Research Scholarships & Expeditions

‌An introduction from Professor Suzanne Cholerton

Newcastle University places a high value on students pursuing new knowledge, developing independence of thought, and being exposed to the culture of research.  The University supports undergraduate students with scholarships to work alongside researchers on summer vacation projects and, through its Expeditions scheme, to undertake field research in other countries.  Both these schemes enable students to experience research-led learning and to develop key skills.

A Research Scholarship can cover a wide range of activities, such as researching new archival material in Newcastle or further afield, working on archaeological material, collecting, analysing and interpreting social data or working on a laboratory project alongside members of a research team. 

Conducting independent research alongside more experienced researchers can have a very positive impact on the confidence and motivation of students.  By giving students the opportunity to work closely with staff on research projects, Research Scholarships enable students to understand the research activities of their teachers, and to have a window on the research environment. Conducting research work in the field gives students opportunity to plan, organise and execute research projects in challenging and unfamiliar environments.

Whatever the domain of activity, a Research Scholarship provides an opportunity for students to find out what research is like, to develop research and problem solving skills and to engage in enquiry based learning.  The production of a poster at the end of the project helps to develop presentational skills and underline the importance of being able to communicate research findings to a variety of audiences.

For some students the experience of working on a ‘live’ research project will stimulate or confirm an interest in postgraduate research, for others it will be a way of integrating knowledge, enhancing the learning experience and developing valuable professional skills.

I hope that all of the students who were successful in gaining a Research Scholarship or Expedition funding will have benefited from their experience through an enhanced understanding of the value of research, and an increased confidence in their research and professional skills.

Professor Suzanne Cholerton
Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Learning & Teaching)


‌ An Introduction from Dr Emma PearsonEmma Pearson

 The history of student expeditions at Newcastle dates back to 1948 when a small group of Geography undergraduates took part in a pioneering expedition to Iceland, guided by Hal Lister, a Reader in the Geography Department and noted Arctic and Antarctic explorer. Subsequent expeditions over the past sixty-six years have been organised and conducted by students themselves from a wide range of disciplines from each of the three faculties to countries as diverse as Brazil, Greenland, Iceland, Israel, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Norway, the Maldives, Papua New Guinea, South Africa, Tibet and Zambia. Research has been carried out on a range of topics including biodiversity, ethnography and rock art, tropical diseases, medicinal plants, nursing care, melting glaciers, territoriality and identity, forest tribes, and nomadic communities.

 Organising an overseas expedition is a challenging exercise, requiring students to develop research aims and objectives, identify study sites, learn new techniques, obtain field equipment, and liaise with research counterparts and institutions overseas. An additional challenge is that overseas expeditions often require substantial funding which the students must raise themselves, including from external professional bodies such as the Royal Geographical Society and commercial sponsorship.

The students who rise to these challenges gain a wide range of valuable skills and also benefit from team-working and leadership experience. In addition to the hugely rewarding experience that students gain throughout the whole expedition process from planning through to successful completion and write-up, they always return with new skills, a huge sense of satisfaction and fulfilment, and increased confidence and maturity.

Dr Emma Pearson                                                      
Chair of University Expeditions Committee