Research Scholarships & Expeditions


An introduction from Professor Ruth Valentine

Students are an integral part of our research culture at Newcastle University. By taking part in any research experience, students develop as independent thinkers, learn new skills and are exposed to the vibrant research culture and environment of the University.

We support undergraduate students through the Research Scholarship scheme to allow them to work alongside researchers on 6-to-8-week summer projects and, through the Expeditions scheme, to help to fund students to undertake field research in other countries. Recent projects have involved researching in archives, working on archaeological material, collecting, analysing, and interpreting social data, working on a laboratory project, or travelling to another part of the world to undertake research in an unfamiliar and challenging environment.

Independent research carried out with the support of more experienced researchers builds confidence and develops analytical skills. For some students the experience of research will stimulate or confirm an interest in postgraduate study and research, for others it will be a way to enhance their skills and experience.   The production of a poster at the end of the project helps students to further develop their presentational skills and underline the importance of being able to communicate research findings to a variety of audiences.

This scholarship scheme is a fantastic experience for our students and is a great opportunity for our colleagues to work with our enthusiastic and talented students in a different setting.  

Professor Ruth Valentine
Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Education)



An Introduction from Dr Emma 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 seventy one 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