Durham Geography is a community of 68 academic staff (approximately equally divided between physical and human geography), a graduate school of around 100 research and 40 taught postgraduate students and more than 680 undergraduates.
It has been ranked as one of the top ten in the world for 5 consecutive years according to the QS rankings and is recurrently ranked in the top handful of programmes in the UK by various league tables (currently 2nd in the Times Good University Guide and 3rd in both the Complete University Guide and the Guardian University Guide).
The Department was graded top for research power in UK geography in REF 2014, producing the most world-leading (4*) publications in the country.
Our aim is to be acknowledged globally as one of the key hubs of geographical scholarship – broadly conceived. We will maintain our reputation for theoretical and conceptual innovation so that we are shaping and leading debates globally.
We will continue to bring concepts and materials from across disciplinary boundaries to renew geographical scholarship and bring geographical perspectives to bear in other domains. We work across every continent and most of the major oceans, and embrace the full diversity of methods and data available to the discipline.
We are expanding our core undergraduate programmes and will be bringing in world leading staff accordingly to ensure these programmes continue to offer the highest quality of education that takes students to the research frontier. The quality of the undergraduates who come here and the degree programmes which ensue, along with our large graduate school, mean that the teaching experience here for staff is truly excellent.
Ranked 2nd in the Times / Sunday Times Good University Guide 2017 and in 3rd in both the Complete University Guide 2018 and Guardian University Guide 2018.
We are committed to thinking, researching and studying globally – addressing the grand challenges of our age on issues such as climate change, security, sustainability, hazards and resilience, mobility and urbanisation. We embrace the different ways of working and thinking across the discipline and beyond that complement and extend our main research thematics.
We seek people who are not only at the forefront of current key debates but who will shape future ones. We seek people who are outcome driven, who value the very highest standards in their publications and teaching; who have a capacity and willingness for innovation and transformation in their research in ways that shape geographical understandings or who identify and pursue new areas of interdisciplinary enquiry.
We expect to appoint people who do not just follow agendas but drive them, while supporting a culture of collective endeavour, openness and mutual respect; who demonstrate and accept excellence through a diversity of theoretical and empirical approaches. Academics who inspire the students they teach and demand the best from them as they do from themselves.
Scholars who, whilst delivering the highest quality education and research, also recognise the importance of the public benefit of their work through critical engagement with non-academic communities nationally and internationally.
Our major foci of work are expressed in our 7 research clusters: Culture & Economy, Geographies of Life, Politics-State-Space , Urban Worlds, Catchments and Rivers, Hazards and Surface Change, and Ice Sheets & Sea Level.
Within those we engage in debates that move beyond disciplinary boundaries and we are actively engaged with collaborators within and beyond the discipline, from the sciences, social sciences and humanities, in University Research Institutes (such as the Institute for Hazard Risk and Resilience, and the Durham Energy Institute) and Centres (such as the Centre for Medical Humanities and the Centre for Visual Arts and Cultures). Our staff collaborate with colleagues in many other disciplines in Durham and internationally with other geographers and across disciplines.
The department fosters a lively research culture, supporting workshops and events which draw in international guests and mobilising the talents of our doctoral students. It provides seedcorn support to develop collaborations and projects, be they seeking funding or creating outputs. We are engaged with a wide variety of local, national and international bodies in both designing and implementing work addressing many of the global challenges.
There are typically more than 100 funded projects running in the department at any one time across the whole range of the discipline from residencies for artists to multiple grants that have sustained a programme of fieldwork on Ice Sheets in Greenland for 20 years.
Current projects examine earthquake vulnerability across 5 countries, nature based solutions for urban issues, plaeoclimates in high and low latitudes (using indicators from speleothems to foraminifera), slope stability on land and undersea, carbon cycling through geomorphological processes, digital technologies transforming workplaces and financial systems, urban austerity and the drivers of people trafficking and illicit economies, to name just a few.
We have exceptional support facilities – ranging from cartography to laboratory support. For physical geography, the laboratories are equipped to deal with wet and dry sediment analyses, with fully climate controlled laboratories for high precision chemical and geotechnical testing, a sediment biomarker and geochemical laboratory, radionuclide dating laboratory, a microfossil preparation laboratory and microscope rooms.
This includes some very advanced equipment such as the MSCL Xray and XRF scanning facility, QEMSCAN, back pressure shear boxes and stress path cells. Our field equipment includes advanced laser scanning equipment and vehicles, a boat and several UAVs, alongside an extensive suite of GIS and remote sensing software available.
The department is large unit with some 68 academic staff, broadly split between physical and human geography, and more than 35 research staff. We have a strong record of supporting progression through the department - world class performance has been rewarded, as evidenced in a profile of 30 Professors, 11 Associate Professors, 22 Assistant Professors and 6 teaching fellows.
The academics are well supported by a strong complement of non-academic staff, including 18 technical staff and 21 administrative staff. This means we can support academics in areas from undergraduate pastoral work, to cartographic services, to research grant preparation and with an impact officer.
Our people are our core asset, so we support them through their careers and needs, responding sensitively and supportively to requests for flexible working, fractional contracts, shared parental leave, reasonable adjustments to work on health grounds and so forth.
We offer a generous system of research leave for all academic staff, but recognise the especial needs of those returning from adoption/maternity leave with an extra term’s allowance. Our commitment to equality saw us in the first wave of Equality Charter Unit winners of the Gender Equality Mark for non-science disciplines.