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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, or closely related, field of interest. From this mutual collaboration may come ideas, joint publications and grant applications for future joint research projects. For stays of six months or more, we expect a short report (500 words), to be submitted by the host to the Director of Research within three months of the end of the visit, detailing the activities undertaken in Cambridge.

Our Visiting Scholars have a PhD degree, are carrying out research and looking to collaborate with academics in the Department of Geography at Cambridge while they are taking a sabbatical from their home institution. While a Visiting Scholar will have a prime point of contact - their 'host' - we hope that they will engage more widely with our research activities, through attending meetings of our Thematic Research Groups and through discussions with individual researchers in the Department. And we encourage links with researchers in other Faculties and Departments in Cambridge over the course of their stay.

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:

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Dr Shinichiro Asayama, collaborating with Prof Mike Hulme

Research: Shinichiro Asayama is a JSPS research fellow at Faculty of Political Science and Economics, Waseda University, Japan. Through interpretative social science analysis, his research focuses on studying the role of discourses, framings, narratives, imaginaries and worldviews in shaping public debates around the science-politics interface of climate change, such as the IPCC, CCS and geoengineering.

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Dr Thomas Aubry, collaborating with Dr Anja Schmidt

Research: Thomas is a Royal Society Newton International Fellow working on interactions between climate and volcanoes. His PhD at the University of British Columbia focused on improving our understanding and modeling capacities of volcanic plumes, including how their rise is affected by climate. In Cambridge, he will use the UK climate model to investigate how changes in plume dynamics, atmospheric chemistry and atmospheric circulation driven by ongoing climate change may affect the impacts of future volcanic eruptions.

Dr Nicholas Blegen, collaborating with Prof Christine Lane

Research: My research as part of the "Ashes of Our Ancestors" project, in collaboration with Prof. Christine Lane, focuses on modern human evolution through the studies of volcanic glass (obsidian) and volcanic ash layers (tephra) from the last 500,000 years in East Africa. My geochemical sourcing of obsidian artefacts shows that our human ancestors from at least 400,000 years ago regularly transported obsidian distances between 50 and 250 km. To establish a chronology of geographic matching scale, I use chemical analysis of volcanic ashes dispersed across East Africa. This work has documented many widespread ash layers, some found across an area of over hundreds of thousands of square kilometres and correlating across several East African rift basins. These tephras thus provide the chronological and stratigraphic context with which to characterise past landscape environments relating to human behaviour across large geographic areas commensurate with the scope of human interactions documented by raw material sourcing.

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Dr Alan Crivellaro, collaborating with Prof Ulf Büntgen


Dr Alan Crivellaro is a plant ecologist and wood scientist with a strong research interest on linking cells to ecosystems functioning, including treeless areas of most of Earth’s biomes. Fundamental aspects of his work involve the study of anatomical traits and their variations along the plant stem of trees, shrubs and herbs. The knowledge gained is then applied to understand how plants structure changes according to different growing conditions, to infer how plants cope in a changing environment. A complementary strand of work in his research is wood and timber identification and properties, including archaeological wood remains and illegally traded timber species. Dr Crivellaro loves providing conditions in which students can learn.

In collaboration with Prof Ulf Büntgen and the Climate and Environmental Dynamics group, he will work on quantitative wood anatomy in relation to global change biology and ecology, including wood identification and anatomical features analyses in dendroecology.

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Dr Somaiyeh Falahat, collaborating with Prof Matthew Gandy

Research: Urban modernity, post-colonialism, politics of production of knowledge, neighbourhoods and urban planning.

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Dr Catherine Martin-Jones, collaborating with Prof Christine Lane

Research: Geochemist and geochronologist, using tephrochronology to explore palaeoclimate and volcanic hazards in eastern Africa.