The RGS Field Centre Grant is a new annual award aimed at supporting important field work at research centres in some of the world’s poorest countries. Each project must incorporate hands-on training of local early-career scientists.
Dr Kevin White, the first recipient of this award, reports on the project: “The aim of the project was to design and deliver a training workshop in modern dune survey techniques at the Biennial Congress of the South African Association of Geomorphologists, held at Gobabeb Training and Research Centre in September 2012. There were 60 participants from 10 countries at the conference, including 25 students. The location provided easy access to the Namib dunefield, allowing us to incorporate a hands-on fieldwork component to the workshop.
The workshop took place over two days. The first session began indoors with a presentation by Kevin White on Differential GPS surveying techniques. Mark Bateman (Sheffield) then introduced optical dating methods. Charlie Bristow (Birkbeck) wrapped up the presentations with an introduction to ground penetrating radar (GPR). Conference participants were then guided to Station Dune where Bristow and White had set up the DGPS and GPR equipment. The IAG sponsored students were taught how to use the equipment and they collected data along a transect up the west flank of the dune. The second session on the following day was led by Charlie Bristow who presented the results of the previous day’s fieldwork and discussed their interpretation. All sessions were very well attended and the workshop exceeded our expectations.
With the help of the conference organiser Dr Frank Eckardt (UCT), we were able to approach the International Association of Geomorphologists (IAG) to fund three bursaries to support the attendance of young African geomorphologists at the conference and workshop. The three recipients selected by IAG were Nandipha Mabuza (Swaziland), Christel Hansen (Namibia) and Johanna Niipele (Namibia).”
Watch a video about the workshop