Scottish Alliance for Geoscience, Environment and Society

Research & Innovation Committee

SAGES Research and Innovation Committee (RICom) manages the research funding processes; allocates SFC earmarked funds (PEER and PECRE); allocated SAGES Small Grants and International Conference Support funds; manages research forum processes. Membership comprises: Director; two leaders per theme; Graduate School Director; Business Development Manager. Advisory Board members may attend meetings. RICom meets on a 6 monthly basis in combined meetings with ExCom.

Professor Matteo Spagnolo is a member of the Research and Innovation Committee in his role as SAGES Director.

Matteo is based at the School of Geosciences in the University of Aberdeen.

Matteo gained his BSc in Natural Sciences from Pisa, followed by an MSc in Remote Sensing and GIS from Firenze, and a PhD in tectonic geomorphology from Genova, in Italy. He moved to Sheffield in 2007 for a postdoc on drumlins,and, two years later, to Aberdeen where he has been ever since, except for a year spent at Berkeley in 2017 as a visiting professor.

Matteo has been a vibrant member of the Aberdeen Cryosphere and Climate Change Group and has held various roles including School PGR Director, Elected Senator, and Head of Geography and Environment.

Jamie is an early career scholarship lecturer in the School of Geosciences, University of Aberdeen and has a background in ecological studies, with a PhD in ecohydrology. His main scientific interests are how urban green spaces can help mitigate the hydrological effects of land use and climate change, as well as how upland ecosystems function ecohydrologically, and how this has changed over time. He is also interested in better understanding which parts of a dataset have the greatest information content and from this how sampling regimes can be made more efficient, as well as how they can be adapted to best appeal to industry end users.

My background is physical geography but I teach collaboratively with civil engineers and environmental and social scientists. I work in interdisciplinary teams on research projects that contribute to our understanding of human interactions with nature, and natures’ interaction with the built environment in both urban and rural settings. I have extensive experience of working with the public and with stakeholders in relation to decision-making for multi-functional/multi-benefit use urban green space and rural environments.
My major research interests at Abertay University include: Urban Ecosystem Services, Geomorphological and ecological effects of stream and river channel restoration; Blue and green infrastructure, urban drainage, SuDS and urban watercourses; Ecosystem-based Management; and Cultural/Societal interactions with nature.
Dr Jorat is currently working as a lecturer in geotechnical engineering in the Division of Natural and Built Environment in the School of Science, Engineering and Technology, Abertay University. He is a geotechnical coordinator for the Sustainable Urban Carbon Capture: Engineering Soils for Climate Change (SUCCESS) project. His role involves designing and implementing field experiments to monitor geotechnical properties of substrates during the carbonation process, assess the impact of soil carbonation on flood risk and determine a validation process for measuring the carbonation process. His current research aims to specify a practical design for soils used in engineering, restoration and construction works that maximises sequestration of atmospheric CO2 (inorganically) through natural soil processes, including the use of ‘Carbon Capture Gardens’.
Karen is a Lecturer in Geobiology at the University of Glasgow’s, School of Geographical and Earth Sciences. She is passionate about the geobiology and biogeochemistry of glacial environments. Her work focuses on the role that microorganisms play in facilitating the flow of nutrients into and through glacial systems. This work allows her to consider the relationship between glacial microbial communities and their surrounding environments; the distribution and connectivity of microbiota locally and regionally; and the impact of climate warming on the future ecological function of glacial systems. Karen also has an interest in the microbiota of peatlands. Karen was formerly a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions Research Fellow, working out of Aberystwyth University, a Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of Copenhagen and GEUS, and a Research Associate at the University of Washington, Seattle.

Andrew is a Chancellor’s Fellow at the University of Edinburgh in the School of GeoSciences. Andrew arrived at the University of Edinburgh in 2010 following a PhD in astrophysics at Scuola Internazionale Superiore di Studi Avanzati (SISSA) in Trieste, Italy and has been researching climate change ever since. His research focuses on understanding the causes of past climate change throughout the last millennium. This work includes running climate models and using the results to study observed climate variability, disentangling the influence of external forcings from natural climate variability. He has a particular interest in the climate of the early instrumental era.

Dr. Irena L. C. Connon is a Lecturer in Social Science at the University of Stirling. She holds a PhD from the University of Aberdeen and has also held positions at the University of Dundee, the University of Technology Sydney, and the University of Edinburgh. As a Social Anthropologist and transdisciplinary researcher, she has extensive research experience exploring the human dimensions of environmental risks, hazards, and disasters, and in enhancing inclusion in Disaster Risk Reduction policy and practice. She has served as an advisor to the Scottish Parliament and the US Office of Science National Centre for Environmental Health and is the current Chair of the International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences Commission on Risk and Disasters. She currently co-leads the Creating Sustainable Water Futures SAGES fora, which aims to foster and strengthen interdisciplinary and intersectoral collaborations to confront contemporary water security challenges. As co-leader of SAGES Theme 3: Atmosphere, Oceans and Climate – The Fluid Earth, her interests include understanding the human impacts of compounding and cascading forms of climate events and environmental pollutants and improving understanding of the effectiveness of developments in predictive modelling for improving climate adaptation, climate action, and the management of environmental pollutants.

Dr Daniel Gilmour is a Chartered Water and Environmental Manager and Senior Lecturer at Abertay University. His research focuses on the enhancement of sustainability in the natural and built environment with interests in the fields of sustainability assessment, decision support and public participation in decision making, in particular sustainable service provision. He has significant research experience, working on a range of projects with Scottish Government, local government and business to support inclusive decision-making. His research influences local government organisations, the public, water companies and their regulators through the application of an integrated framework for the assessment of sustainability and the communication of the complex data required in this assessment to a wide range of stakeholders. His research has resulted in changes to public policy and services, raised the awareness and understanding of key stakeholders with a resulting increase in the ability of the stakeholders to make more informed decisions.
I am a catchment scientist conducting research on the effectiveness and implementation of nature-based solutions in the land and water sectors. I am currently an Assistant Professor at Heriot Watt University. I am also involved in research investigating the effectiveness of natural flood management using a range of methods. Prior to this UK-based work, I had a decade of experience as a researcher and policy advisor on climate change impacts on developing countries focussed on designing and evaluating new policies for reducing carbon emissions in the land sector in the tropics (particularly REDD+). I collaborated with various multilateral organisations (e.g. UN, World Bank) and country governments (e.g. Indonesia, Rwanda) to support the development of these policies.John Howe joined the Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS) in 1998 moving to Oban from a post-doctoral research post with the British Antarctic Survey. He has a PhD from the University of Southampton in marine geology and a degree in Geology from Derby University. In his current role of Senior Lecturer in Marine Geology he has been head of the Biogeochemistry and Earth Sciences department, is currently Degree Program Leader and is supervisor for a number of research students. Currently he sits on the steering group of the Marie Curie International Training Network (ITN) Glaciated North Atlantic Margins (GLANAM) project and the NERC National Capability Marine Environmental Mapping Program (MAREMAP). His research focus is on marine geomorphology and habitat mapping, Quaternary ice sheet history, glaciomarine environments and the use of autonomous underwater vehicles in marine mapping. He has worked in the Arctic and Antarctic examining marine sediments as archives of long-term environmental change. He has 91 published outputs from peer-reviewed science papers to magazine articles and book chapters. Current projects include the use of AUV’s in the Arctic and in the Patagonian fjord region of Chile. He is a keen sub-aqua diver, and is a scientific diver with the National Facility for Scientific Diving at SAMS as well as helping to run the student diving club.

Shona is an environmental geographer and is in the final stages of completing her PhD at the University of Edinburgh, where she explores the socio-environmental drivers of land use change in the context of the central Congo Basin peatlands. With a background in research and practice in the international development sector, Shona is passionate about linking research to real-world outcomes on topics that intersect natural resource governance, poverty and equity in challenging settings. With an interdisciplinary background and training in both the physical and social sciences, Shona enjoys bridging both worlds and communicating interdisciplinary research.  Outside of work, Shona loves a cold plunge in the sea or one of Scotland’s many lochs and enjoys being the aunt to her sister’s very loveable dog.

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