Grants and awards


May 2017: The following NIGFSC applications were approved at the Spring 2017 meeting

  • IP-1701-0517: Dr P Anand (Open University) – Reconstructing the sensitivity of Indian Summer Monsoon runoff to climate forcing.
  • IP-1704-0517: Dr N E Barrand (Birmingham) – Glacial and hydrological change in the deglaciating Virkisá river catchment, Iceland.
  • IP-1705-0517: Dr J Bendle (Birmingham) – What drove the late Miocene C4 plant expansion in Southern Asia?
  • IP-1706-0517: Dr J Boyle (Liverpool) – The palaeoenvironmental value of the phosphate oxygen record in characterising P sources in lake sediments.
  • IP-1711-0517: Dr J Dean (Hull) – Did the African Humid Period termination in southern Ethiopia really take ~1000 years?
  • IP-1715-0517: Dr S Granger (BBSRC) – Understanding the cycling of phosphorus: d18OPO4 as a novel tracer of plant adaptation strategies.
  • IP-1717-0517: Prof J Holmes (UCL) – Investigating the ecological impacts of late Holocene salinity change in coastal lakes & wetlands using palaeolimnology.
  • IP-1721-0517: Dr D Quincey (Leeds) – HARVEST: High-mountain Asia- building Resilience to water Variability using Experiments, household Surveys and accounts of Tradition.
  • IP-1725-0517: Prof A W Mackay (UCL) – Abrupt hydrological variability during the Holocene at the forest – steppe ecotone.
  • IP-1726-0517: Dr R Madgwick (Cardiff) – The Christianisation of the Magyars: Exploring the Impact on Diet and Health.
  • IP-1727-0517: Dr S McGowan (Nottingham) – How have hydrological impoundments and eutrophication changed organic matter cycling in shallow freshwater ecosystems of the Middle Yangtze Basin?
  • IP-1733-0517: Dr J Pike (Cardiff) – Tracing icebergs around East Antarctica – an indication of past ice sheet dynamics?
  • IP-1735-0517: Prof L Robinson (Bristol) – Stylasterid Corals: A new archive for the past ocean?
  • IP-1740-0517: Dr G Swann (Nottingham) – Reconstructing upwelling, nutrient supply, and the efficiency of the biological pump in the Bering Sea since the middle Pleistocene, using diatom silicon isotope records.
  • IP-1742-0517: Prof T Wagner (Heriot Watt) – Testing the link between orbital scale fluctuations in low latitude climate dynamics with mid to high latitude black shale deposition in the Late Jurassic European Seaway – The Kimmeridge Clay Formation.
  • IP-1743-0517: Dr P Wynn (Lancaster) – Speleothem records of centennial scale fluctuations in moisture delivery during the late Holocene.

February 2017: Successful NERC Sandard grant

Congratulations to Melanie Leng for her contribution to a successful NERC Sandard grant entitled: Climate change in equatorial Africa: testing the 'megadrought' hypothesis and its implications for human evolution. The project hypothesis is that high orbital eccentricity during the period 130-90 ka BP amplified the 23 ka, precessional insolation changes, and was linked with catastrophic monsoon failure lasting several millennia. Integrated dating methods will be used to produce the first truly high-precision, accurately-dated palaeoenvironmental archive spanning the entirety of these MIS5 African 'mega-droughts'. The project team will reconstruct hydrological conditions over the last 250 ka, using state-of-the-art stable isotope analyses as tracers of drought. Results will facilitate palaeo-hydrological and -climate modelling, generating a step change in our understanding of the causes and nature of these extreme hydrological events, which may have played a major role in the evolution of many species, including humans.

January 2017: Newton Fund RCUK-Partnerships Call grant

Congratulations to staff in the Stable Isotope Facility for their contribution to a Newton Fund RCUK-Partnerships Call grant to work on: Assessing human impacts on the Red River system, Vietnam, to enable sustainable management. This proposal aims to provide an updated, detailed and process-based overview of macronutrient fluxes and pollutant distribution, to fill in knowledge gaps of C, N, P and Si processing and produce an improved model using Materials Flow Analysis for scenario planning in the Red River Delta, Vietnam.


November 2016: The following NIGFSC applications were approved at the Autumn 2016 meeting

  • IP–1649–1116: Dr P Anand (Open University) – Reconstructing the sensitivity of Indian summer Monsoon runoff to climate forcing.
  • IP–1664–1116: Dr D Gooddy (BGS) – Using nitrate isotopes and oxygen isotopes of phosphate to trace phosphorous sources and cycling in a sub–tropical estuary.
  • IP–1667–1116: Dr T H P Harvey (Leicester) – The emerging oxygen isotope record of Cambrian seawater temperature: from local to global perspectives.
  • IP–1668–1116: Dr A Henderson (Newcastle) – Millennial–scale climate variability during the mid–Pleistocene transition in the Sea of Japan.
  • IP–1670–1116: Dr K Hendry (Bristol) – Using oxygen isotopes to constrain the freshwater budget north of Svalbard and its link with climate, environment and sea ice drift.
  • IP–1671–1116: Prof J Holmes – Investigating the ecological impacts of late Holocene salinity change in coastal lakes & wetlands using palaeolimnology.
  • IP–1674–1116: Dr S Kender – Investigating sea ice and Bering Sea palaeoceanography during the middle Pleistocene global climatic shift.
  • IP–1676–1116: Prof J Lee– Thorp – Development of a new palaeo–climate proxy based on marine molluscs for the west coast of South Africa.
  • IP–1678–1116: Prof A W Mackay – Late Pleistocene records of palaeoproductivity and silica utilization in southern Siberia.
  • IP–1698–1116: Dr P Wynn – Speleothem climate capture of Heinrich cooling during MIS 3 (project phase 3).
  • IP–1700–1116: Prof S Young – Towards understanding the origin of subsoil phosphate.

July 2016: Training Course on Continental Scientific Drilling

Congratulations to Jack Lacey who has been selected to attend the 2016 ICDP "Training Course on Continental Scientific Drilling" to be held in October 2016 at the GFZ Potsdam.

More information

May 2016: The following NIGFSC applications were approved at the Spring 2016 meeting

  • IP–1611–0516: Prof C Bonsall (Edinburgh) – Reconstruction of Bronze Age diet in the Romanian Sub Carpathians.
  • P–1614–0516: Prof S Davies (Leicester) – Understanding the Distribution of Organic Matter in the Bowland Shale, Craven Basin, UK.
  • IP–1619–0516: Dr K Hendry (Bristol) & Dr G Swann (Nottingham) – Oxygen isotope systematics of deep–sea sponges from the North Atlantic.
  • IP–1622–0516: Prof P Langdon (Southampton) – The legacy of cyclone Pam: A unique opportunity to build a long term record of cyclone activity in the western tropical Pacific.
  • IP–1623–0516: Prof M Leng (Nottingham) – Climate change and human dispersal over the past 115 000 years in east Africa.
  • IP–1630–0516: Prof R Pancost (Bristol) – Reconstruction of North America Monsoon variability in North Mexico over the last 20 000 years.
  • IP–1637–0516: Prof D Sear (Southampton) – Static or dynamic? Reconstructing past movement of the South Pacific Convergence Zon.
  • IP–1638–0516: Dr J Smith (BAS) – Assessing the role of oceanic forcing in West Antarctic Ice Sheet retreat since the Last Glacial Maximum.
  • IP–1642–0516: Dr P Wynn (Lancaster) – Speleothem Climate Capture of Heinrich Cooling Throughout MIS3-4 (project phase 2).

May 2016: Long Term Science funded by NERC

NERC has commissioned five highly ambitious research programmes, that will see its research centres working closely together to tackle major scientific and societal challenges. The Stable Isotope Facility (within the British Geological Survey) is a collaborative partner within ORCHESTRA (Ocean Regulation of Climate through Heat and Carbon Sequestration and Transports). This programme will use a combination of data collection, analyses and computer simulations to radically improve our ability to measure, understand and predict the circulation of the Southern Ocean and its role in the global climate. The project is led by Prof Mike Meredith at the British Antarctica Survey.

April 2016: £3.7 Million NERC grant awarded to consortium

NERC have funded a Large Grant application to support an ICDP project on the Lower Jurassic in Wales/UK: Integrated understanding of the early Jurassic Earth system and Timescale (JET).

The overall PI is Stephen Hesselbo (University of Exeter) with UK Co-Is from the BGS (Jim Riding, Melanie Leng, and Dan Condon), Oxford and Leeds.

The science objectives are to:

  • Achieve a high-resolution continuous cyclostratigraphy for the Early Jurassic and associated astronomical time scale leading to insights into solar system resonance, length-of-day and tidal dissipation; the first biostratigraphically-calibrated magnetostratigraphy for the entire 25 Myr long Early Jurassic based on a single section, and; a full synthesis of radio-isotopic and chronostratigraphic scales.
  • Provide a multi-proxy isotopic and elemental chemostratigraphy to track supercontinent break-up influence on the global Earth system and, in particular, a record of the end-Triassic and Early Toarcian mass extinctions, and subsequent recoveries of the carbon cycle, biosphere and ocean, and effects from volatile releases from coeval LIPs.
  • Deliver insights into Early Jurassic sea-level change and the greenhouse-icehouse transitions; an understanding of interdependencies between primary productivity, nutrient flux, and ocean redox state; and an integrated record of changes in atmospheric and marine composition understood in the context of quantitative whole-Earth system models.

This project has also received US$1.5M from ICDP towards the drilling costs.

January 2016: The following NIGFSC applications were approved at the Autumn 2015 meeting

  • IP-1564-1115: Dr M Blackwell (Rothamsted) - How is phosphorus availability regulated in soils? A study using the BBSRC North Wyke Farm Platform National Capability.
  • IP-1566-1115: Prof S Davies (Leicester) - Understanding the effects of modern weathering on the organic geochemical characteristics of organic-rich mudstone and siltstone successions – pilot.
  • IP-1567-1115: Dr T Dunkley Jones (Birmingham) - Climate and carbon cycle dynamics in the late Eocene "doubthouse".
  • IP-1574-1115: Dr A Henderson (Newcastle) - Reconstructing tropical Pacific palaeohydrology during Marine Isotope Stage 3.
  • IP-1575-1115: Prof S Hesselbo (Exeter) - Palaeoenvironmental change from the Late Triassic-Early Jurassic; new data from the UK and Poland – pilot.
  • IP-1579-1115: Prof M Leng (Nottingham) - Has millennial or rapid environmental change forced endemic evolution over the last 1.2Ma?
  • IP-1581-1115: Dr K Littler (Exeter) - Investigating climate change and carbon-cycling in the Late Cretaceous–Early Paleogene; new geochemical records from the South Atlantic and Indian oceans.
  • IP-1582-1115: Dr B Lomax - Carbon isotope analysis as a tool to study genome duplication and angiosperm diversification – pilot.
  • IP-1584-1115: Dr A Mackay (UCL) - The effects of differential dissolution on the O isotope composition of diatom silica.
  • IP-1587-1115: Prof C Perry (Exeter) - Short-term preservation pathways of sedimentary carbonates and implications for diagenetic processes and the inorganic carbon cycle.
  • IP-1596-1115: Prof D Sear (Southampton) - Static or dynamic: reconstructing past movement of the South Pacific Convergence Zone.
  • IP-1598-1115: Prof C Smart (Plymouth) - Shelled heteropods: morphology, molecular taxonomy and global distributions.
  • IP-1600-1115: Prof P Talling (NOC) - Timing of submarine mega-landslides in the Nordic Seas and their relationship to glacial cycles: implications for UK landslide-tsunami hazard.
  • IP-1603-1115: Dr P Wynn (Lancaster) - Extracting the phosphate isotope record from speleothem carbonate.