Thousands of pounds worth of research grants have been awarded to academics at St Andrews University by a major national funding body.
Dr Urška Demšar of the school of geography an sustainable development (SGSD) has been awarded a prestigious research grant from the Leverhulme Trust to fund her future work.
Dr Demšar’s grant of £247,672 is for a three-year research project entitled: ‘Uncovering the Mechanisms of Migratory Bird Navigation with Big Data Analytics’.
This project will use data analytics to explore how birds use the information from Earth’s magnetic field for navigation by linking bird tracking data with geomagnetic data from satellites and terrestrial networks to, for the first time, find out about the actual geomagnetic conditions that the birds experienced during their journeys.
The project will bring together geographic information science researchers from SGSD with ornithologists from the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology (MPIO) in Germany.
Meanwhile, Dr Katherine Roucoux, also of the school of geography and sustainable development, has been awarded £398,932 for a project entitled: ‘Valuing intact tropical peatlands: an interdisciplinary challenge’.
Dr Roucoux’s work focuses on the conservation of 35,000 km2 of largely intact peatlands in Peruvian Amazonia which are globally-significant long-term carbon stores and contribute to the total Amazonian biodiversity.
In addition, Dr Christopher Lancefield of the School of Chemistry has been awarded an Early Career Fellowship of £93,000 for his research: ‘Unravellling the chemistry that drives lignocellulose degradation in nature’.
The Leverhulme Trust was established by the will of William Hesketh Lever, the founder of Lever Brothers, and has provided grants and scholarships for research and education since 1925.
Today, it is one of the largest all-subject providers of research funding in the UK, distributing approximately £80m a year.