiting Scholars have a PhD degree, are carrying out research and looking to collaborate with academics in another University while they are taking a sabbatical from their home institution. However we can exceptionally accept some PhD students provided they wish to visit the Department to spend time collaborating with other academics and not as a formal element of their study programme.

The Department of Geography accepts Visiting Scholars from a wide range of backgrounds and research fields. They can be either supported by their institutions or self-funded.

We cannot provide Visiting Scholars with any help finding accommodation, setting up childcare facilities, or other personal welfare. Please note that the University of Cambridge does not provide childcare support to visitors. The University Accommodation service may be able to help with accommodation.

In order to be an academic visitor in the Department you need to be invited by a member of the Department academic staff.

Read about how to apply to be a Visiting Scholar.

Latest News for Visiting Scholars

Department Seminars

Newcomers and Visiting Scholars Society

Work Permits - If you are from a non-EU country, you need to check with your British Embassy regarding the necessity of a visa and/or work permit. The Home Office has recently changed its rules for visitors and has not yet provided a specific new channel through which a potential visitor may apply.

Current Visiting Scholars in the Department:

Dr Ursula Allitt, collaborating with Prof Philip Gibbard

Research: Dr Allitt is an aerobiologist monitoring the air in Cambridge during the seasons of pollen production of trees, grasses, and weed pollen, mostly nettle. Daily counts are used by the Met Office to produce forecasts of pollen concentrations for members of the public suffering from allergic rhinitis and allergic asthma, and for the health services which care for them (GPs and hospital Allergy Departments).

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Mrs Julie Boreham, collaborating with Dr Steve Boreham

Research: Julie Boreham is a Geoarchaeologist with a special interest in British Prehistory and Native American palaeo-environments of the Southwest USA. Her current research, in collaboration with Dr Steve Boreham and other members of the Quaternary Palaeoenvironments Group, involves the development of new techniques and methodologies for the impregnation and thin sectioning of traditionally difficult and challenging soils and sediments using polymer-based resins.

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Dr Stefan Engels, collaborating with Prof Christine Lane

Research: As a palaeoecologist, Stefan's research is focussed on the reconstruction of past environmental and climatic changes using lake sediments. His research interests span from the penultimate interglacial (Eemian) to the present, and he works in records from the tropics to the Arctic. His current research, in collaboration with Prof Christine Lane, involves the development of chronological frameworks for a selection of study sites in Europe and southeast Asia.

Dr Somaiyeh Falahat, collaborating with Prof Matthew Gandy


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Dr David Helman, collaborating with Dr Andrew Friend

Research: David Helman is interested in investigating the interactions between global climate change and terrestrial ecosystems using biogeochemical models and remote sensing techniques. He is currently a postdoctoral research fellow working with Dr Andrew Friend at the University of Cambridge. In his current research, David uses global vegetation models (GVMs) and satellite-based models to examine impacts of climate and anthropogenic land cover changes on terrestrial carbon and water cycles. David intends to distinguish between climatic and human contributions to the global CO2 and water vapour dynamics by combining satellite observations (e.g. MODIS) and GVMs based solely on climate, like HYBRID model developed by Dr Friend. This will be done based on different projected climate and land cover change scenarios. Find more on David’s research here:

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Dr Christopher Jeans, collaborating with Prof Philip Gibbard and Cambridge Quaternary

Research: A geologist who specialises in Clay Mineralogy.

External webpage

Dr Karolina Leszczynska (Malinowska), collaborating with Prof Philip Gibbard

Research: (Details to follow)

Mrs Patricia Saunders, collaborating with Prof Keith Richards

Research: (Details to follow)

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Dr Mark Schuerch, collaborating with Prof Tom Spencer

Research: Mark Schuerch is a coastal geographer. His research focus lies on the physical impacts of accelerated sea-level rise on coastal wetlands. These wetlands are important ecosystems and habitats for many red-listed plants and animals. In particular, he concentrates on the physical processes of sediment accretion on salt marshes and on the related processes in the foreshore of the salt marshes. By means of field measurements and numerical modelling he unravels the interactions between salt marshes and the tidal basins adjacent to these marshes.

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Prof Kevin Schurer, collaborating with Dr Alice Reid

Research: Prof Schürer is on sabbatical from the University of Leicester where he is Professor of English Local History and served as Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research and Enterprise). He returns to Cambridge, having previously worked at the Cambridge Group for the History of Population and Social Structure between 1982 and 1996, and will be working with colleagues on both the Atlas of Fertility Decline project (Reid) and the History of Entrepreneurship (Bennett). Alongside these existing projects he will also be researching aspects of leaving home, migration and family structures in the second half of the nineteenth-century in England and Wales. He will also continue on-going research into Richard III’s DNA and the break in his Y-chromosome line between 1485 and the present.

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Dr Vitchko Tsanev, collaborating with Prof Clive Oppenheimer

Research: Dr Tsanev is a world leader in ultraviolet sensing of volcanic gases.

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Dr Philip Underwood, collaborating with Prof Tom Spencer and Dr Mike Bithell


Dr Underwood is an ecosystem modeller, specialising in describing the plasticity of natural systems. This is achieved through the use of individual-based models which resolve population- or system-level properties as an emergent function of many interacting individuals.
After a short career as a software engineer, Philip was inspired by James Lovelock's writing on Gaia theory to pursue postgraduate education. He has since completed an MSc in Evolutionary and Adaptive Systems at the University of Sussex, and a PhD in Theoretical Ecology at the University of East Anglia. He recently completed his first postdoc at British Antarctic Survey as part of the Integrating Climate and Ecosystem Dynamics (ICED) programme.
Philip is currently assigned to the UNEP-WCMC and works with the Cambridge Coastal Research Unit (CCRU) in the Department of Geography. He is advancing the representation of fish and fisheries in the Madingley Model with a view to inform the future sustainability of marine living resources from conservation and food security perspectives.

Dr Marissa Yates, collaborating with Dr Iris Möller

Research: (Details to follow)

Those soon to join us:

Dr Carrie Andrew, collaborating with Prof Ulf Büntgen


With a focus on fungal ecology related to global change, Carrie Andrew has, with collaborators, most recently been describing large-scale impacts of climatic and temporal change on fungal fruiting phenology across Europe. Data from numerous multi-source databases of herbaria, museum and citizen science records have been combined into a European 'meta-database' capable of exploring macroecological and biogeographic patterns, as well as distributional and community dynamics, in fungi from past to current time. Previously Carrie has researched impacts of elevated CO2 and O3 on ectomycorrhizal fungi, as well as abatement of nitrogen deposition on ectomycorrhizal fungal communities. Her background is in botany and mycology.

Eidg. Forschungsanstalt WSL Birmensdorf, Switzerland, employs Carrie the duration of her current postdoc, which follows a prior postdoc at the University of Oslo, Norway. Carrie is an active teacher, having four years previous experience adjunct instructing at two universities in Chicago, Illinois, USA. Currently, she teaches basic R skills through the Software and Data Carpentry initiatives.