Male student carrying out research in the river basin room

Living a researcher’s life on placement

I was once told in an interview I conducted for an assignment that research is constant in every part of your life and have come to understand that it can become a lifestyle as much as it is a job. The reality of the vast number of hours required to develop, conduct and analyse research became very apparent in the earlier stages of this project.

As with many parts of the placement; I learned that no plan survives or works the first time around. Designing and implementing a methodology with which to conduct representative and accurate research was by far the biggest culprit for siphoning my time throughout this project. I would say that the implementation of the experimental design was the greatest challenge as the time it takes to alter and finetune some of the setups were labours and time consuming. A specific example was deciding how we would quantify the amount of sediment and microplastics were being transported at each hydrograph.

By consulting my supervisors and doing a bit more reading we decided on designing a fixed bed system by gluing sediment to wooden boards so that the only material being transported is from our samples. Though it was a challenge it came with the benefit of giving me not only a great level of insight into the nuances of conducting scientifically relevant and accurate research; but it also enforced my ability to think critically and to solve problems. Read More

Dr James Ebdon accepts the award on behalf of Professor Huw Taylor

An honour for Professor Huw Taylor

The first winners of the Professor Huw Taylor Prize – named in honour of the late Emeritus Professor of Microbial Ecology at the University of Brighton – were announced at a ceremony in Vienna.

The prize, which recognises ‘exceptional scientific contribution to provide water or sanitation solutions in emergency and developing settings’, was launched at the International Water Association’s 20th biannual Health-Related Water Microbiology (HRWM) symposium.

There were two winners of the inaugural award: Professor Taylor himself – in recognition of his exceptional contribution to the health-related water microbiology science field and to the HRWM specialist group – and Imperial College London research student Laura Braun.

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First field trip for our Geographers, Cuckmere Haven

Welcome to all our new students!

Dr Mary Geary, senior lecturer in Human Geography, introduces our new Geography students to working in the field with a trip to Cuckmere Haven.

“There’s nothing like a charabanc full of slightly soggy staff and new students heading off to the coast to kickstart the new academic year. As part of our introductory welcome week here in the School of Environment and Technology the Geography, Archaeology and Environmental Sciences teams always take our fresh intake of first year undergraduates off to visit one of Sussex’s most iconic landscapes – the Seven Sisters, viewed from the estuary of the River Cuckmere in Cuckmere Haven. Read More

From Brighton to Arctic Sweden

The Environmental Sciences BSc(Hons) course at Brighton attracted me because of its modular flexibility and scope. When I applied in 2014, I did not feel a strong pull in the direction of a particular field within the geosciences, but I wanted an overview understanding of the environment and how it is being influenced by humans. BSc Env Sci promised exactly that.

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Looking forward to a summer of research

I’m undertaking a six-week funded internship as part of the Santander Summer Research Scheme as a 2nd year Environmental Sciences undergraduate student at the University of Brighton. I entered university with a clear idea of what I’d like to achieve; which in the long term is to do impactful research especially relating to rivers and water issues. The advertisement for the summer research position immediately caught my attention as a fantastic opportunity to gain experience as a researcher working alongside the skilled and experienced staff from the universities Centre for Aquatic Environments. Not only does the position offer me invaluable experience which will aid in my long-term goal of undertaking a PhD, but it also expands on what I’ve been taught so far in my undergraduate modules. I felt entirely grateful and privileged to be offered the position following the application and interview process. In part I was relieved in receiving the offer as this will undoubtedly be a great step forward to furthering my academic career. Read More

Brighton scientists researching ways to protect 11 million people

The University of Brighton is joining an international research project to protect Thailand’s coastal communities from natural disasters which cause the loss 30 square kilometres of shoreline every year.

The £592,000 study will improve understanding of Thailand’s vulnerability to storms, floods and coastal erosion which affect 17 per cent of the country’s population or more than 11 million people.

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First year geographers and environmental sciences students head to Greece

Dr Mary Gearey, Senior Research Fellow in SET, reflects on her first Greek field trip – 6th-10th November 2018 with our first year Geography and Environmental Sciences students.

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A field trip to the seaside

Final year students from across our Geography, Geology, Environmental Sciences, Civil Engineering, and Chemistry courses took a trip to the beach this week to collect grab samples of bathing water from seven sites between Brighton Palace Pier and Brighton Marina.

The trip was part of a water and health module and was to look at how water quality varies.

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WetlandLIFE project update – researching a ‘sense of place’ within England’s wetlands – Dr Mary Gearey – Research Fellow

Our WetlandLIFE project ( www.wetlandlife.org), part of the Valuing Natures Programme (valuing-nature.net) is now in its second year. This means our fieldwork research is well underway. Spring has finally sprung on our wetland case study sites; and last week we visited Shapwick Heath wetland, part of the Somerset Levels close to Glastonbury.

The University of Brighton team are busy not just enjoying these spaces, but are also beginning the many fieldwork interviews that will help us really understand what these wetland spaces mean to so many different users. Read More

Observing nature; working with nature – an artist’s perspective

A Wetland LIFE Blog – Dr Mary Gearey

One of the many joys of working on the WetlandLIFE project has been the chance to meet, talk with and spend time with a wide variety of people who cherish these very special landscapes. In particular the ‘sense of place’ fieldwork that we are collectively undertaking explores the various ways in which these wetlands engender a very special relationship between site users and the wetlands themselves. Talking with these different users has helped the research team really appreciate the particular, and often unseen, characteristics of these spaces.

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