Aberystwyth University’s internationally renowned Geography and Earth Sciences’ Centre for Glaciology (CfG) has been used as an exemplar case study of good practise in the way it shares its research work with the public.
Since its formation in 1994, CfG has become one of the leading British research groups studying glaciers and their sedimentary products. Its hugely successful outreach work has recently been highlighted by Universities Wales, a national council comprising Vice Chancellors from all of the country’s universities.
In the online case study, the CfG has been recognised for the “Millions of members of the public [who] are better informed about climate change and its impact on the planet thanks to the outreach work of [its] researchers”.
The Centre’s work regularly features in both the national and international press, whilst its staff have guided and featured in several high-profile TV documentaries, including the BBC’s “Operation Iceberg” with Chris Packham, and the “Frozen Planet” with Sir David Attenborough.
Professor Michael Hambrey, past C3W Director, and member of the CfG commented;
“We are so pleased to see all our hard work recognised by Universities Wales. The funding boost provided by C3W has enabled us, along with our glaciology colleagues in Swansea, to employ talented post-doctoral researchers and develop large collaborative grant proposals.”
“As a result, in recent years, we have been able to undertake fieldwork in Greenland, the Canadian Arctic, Svalbard and Antarctica, which is transforming our understanding of how glaciers and ice sheets are responding to climatic change.”
Research funding is often dependent on demonstrable impact on the wider society, yet the staff working at the Centre for Glaciology don’t see this as a mere bureaucratic obligation. Professor Neil Glasser, Director of Aberystwyth University’s Institute of Geography, History, Politics and Psychology explains; “We believe that we have a duty to inform the public about the Earth’s changing ice masses as well as the causes and consequences of these changes. It’s great to see this message spreading through Wales, the UK and beyond.”
The Centre for Glaciology currently consists of nine academics and researchers, eight PhD students and ten Masters students.
The CfG’s online presence includes three extremely popular websites:
- Antarctic Glaciers, an engaging blog and information source by Dr. Bethan Davies (now at Royal Holloway, University of London) on all things glacial,
- Greenland Ice Sheet, stunning video and photography together with research on the current state of Greenland’s ice, and
- Glaciers Online – the world’s most comprehensive photo library of glaciers and glacial processes, co-created by Prof. Mike Hambrey.