skip to primary navigation skip to content


Annual Report 1998: Graduate School 1997-1998

Review by the Director

This report highlights some of the main activities of, and issues dealt with by, the Graduate School and its Departmental Committee during the academic year 1997-98 (the fifth year of its existence). The Graduate community is an essential and integral part of the Department, now averaging about 90, and during 1997-98 the Graduate School Office handled some 297 applications, almost equivalent to the undergraduate applications of a small Cambridge College. A system is in place for sending these applications out to academic staff in order to obtain decisions about supervision and admission (although the Graduate School Secretary in particular would welcome improvements in efficiency and faster turn-round of application forms). The tables on the following pages provide a statistical breakdown of the applications and admissions for the M.Phil. courses and for research. Although there are no longer formal targets for M.Phil. admissions, the Graduate School has in mind to maintain the overall number of graduate admissions in any one year at a level which will maintain or slightly reduce overall numbers of Masters students. 1997-98 was the first year for the M.Phil. in Quaternary Science, but only one student met all conditions and eventually registered for the M.Phil. in Polar Studies. However, when this M.Phil. is running, there may have to be a small reduction in the numbers on other Departmental M.Phil. courses; in 1998-99 there are five students. The only difficulty will be that the ability to manage numbers is hampered by unpredictable variations in the conversion rate of offers to numbers of students meeting all conditions and arriving at the beginning of the academic year.

During the year the increasing emphasis on research training by the Economic and Social Research Council has been a continuing issue, which led to planning for a more integrated Research Training Programme for graduate students. It was evident that overlap and duplication existed between some elements of separate training programmes held for M.Phil. and research students, and this problem was addressed in time for October 1997 when a new, integrated and modularised Research Training Programme came into operation. This was also integrated with the inter-Departmental social science research training programme involving Social Anthropology, Criminology, and Social and Political Sciences. The programme seemed to run smoothly, but some students found the course of variable relevance to their needs, indicating the difficulties of mounting a generic training programme at this level. During the summer of 1997, the Department prepared its case for ESRC Research Recognition, and was successful in its application for status as a Mode A training outlet. One element of feedback from this exercise indicated the increasing emphasis not only on formal training, but also on formal assessment of the students. Further attention will need to be given to this in anticipation of future submissions. During the year, the ESRC Training Committee made an official visit to the University. The Director of the Graduate School represented the Department at the general session, while other members of staff and postgraduate students attended specialist sessions. It was evident from the joint discussions that the ESRC was likely to expect further increases in the number of taught hours in first-year graduate training programmes. Although the Department seemed to be relatively well positioned in this context, it was clear that these training requirements are becoming even more demanding.

The Training Programme has for some time included a Graduate Forum in January, when all first-year research students present an outline of their intended research. This is invariably a very successful event, characterised by high-quality presentations and full and helpful audiences. With so many graduate students, the presentations have to be run in parallel, which leads to awkward decisions. The Departmental Seminar Programme has also come to be considered an integral part of the Graduate School's remit, and of the training programme, and in 1997-98 the programme provided a varied series covering most major fields of the subject (socio-economic, historical, political, environmental and physical geography). In 1998, the programme was partially thematized, with part being based around a pre-selected topic in environmental geography. Of course, this is only one of the seminar series run in the Department; the graduate students themselves run a weekly meeting, and there are Occasional Discussions in Historical and Physical Geography.

There is no question that the smooth and effective running of the Graduate School Office is very largely due to the efforts of Maria Constantinou, to whom I am grateful as much for getting to know each and every graduate student in order to provide a much valued link between the students and the Department, as for her undoubted secretarial and administrative skills. The expansion of graduate numbers has meant a huge increase in Maria's workload over the last two years, and it is clear that at certain times of the year, her office is very over-stretched. Temporary help over these periods might become necessary.

Finally, it is a pleasure to note some of the successes of the graduate community during 1998. Harriet Bulkeley was elected to a Junior Research Fellowship at St Catharine's College; John Murton was awarded the Audrey Richards Prize of the African Studies Association for the best doctoral thesis in African Studies in the human sciences for 1998; Matthew Watson was awarded the 1997 Gordon Manley Prize (for a postgraduate working on an aspect of climate change); Olga Toutoubalina was awarded the Remote Sensing Society's prize for the best Masters dissertation (the second time in three years that this prize had been awarded to a student of the M.Phil. in GIS and Remote Sensing); and Sarah Selby (an M.Phil. student) was jointly awarded the Royal Geographical Society dissertation prize. Congratulations are due to these graduates, and to those listed below who have successfully defended their theses and moved on to a variety of posts after completing their research.

Dr Linda McDowell
Director, Graduate School

Graduate School Admissions Statistics

M.Phil in Environment and Development

for 1997-98
for 1998-99

M.Phil. in Geographical Information Systems and Remote Sensing

for 1997-98
for 1998-99

M.Phil in Quaternary Science

for 1997-98
for 1998-99

*transferred to M.Phil. in Polar Studies

Research student applications and admissions

for October 1997
for October 1998

Dissertation Titles 1997-98

M.Phil in Geographical Information Systems and Remote Sensing

Adu-Prah, Mr S
Assessment of image processing techniques using multi-sensor imagery for mangrove forest mapping in the Volta Estuary, Ghana
Bornman, Ms R
An investigation of scale and spatial resolution in airborne imagery
Edwards, Mr E P
Orthorectification and mosaicing of digitized aerial photographs
Frondoni, Ms R
Remote sensing and land cover mapping: a case study in central Italy (Monti Lepini)
Kamau, Ms E M
Relating physical parameters to Black Poplar distribution using a geographical information system
Kanniah, Ms K D
Remote sensing of volcanic crater lakes
Lenkeit, Ms K A
The integration of optical and radar data to characterize volcanoes of the Afar Rift Zone, eastern Ethiopia and western Eritrea
Mabuntana, Ms L
Using geographic information systems to evaluate impacts of revitalising the railway line between Cambridge and Hemingford Grey (with specific focus on the “A14 Corridor”)
Marsden, Mr P D
Determining administrative boundaries from remotely sensed imagery
Plant, Mr P
Implementation of an artificial neural network for land area classification
Prabaharan, Mr J D
Mud flow modelling using DTM
Rajan Mathew, Mr T
An integrated approach to hydrological modelling in a mountain environment using GIS and digital elevation modelling
Sirimane, Ms S N
Visualisation techniques for international epidemiological data: the example of the WHO’s expanded programme of immunisation
Tabone-Adami, Ms E
Corrections for the estimation of chlorophyll concentrations in coastal waters from remotely sensed data

M.Phil. In Environment And Development

Antunes, Mr J H P
Global environmental co-operation and regime effectiveness in the Joint Implementation mechanism - a case study
Cavender, Ms A J
Non-governmental organisations in environment and development, Kabale, Uganda
Chui, Ms Y P
Coastal management in the Wash, Eastern England: putting sustainable development into practice
Chung, Ms Y Y A
Environmental monitoring and audit in Hong Kong: bridging the gap between promise and performance?
Gorman, Mr M J
Biodiversity, bioprospection, conservation and indigenous knowledge: a study of the issues in the Ecuadorian case
Hartwig, Ms H B
Telematic-discourse in the European policy-making process
Keck, Mr A M
Seven years of greening UNIDO: Why did it take the direction it did?
Li, Mrs B
Taming Leviathan: pollution regulation enforcement and small-scale industries in the Huaihe River, China
Saravanan, Mr V S
Sustaining community-based resource management: conditions for collective action. A case study of two tank irrigation societies in Tamil Nadu
Selby, Ms S L
To clean or not to clean? The effectiveness of Cyperus papyrus in removing water pollution, Lake Victoria, Uganda
Sheriff, Ms N
The marine environment and protective legislation: regulation and compliance in the Scottish fish farming industry
Tovey, Ms K
The institutional response to the water needs of peri-urban communities
Warman Diamant Mr J
Community participation in a marine turtle conservation program in the coast of Michoacan, Mexico
Welford, Ms L A
The use of natural resources by Vhimba community in south-east Zimbabwe

Ph.D. degrees awarded 1997-98

Akech, Mr S O
Application of remote sensing and GIS in land-cover mapping in Kerio Valley, Kenya
Brasington, Mr J
Monitoring and modelling response and sediment yield in heterogeneous highland catchments
Campbell, Ms L
International conservation and local development: the sustainable use of marine turtles in Costa Rica
Costa-Posada, Mr C
The topographic effect in visible and near infrared satellite imagery
Gao, Mr C
Sedimentology and stratigraphy of the River Great Ouse, southern England
Ingram, Mr A R
A nation split into fragments: the geopolitics of Russian nationalism and the congress of Russian communities
Low-Beer, Mr D
The diffusion of AIDS in East Africa: from emergency to decline?
Madawala Weerasinghe, Mrs S
Hedgerow intercropping for soil improvement in Sri Lanka
Main, Mr A S
The UK coastline and shoreline management plans (Certificate of Postgraduate Study - one year)
Mair, Mr D
The flow and force balance of a valley glacier
Moeller, Ms I
Wave attenuation over salt marsh surfaces
Murton, Mr J
Coping with more people: population growth, non-farm income and economic differentiation in Machakos District, Kenya
Spalding, Mr M
Biodiversity patterns in coral reefs and mangrove forests: global and local scales
Stirk, Mr N P
The historical geography of business entrepreneuralism in the late 18th and early 19th centuries
Wills, Mr J
Re-writing Latin American debt: critical geopolitics and the international financial system.
Woods, Ms S E
The role of the ‘old’ in new economic geography: the survival and significance of a mature industrial district

Destinations of Ph.D. Students after Completing Degree, 1997-98

Akech, Mr S O
Lecturer, Department of Geography, University of Nairobi, Kenya
Brasington, Mr J
Lecturer, Department of Geography, University of Hull
Campbell, Ms L
Lecturer, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada
Costa Posada, Mr C R
Post-Doctoral Research Assistant, Dept of Geography, Cambridge University
Gao, Mr C
Geology and mineral resources management
Ingram, Mr A R
Associate Lecturer, Anglia Polytechnic University
Low-Beer, Mr D
Medical Consultant for a firm in London
Madawala Weerasinghe, Mrs S
Assistant Lecturer, Department of Botany, University of Peredeniya, Peredeniya, Sri Lanka
Main, Mr A S
Research Assistant, University of Newcastle
Mair, Mr D
Post-Doctoral Research Assistant, Department of Geography, University of Cambridge
Moeller, Ms I
Deputy Director of Cambridge Coastal Research Unit
Murton, Mr J
Employment with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, London
Spalding, Mr M
Working for the Cambridge Coastal Research Unit, Cambridge
Wills, Mr J
Working for J.P. Morgan
Woods, Ms S E
Research Associate, University of Liverpool: has applied for job at Manchester University as Research Associate

Departmental Seminar Programme 1998

15 January
PROFESSOR MAGGIE PEARSON (Regional Director, NHS Exec, NW & Visiting Prof. in Health Service Research, University of Liverpool)
'Who cares these days: shifting territories in health and social care'
22 January
DR IAN WILLIS (Department of Geography, University of Cambridge)
'The Hydrology and Dynamics of Haut Glacier d'Arolla, Switzerland'
29 January
DR CHERYL McEWAN (University of Birmingham)
'Countering paternity and eurocentrism in the 'geographical tradition''
5 February
PROFESSOR ROB FERGUSON (University of Sheffield)
'The case of the vanishing gravel - downstream fining and the gravel-sand transition in rivers'
12 February
PROFESSOR JOHN AGNEW (University of California, Los Angeles)
'The Italian Northern League and the politics of identity'
19 February
PROFESSOR BARBARA E BROWN (University of Newcastle)
'The Resilience of Corals and Coral Reefs'
26 February
PROFESSOR CHRIS PHILO (University of Glasgow)
'Madness, memory, time and space: a nineteenth century imaginative geography'
5 March
DR MARTYN TRANTER (University of Bristol)
'The role of terrestrial ice in the global carbon cycle'
23 April
PROFESSOR PETER HALL (University College London, Bartlett School of Architecture & Planning)
'Innovation, Creativity and the City'
30 April
'Nuclear OACs: the final frontier'
7 May
DR MATTHEW GANDY (University College London)
'Into the light: the Paris sewers and the rationalisation of urban space'
14 May
DR BRYON BACHE (Department of Geography, University of Cambridge)
'Reflections of a reluctant geographer: air-earth-water and society'
22 October
DR STEVE TRUDGILL (Department of Geography, University of Cambridge)
'Ecosystem science v social constructs: Research and management in Slapton Ley Nature Reserve, Devon'
29 October
DR NAILA KABEER (IDS, University of Sussex)
'The conditions and consequences of choice: Some reflections on indicators of women's empowerment'
5 November
DR JOHN HANDMER (Flood Hazards Research Unit, Middlesex University)
'Policy design for hazard management'
12 November
PROFESSOR PETER BURKE (Emmanuel College, University of Cambridge)
'Cultural frontiers of early modern Europe'
19 November
DR TIM FORSYTH (Institute of Development Studies, Falmer, Sussex)
'Myths and meaning: Integrating natural and social science in environment and development'
26 November
PROFESSOR PETER HUGILL (Department of Geography, Texas A&M University)
'Commodities in the world economy: Cotton in the first global economy'
3 December
DR SALLY EDEN (School of Geography, University of Hull)
'Social constructions of nature in environmental restoration'