News and Events
Dr Jeff Neilson receives Elsevier Atlas Award
17 December 2014
Dr Jeff Neilson receives Elsevier Atlas Award for his article titled ‘Global private regulation and value-chain restructuring in Indonesian smallholder coffee systems’ from the World Development journal. Each month, a single Atlas article is selected from published research from across Elsevier’s 1,800 journals by an external advisory board made up of individuals from NGOs including organizations such as the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), Health Informational for all – HIFA 2015, United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) and more.
Atlas articles showcase research that can significantly impact people’s lives around the world and we hope that bringing wider attention to this research will go some way to ensuring its successful implementation. Congratulations Jeff!
Read the award-winning article.
Read more about Atlas.
World-leading EarthByte Group forging new frontiers in mining insights
16 December 2014
The EarthByte Group has been featured in the December 2014 issue of the Australian Resources and Investment Magazine. The article reviews EarthByte’s research activities with an emphasis on the emerging area of applying “big data knowledge discovery” approaches to generate mineral prospectivity maps for green fields exploration.
Read the full article.
Assoc Prof Bill Pritchard on climate change and global food security
04 December 2014
Assoc Prof Bill Pritchard of the School of Geosciences, The University of Sydney spoke at a Sydney Ideas event on 26 November 2014 on the topic of climate change and its impacts on global food security. He was joined by Professor John Ingram of the Environmental Change Institute of Oxford University, and Debbie Hunt, from Oxfam Australia.
Watch the presentation video.
Professor John Connell awarded the Fellowship of the Geographical Society of NSW
04 December 2014
Congratulations to Professor John Connell on being awarded the Fellowship of the Geographical Society of NSW. The Fellowship was conferred at the Society’s annual Awards Evening on Monday 1st December, 2014. Professor Kevin Dunn (UWS) read the citation that honoured John for his “outstanding contribution to geography, the University of Sydney, The Geographical Society of New South Wales and to the success of the Society’s journal Australian Geographer.” The award was presented to John by the Society’s President, Professor Phil McManus.
The Awards Evening also included an engaging Guest Speaker – Professor Bruce Thom from the Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists and from the School of Geosciences, The University of Sydney. Bruce spoke about “Geography: Yesterday, today and tomorrow” and highlighted the work of two leading geographers of the twentieth century in Australia – Thomas (Grif) Griffith-Taylor and James MacDonald Holmes – and how their ideas link with the contemporary regional-based approach to natural resource management being promoted by The Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists in their November, 2014 “Blueprint for a Healthy Environment and a Productive Economy”.
2014 Geographical Society of NSW Honours Conference
26 November 2014
Congratulations to Alisha King, Jordan Welsh and Cameron Byers who presented their Honours thesis research at the 2014 Geographical Society of NSW (GSNSW) Honours Conference. They all performed very well, along with students from UWS, Wollongong, UNSW and Melbourne. The standard of presentations was very high. Cameron Byers received the Jim Rose Geography Award for the Best Paper for his thesis “The Contested Visions of Tourism on Cape York Peninsula: Frontier fantasy, campaign rhetoric or sustainable future?”. Further details are available at the GEOGSOC Website via the Facebook link.
25 November 2014
Dr Filippo Dall’Osso and Associate Professor Dale Dominey-Howes together with their research partners the Sydney Coastal Councils Group, were awarded the Federal 2014 Resilient Australia Award for their project “ Coastal Vulnerability to Multiple Inundation Sources”.
The award was presented to them by the Federal Minister for Justice, The Hon Michael Keenan MP at a special ceremony held at the National War Memorial in Canberra yesterday. They were awarded the national prize in the category of “Local Government” having been nominated by the NSW State Government having won the 2014 NSW Resilience Award in the same category in September this year. Congratulations for this achievement!
The Coastal Vulnerability to Multiple Inundation Sources project expands awareness and understanding of the vulnerability of coasts to different types of inundation and the impacts on buildings and infrastructure. It has enhanced community safety and preparedness by identifying vulnerability hotspots, evacuation corridors and refuges. It has also enabled recommendations to be formulated in relation to planning and development, coastal and emergency management and communication. It has empowered local and state government decision makers with adaption tools and resources for capacity building, policy development, the implementation of best practice and broader behavioural change.
Visit the Ministry for Police & Services website to see the other NSW winning entries.
Congratulations Geosciences Graduates!
31 October 2014
The School of Geosciences would like to congratulate Dr Ann Turner, Dr Tubtim Tubtim and Dr Sophia Maalsen on their recent graduation! Good luck on your future endeavours, we are all very proud of you!
2014 Melbourne Cup can become 'the race that stops the whip'
30 October 2014
The thoroughbred racing industry is innovative, yet proud to maintain traditions – both at the track and in the breeding barn. This is not necessarily bad, but when should an activity involving the use of animals for human entertainment maintain tradition, and when should it change?
Read Phil McManus' article on The Sydney Morning Herald.
Phil McManus is a professor of urban and environmental geography at The School of Geosciences, University of Sydney.
Failure to Adapt! Lessons from the US experience of Hurricane Sandy
29 October 2014
Date: Monday 17 November 2014
Time: 6:00 - 7:30pm
Location: History Room S223, The Quadrangle, University of Sydney
This is a special talk co-presented by The School of Geosciences, The Australian Coastal Society and Geosciences' GeoCoastal and Natural Hazards Research Groups.
Once again, the USA has experienced the impact of a significant coastal storm, Hurricane Sandy. And, once again we have responded in a manner that ignores the reality of long-term coastal vulnerability, ignores future climate change, creates environmental harm, and ignores the true costs of subsidizing coastal development. There were initially some serious post-Sandy discussions regarding the need to ensure that we simply don’t “just put everything back where it was.” Two years later, there have been few substantive moves to relocate property away from coastal hazards or to change the footprint of vulnerable coastal communities. In fact, the oft-heard outcry is “We will rebuild!” This is particularly true of coastal resort communities in New York and New Jersey. Some communities have initiated large-scale efforts to elevate (in situ) infrastructure and private property. But, for the most part, all coastal communities will be relying on various methods to continue protecting infrastructure in place. This will be done largely through the largest beach and dune building effort in US history. In New York, regulatory agencies seem to have given up trying to prevent property owners from using hard structures to defend their investment homes, leading to some of the largest structures ever built to protect a single home. All of this is made possible through the fact that we have no national plan for coastal management, adaptation, or storm recovery. Significant federal subsidies assume most of the risk for coastal investment creating a moral hazard for coastal property owners and communities. We are paying them to make the wrong choices, and they are lining up to do so.
Don't forget to register for the event.
Opportunity: Interdisciplinary field-school at Angkor, Cambodia
28 October 2014
An exciting opportunity exists for three Geoscience students to take part in a two-week, 6-credit point field school at the extraordinary World Heritage site of Angkor, in Cambodia.
The in-country program will take place 13-27 January 2015. During that time, students from Asian Studies, Archaeology, Geosciences and Architecture will be embedded as interdisciplinary teams within the University’s Greater Angkor Project - a multi-national research program that has been at the forefront of research at Angkor for more than one decade. Further details are available on the field school website.
Geosciences students with an interest in urbanism, geoarchaeology, climate change, and remote sensing can enrol in GEOS 3054, and will find this an invaluable experience.
The Sydney Southeast Asia Centre will grant $2000 to each successful application to assist with airfares, hotel accommodation etc.
Expressions of Interest must be provided using the online form. PLEASE BE QUICK. Demand will be high, and pre-departure language and cultural training begins in November.
For further information contact
Geography Asia-Pacific field school reunion 2014
18 October 2014
Since 1988, geographers at the University of Sydney have run 25 undergraduate and four postgraduate field schools to Southeast Asia and the Pacific. The programs have been between two and six weeks in duration and have taken students to Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, southwestern China and Indonesia, as well as to Fiji, New Caledonia, Samoa and Vanuatu. They have been run in close liaison with local universities and students in each location. The field schools have been run by Philip Hirsch, Maurie Daly, Bill Pritchard, Chuck Greenberg, John Connell and Jeff Neilson.
On Saturday 18 October 2014 approximately 150 of the nearly 600 students who have been on these field schools gathered in the Maclaurin Hall at the University of Sydney for a grand reunion, together with Phil, Maurie (who retired in 1995), Bill, John and Jeff. Students from the 1980s, 1990s, 2000s and more recent of the field schools reflected on ways in which the field school experience has stayed with them through life, work and further studies. A trivia quiz brought students together from across the years and destinations, with a bottle of Lao rice whiskey as first prize. Following the geographers’ example, University of Sydney field schools are now run in Southeast Asia by Agriculture, Law, Medicine and the Sydney Southeast Asia Centre. In 2015, geographers will run three field schools, to Laos, Indonesia and India.
5 October 2014
A new high-resolution marine gravity map that reveals tiny seafloor features has been created by an international scientific team using satellite radar measurements of the ocean surfaces.
University of Sydney geophysicist Professor Dietmar Müller is a member of the team whose research was published today in the international journal Science.
The team combined new radar altimeter measurements from satellites CryoSat-2 and Jason-1 with existing data to construct a new global marine gravity model. The result is a model two times more accurate than previous models.
Read the full article.
26 September 2014
During the United Nations General Assembly meetings this week, Ban Ki-Moon has convened a high-level side event on the Zero Hunger Challenge. This initiative by the UN Secretary-General bears the tag line “Hunger can be eliminated in our lifetimes”.
The Zero Hunger Challenge works in much the same way as the Make Poverty History campaign. Even if unachievable, there is merit in setting out goals as core aspirations for the global community.
So, if the goal of “zero hunger” is unachievable, what level of progress should we aspire towards? And how can we measure this success, given our woeful history of defining and calculating global hunger?
Read the full article written by Bill Pritchard and Chetan Choithani.
25 September 2014
We are pleased to announce an Intensive Field School to India will be held in February 2015. This Field School will be worth 6cp and is tailored to students in Geography, Political Economy and Development Studies.
The attached flyer has all the relevant details.
An information session will be held at 3pm Thursday 16 October 2014, Madsen Conference Room 449, Madsen Building.
For any queries, please contact Bill Pritchard at .
Congratulations Gabby McDonald!
17 September 2014
Honours student Gabby McDonald was one of 16 students world-wide to be awarded a Student Field Trip Travel Grant from the Society of Economic Geologists to participate in "Archean Base and Precious Metal Deposits, Southern Abitibi Greenstone Belt, Canada”. The field trip was lead by a team of Canadian experts and travelled from Timmins to Noranda and then Malartic visiting world famous mines. Gabby finished her own Honours fieldwork in the Yilgarn Craton just in time to get on the plane to Canada.
29 August 2014
Academic staff from the School of Geosciences have been elected to the 2014/2015 Geographical Society of New South Wales (GSNSW) Council. Professor Phil McManus succeeds Professor Gordon Waitt (Wollongong) as President of the GSNSW, and Dr. Josephine Gillespie was re-elected as a member of the Council. A number of graduates from the School of Geosciences are also members of the new Council. Please see the full list of Council positions and contacts.
For further information about the GSNSW and its exciting activities, geographical resources and membership offers, please visit the Society's homepage.
23 August 2014
School of Geosciences member Associate Professor Dale Dominey-Howes appeared on day-time television on Tuesday 19th August to discuss the recent discovery of large methane sinkholes (blowholes) in Siberia. The discussion also explored the possible connection with global warming. Check out the interview on Channel 7’s “The Daily Edition”.
23 August 2014
Dr Emma Calgaro and Associate Professor Dale Dominey-Howes from the Asia – Pacific Natural Hazards Research Group in the School of Geosciences have been successful in winning a major disaster resilience grant. Together with The Deaf Society of New South Wales, the New South State Emergency Service and the New South Wales Rural Fire Service they have been awarded a total of $237,406 for a project entitled “Sharing responsibility for natural disasters by enhancing the emergency preparedness of deaf people”.
The grant award is made under the Community Resilience Innovation Program, a component of the National Disaster Resilience Program and the funds are provided by the New South Wales Ministry for Police and Emergency Service.
This is a particularly exciting award as it represents the stage two implementation step of a previous project led by Dale funded from 2011 – 2013.
Dale explains, “the project builds upon our skills as Geographers to draw together the physical earth system hazards processes Australian communities experience with the social, cultural and behavioral contexts that define community resilience and vulnerability”.
For further information on this project, please contact Dale.
15 August 2014
Congratulations to Associate Professor Patrice Rey who has been elected as a fellow of The Geological Society of America.
Society Fellowship is an honor bestowed on the best of our profession by election at the spring GSA Council meeting. GSA members are nominated by existing GSA Fellows in recognition of their distinguished contributions to the geosciences through such avenues as publications, applied research, teaching, administration of geological programs, contributing to the public awareness of geology, leadership of professional organizations, and taking on editorial, bibliographic, and library responsibilities.
Find out more.
New Colombo Plan Scholarships to Indonesia
30 July 2014
The School of Geosciences has successfully obtained government funding to support 6 undergraduate geographers to undertake a semester-long immersion program in geography at the University of Indonesia in 2015. To apply for these scholarships, each worth $5000, please contact or see the attachment for further details.
Applications close August 20, 2014.
Food@Sydney Seminar Series 2014
25 July 2014
This exciting initiative from the Food node of Sydney Environment Institute is presented in collaboration with the Charles Perkins Centre and Sydney Ideas. Leading academics, influencers and activists from Sydney and beyond will delve into the big food issues facing Australia and the world. From food waste to food sovereignty and from obesity to small agriculture - these talks will tackle critical food challenges.
For more information about times and venues, please visit the Sydney Environment Institute.
University of Sydney Geographers at the World Congress of Sociology in Yokohama, Japan
16 July 2014
Five members of the School of Geosciences presented at the World Congress of Sociology in Yokohama in Japan this week. Yayoi Fujita Lagerqvist, Bill Pritchard, Chetan Choithani and Mark Vicol all gave talks in a Special Session on Indigenous Knowledge, Local Livelihoods and Food Security, convened by Bill Pritchard. Leonardo Valenzuela presented a paper at a special session of the Sociology of Risk and Uncertainty.
More information on the official conference website.