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List of pre-defined projects

Below you will find a list of current pre-defined projects. You can use these to either help you generate ideas for a self-defined reserch project or identify a supervisor offering a pre-defined project that you may be interested in undertaking as part of the Scholarship. If you would like to chose one of the pre-defined projects please make sure you read the description and project information carefully (you may also want to do some further background research) before contacting the supervisor to discuss your interest in their project.

Students from one of our Laidlaw Partner Insitutions (Hong Kong, Tufts, and Trinity College Dublin) who wish to apply for a St Andrews project, this list has now been updated and the projects below are available for international applicants. There will likely be a further wave of projects made available on 17 February 2020.

How do hummingbirds find flowers?

Prof. Susan Healy, School of Biology

E: sdh11@st-andrews.ac.uk

Bird navigation conjures up images of birds on epic, transcontinental migrations.  But birds also need to navigate at much smaller scales to relocate important resources (e.g. food and shelter). Decades of work with birds in the laboratory have taught us much about the kinds of information (e.g. visual landmarks) that birds can learn to find rewards. The confined space of a laboratory is far removed from the environments in which most birds have to navigate, however, and as a result, perhaps surprisingly, we actually know very little about how wild birds navigate to familiar locations. What, for example, does a wild hummingbird consider to be a landmark?

The natural world can be cluttered and visually noisy, making the assessment of possible landmarks often little more than guesswork. One solution is to take an animal’s eye view, and seek to understand what visual information is available to navigating animals, as is now being attempted with invertebrates such as ants and bees.  In this project, the student would spent 5 weeks at the University of Lethbridge (Alberta, Canada) field station investigating how wild rufous hummingbirds relocate flowers.  Rufous hummingbirds breed at this site in the Rockies where Prof Healy, in collaboration with Prof Andy Hurly (Lethbridge) and students, has spent over two decades examining their cognitive abilities.  The work would involve training wild, free-living hummingbirds to come to artificial feeders and data collection in the wild. For more info: http://cognitioninthewild.wp.st-andrews.ac.uk

Transnational Collecting, Curating and Display

Dr Emma Bond, School of Modern Languages

E: efb@st-andrews.ac.uk

How might museums best present the transnational origins, routes and reach of the objects in their heritage collections? Building on current debates around the contested role of empire and colonialism in major and local collections across the UK, Europe and the United States, this project will give a Laidlaw scholar the opportunity to identify and investigate one or more examples of such collections in order to produce a case study into what might constitute best practice in the field.

Taking into account public initiatives such as Alice Procter’s ‘Uncomfortable Art Tours’, as well as museum-based responses such as the British Museum’s ‘Collected Histories’ curator workshops, we will use a framework of transnational museum studies (Macdonald 2003; Meyer and Savoy 2013; De Cesari 2017) to refine new possible strategies in narrativizing collections in order to engage with a diverse range of visitor groups. The project envisages the possibility of the supervisor and scholar making on-site visits to the chosen collection, engaging with heritage and curatorial staff, and modelling potential solutions of best practice for recommendation.

References:
Chiara De Cesari, ‘Museums of Europe: Tangles of memory, borders and race’, Museum Anthropology 40 (1), 2017.
Sharon Macdonald, ‘Museums, National, Postnational and Transcultural Identities’, Museum and Society 1 (1), 2003.
Andrea Meyer & Benedicte Savoy (eds.), The Museum is Open: Towards a Transnational History of Museums 1750-1940 (De Gruyter 2013)

What can zircon textures tell us about the history of Britain’s oldest rocks?

Dr Sebastian Fischer, School of Earth and Environmental Sciences

E: sf67@st-andrews.ac.uk

The Lewisian Complex in NW Scotland comprises the oldest rocks of Britain and some of the oldest rocks of Europe. The oldest material found within them are zircons as old as 3.15 billion years, which are interpreted to reflect the crystallisation of magmatic rocks. During later metamorphism, dissolution and precipitation led to new growth of zircon, recording younger ages of ca 2.7 and 2.5 billion years. A key aspect of any zircon study is a careful examination of individual zircon crystals and their zonation patterns that reflect those different igneous and metamorphic growth phases.

This project will investigate zircons obtained from samples collected during targeted fieldwork in two regions of Lewisian rocks that have been interpreted as having formed as two completely different portions of continental crust. The samples will require processing to extract zircons, preparing and then imaging them using cathodoluminescence (CL) and back-scatter electron (BSE) techniques. From these images, different zonations and texture groups will be identified and categorised in an attempt to link them to specific zircon forming processes. The aim is to establish whether there are clear textural similarities or differences in zircon populations from the parts of the Lewisian with postulated very different geological histories.

Technological capacity building for the primary resource sector in Kazakhstan: human capital issues

Dr David McCollum (School of Geography and Sustainable Development)

E: david.mccollum@st-andrews.ac.uk

Given its wealth of natural resources, Kazakhstan should be a more prosperous country. This project will focus on how upskilling in the primary resource sector can feed into inclusive economic growth. The primary resource sector employs significant numbers of people in Kazakhstan, however little is currently known about the composition of this workforce, occupational trajectories within it and what this means for equitable socio-economic development. This Scholarship will build on existing research on these issues being undertaken by Geographers, Geologists and experts in International Relations at the University of St Andrews. Specifically the Intern will undertake documentary analysis and will travel to Kazakhstan in the summer of 2020 to conduct interviews with workers and other stakeholders involved in the primary resource sector. The Scholarship may also involve analysis of survey data. The Internship includes the following goals;

1.         Creating a comprehensive profile of the labour force in the extractive industries in Kazakhstan.

2.         Understanding the occupational mobilities of workers in the extractive industries, including the role of CPD training on individual career trajectories.

3.         Enhancing the evidence base on the link between labour upskilling, national technical capacity and socio-economic development.

Given the nature of this research, the Intern would need a good understanding of Kazakh and/or Russian in order to successfully undertake the project.

Learning Russian in Crail

Dr Emily Finer (Department of Russian)

E: ef50@st-andrews.ac.uk

The Joint Services School for Linguists (JSSL) was founded in 1951 to provide language training in Russian to selected conscripts on National Service. Between 1956 and 1960 the school was located in barracks at Crail Airfield. The Laidlaw Scholar will work on-site with archives and curatorial staff at the Crail Museum and Heritage Centre to identify, investigate and augment the role of JSSL in transforming Russian Studies in the UK.

In 2020, the scholar will work with archives in Crail to investigate JSSL’s rigorous language pedagogy, in particular its pioneering use of tape recorders and immersive learning.[1] They will also analyse JSSL’s innovative emphasis on creative writing in Russian by researching contributions to Samovar, the student magazine.[2] With the support of the supervisor, the scholar will present their findings to teachers of foreign languages from local secondary schools and the university.

In 2021, the scholar will use their research findings to work with the St Andrews Russian Department on curriculum development. This could involve designing a study afternoon at Crail Museum and Heritage Centre to welcome our new first-year Russian students; or, taking a leading role to incorporate creative writing within our language programme.

 

This project is suitable for a student with two or more years of Russian language study.

 

 


[1] J. Muckle, The Russian Language in Britain: A Historical Survey of Learners and Teachers, 2008. Elizabeth Hill, In the Mind's Eye: the memoirs of Dame Elizabeth Hill, 1999.

[2] G. Elliott and H. Shukman, Secret Classrooms: A Memoir of the Cold War, 2002.

The evolution of marine calcification: the interplay of biology and seawater chemistry

Dr Nicola Allison, School of Earth and Environmental Sciences

E: na9@st-andrews.ac.uk

Calcification is the production of calcium carbonate structures such as shells, plates and skeletons by organisms. Calcification likely evolved on multiple occasions and is observed in a diverse range of marine organisms including algae, molluscs, calcified demosponges and corals. The most common calcium carbonate biominerals are calcite, aragonite and high magnesium calcite and the mineralogy adopted by skeletal clades at first acquisition of biomineralisation oscillates between these polymorphs throughout the Phanerozoic (the last 500 million years). These oscillations have been linked to variations in seawater Mg/Ca chemistry and pCO2 but the presence of biomolecules at the organism calcification site may also affect the calcium carbonate polymorph precipitated.

 

In this project the Laidlaw scholar will review the literature to identify how biomolecule groups vary between skeletal clades and will undertake laboratory experiments to explore how key biomolecules affect the polymorph of calcium carbonate precipitated in vitro.  The goal is to identify if biomolecules played a role in the evolution of calcification strategy. In the second year the scholar will have the opportunity to develop and deliver activities to highlight the impacts of future climate change e.g. rising seawater temperatures and pCO2, on calcareous organisms.

 

Reference: Ries JB, Review: geological and experimental evidence for secular variation in seawater Mg/Ca (calcite-aragonite seas) and its effects on marine biological calcification, Biogeosciences, 7, 2795–2849, 2010.

Tectonics, life, and Earth system evolution

Dr Aubrey Zerkle and Dr Nicholas Gardiner, School of Earth & Environmental Sciences

E: az29@st-andrews.ac.uk

Life is sustained by a critical and not insubstantial set of elements, nearly all of which are contained within large rock reservoirs and cycled between Earth’s surface and the mantle via subduction zone plate tectonics. Over geologic timescales, tectonics play a critical role in recycling subducted volatile elements lost to the mantle back to the ocean–biosphere system, via outgassing and volcanism. Biology additionally relies on tectonic processes to supply phosphorus (P) and other rock-bound ‘nutrients’ to marine and terrestrial ecosystems via uplift and erosion. Changes in P supply to the biosphere have been linked to large-scale Earth system evolution, including changes in atmospheric oxygen and global glaciations, however the inferred connection with tectonic processes is not well established. Thus far no systematic geochemical studies have been conducted to track changes in P cycling and weathering fluxes and link these to the secular changes in magmatic style over a supercontinent cycle, likely because of the lack of straightforward proxies for tracking tectonic processes or marine P contents from the rock record.

 

This project will utilize two new strands of inquiry to examine feedbacks between global tectonics, phosphorus delivery, and Earth system evolution on the Precambrian Earth. The first will use a data-mining approach to track igneous P concentrations across one or more supercontinent cycles, capitalizing on the recent development of Hf isotope signals measured in magmatic and detrital zircon as recorders of global magmatic style (Gardiner et al., 2016). The second will focus on data collection, using a new method for evaluating different reservoirs of sedimentary P in ancient marine sedimentary rocks (Thompson et al., 2019) to determine the distribution of phosphorus in suites of sediments representing the assembly (~2.7 Ga) and breakup (~2.0 Ga) of the Kenorland supercontinent. Notably, these rock sequences have been linked with changes in nutrient cycling and progressive oxygenation of Earth’s surface during the Great Oxidation Event (GOE) at ~2.3 Ga.

On the origins of the Mediterranean rural Landscape: Luminescence profiling and dating of historical agricultural terraces and earthworks

Timothy Kinnaird (School of Earth and Environmental Science)

E: tk17@st-andrews.ac.uk

The Laidlaw Scholar will be invited to conduct landscape research as part of the AHRC-funded project TerraSAgE - Terraces as Sustainable Agricultural Environments. TerraSAgE is geared towards uncovering knowledge of past landscapes in the Mediterranean region and using it to model scenarios of change and thereby inform sustainable strategies for the future of land-management. Terraces provide an excellent case for understanding long-term environmental impacts of land-use and evaluating long-term sustainability in agricultural practice and policy. We have case-studies identified in Spain, Greece or Croatia, and the scholar would be invited to participate in one. 

 

The scholar would be expected to carry out field-survey and sampling, luminescence dating (laboratory work), and contribute to landscape characterisation and analysis using GIS and numerical methods. The scholar will have the opportunity to meet with other members of the project team in the UK and internationally. They will contribute to dissemination and research impact activities which will target a range of audiences in the UK and abroad.

 

If the applicant wished to participate in fieldwork, then this would need to be run over two years (fieldwork/preliminary lab work first year, more detailed lab work the second year). If the applicant just wished to gain experience in a lab environment, then this could be run over a single year.  

Interpreting James Gregory, mathematician and astronomer

Isobel Falconer (School of Mathematics and Statistics) & Katie Eagleton (Director of Museums)

E: ijf3@st-andrews.ac.uk

James Gregory (1638-1675) was the first Regius Professor of Mathematics at St Andrews. He is known for inventing a reflecting telescope, for discovering the diffraction grating, and the Taylor series. Arguably, he gave the first proof of the fundamental theorem of calculus.

 

In 1673 the University of St Andrews began planning an astronomical observatory, and authorised James Gregory, the first Regius Professor of Mathematics, to equip the observatory with instruments and books. This was to be Britain’s first civic observatory, pre-dating the Royal Observatory at Greenwich by two years, and only six years after the foundation of the Paris observatory. Although the observatory has not survived, we still have an outstanding collection of the instruments that Gregory gathered for it, a collection recognised as nationally important by Museums Galleries Scotland.

 

This project will contribute to the reimagination of the university’s museums, including the Wardlaw Museum, and to public engagement with the history of Gregory, the instruments, and their role in the mathematics and astronomy of 17th century Scotland. In the first year, the scholar will research Gregory, selected instruments, and their role. In the second year, the scholar will update the interpretive display about Gregory in St Mary’s quadrangle. They will develop a guided walk around the spaces and places that are relevant to the history. In collaboration with the Museums team and other partners (including perhaps Tourism St Andrews or the local VisitScotland office), they will run this walk with groups of tourists as a pilot for future student-led walking tours run by the Museum.

  

The project will be co-supervised by Dr Isobel Falconer in Mathematics https://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/maths/people/?mode=profile&group=staff&user_id=ijf3 and Dr Katie Eagleton (who in addition to her position as Director of Museums is Senior Honorary Research Fellow in the School of History) https://st-andrews.academia.edu/CatherineEagleton

 

Exploring the products of lightning reactions in exoplanetary atmospheres

Dr Eva Stüeken (School of Earth & Environmental Sciences) and Dr Christiane Helling (School of Physics & Astronomy)

E: ees4@st-andrews.ac.uk

Lightning reactions in Earth’s early atmosphere have long been recognized as a potentially important source of bioessential molecules that may have sparked the origin of life over 3.5 billion years ago. With recent advances in telescope technology it has become possible to observe and characterise planets around other stars. However, to assess if those planets could harbour life as we know it, new experimental data are needed to determine if lightning reactions under observed extraterrestrial conditions are as conducive to the production of prebiotic compounds as they are on Earth.

 

This project is aimed at students with strong backgrounds in chemistry and physics and knowledge of advanced analytical techniques (GC-MS, NMR, IC) who are interested in exploring the production of organic and inorganic molecules under a range of atmospheric compositions. A lightning discharge setup and a suite of analytical equipment are available within the School of Earth & Environmental Sciences. In phase 1 of the project, the student would focus on characterizing reaction products in atmospheres composed of N2, CO2 and O2 in different mixing ratios. In phase 2, the student is invited to lead the development of novel experiments with other gases, fluids and energy sources, driven by observational evidence from extrasolar planets.

 

The student will be part of the St Andrews Centre for Exoplanet Science for the duration of the project. The data obtained from the experiments are expected to form the basis for several publications and will allow the student to gain experience in fundamental scientific research.

Designing activities to support simulation-based learning in quantum mechanics

Dr Antje Kohnle (School of Physics and Astronomy)

E: ak81@st-andrews.ac.uk

Kozma and Russell (2005) argued that a key component of professional science practice is representational competence: i.e. how representations (e.g. pictures, graphs, diagrams, mathematics) work, how they relate to one another, how to choose appropriate ones and how to reason with them. Unfortunately, research shows that this is very demanding for students to acquire. One solution to this problem is multi-representational simulations that employ a variety of linked representations of phenomena.

 

This project will develop and investigate activities around interactive simulations that have an explicit focus on promoting visual understanding of quantum mechanics concepts and representational competence. The development will explore the pedagogical roles of critiquing a given representation, translation tasks, invention and sketching tasks for the topic of quantum uncertainty, both for discrete observables such as spin and for continuous observables.

 

Tasks will be tested in interviews to gain insight into student thinking prior to being administered in class. The development from year 1 will be trialled in courses along with pre- and post-tests to assess changes in student thinking to collect data for year 2 analysis and further development. Work will be supervised by Antje Kohnle (Physics) in collaboration with Prof’s Gina Passante (California State University Fullerton) and Shaaron Ainsworth (Nottingham).

 

Kozma, R., & Russell, J. (2005). Students becoming chemists: Developing representational competence. In J. K. Gilbert (Ed.), Visualization in Science and Education (pp. 121-146). Dordrecht: Kluwer.

 

Reconstructing the History of Volcanic Forcing of Climate from Polar Ice Cores

Dr Andrea Burke (School of Earth and Environmental Sciences)

E: ab276@st-andrews.ac.uk

Volcanic sulfate aerosols have a major cooling effect on global climate due to reflection of incoming sunlight. As a result, the climate forcing from a volcanic eruption depends on the eruption season because of seasonal differences in the distribution of incoming solar radiation. Over the last 2000 years, there have been more than 200 major volcanic eruptions, and these are recorded as peaks in sulfate in polar ice cores. These sulfate records are used to estimate the volcanic forcing for state-of-the-art climate models that are used to understand climate sensitivity.  However because the majority (>90%) of these eruptions are unidentified, they have been arbitrarily assigned an eruption date of January 1, generating a major uncertainty in the forcing used for IPCC-class model simulations of the last 2000 years.  We can greatly improve on this state-of-the art by analyzing high resolution glacio-chemical records of seasonally varying aerosols recorded in polar ice. By determining the phasing of the volcanic eruption with respect to the seasonal aerosol records, we will be able to determine the season of eruption with an uncertainty of ~1 month.  This will substantially improve the accuracy of records of volcanic forcing. As part of this project, the Laidlaw Scholar will develop several transferrable skills, including data analysis of large data sets and computer programming.

Local Internationalists? Scotland’s connections to the global world of Esperanto, c.1890- 1920

Bernhard Struck (School of History)

E: bs50@st-andrews.ac.uk

In the early 1900s, the constructed language Esperanto and the Esperanto movement spread rapidly across Europe and part of the globe around 1900. It was picked up in capitals, by scientists, and by the Red Cross. Esperanto also spread quickly to more peripheral places. Dundee and Aberdeen had active and large groups and societies, yet also towns like Montrose and Perth hosted Esperanto groups after 1900. Who were these Scottish Esperanto activists? Why did they join the Esperanto movement? How did they interact as a local yet simultaneously transnational community that span the entire continent from Bohemia, to Warsaw, to Oslo, to Dresden and rural Bavaria?

 

These are some of the questions that this Laidlaw project will seek to ask. This project will zoom into a small cluster of Scottish Esperanto clubs, their activities, the press coverage and their interactions with the wider Esperanto world around 1900. The project will be based around the larger research project on “Esperanto and Internationalism, ca.1880s-1930” based at the Institute for Transnational and Spatial History. (see: http://standrewstransnational.wp.st-andrews.ac.uk/research/esperantoand-internationalism-c-1880s-1930/)

 

With a clear focus on individuals and groups the scholar will research an ambitious yet feasible project. The scholar will have access to resources of the group, will get an insight into collaborative research including a Digital Humanities component. The scholar will be working along the lines of transnational and global history, a major and booming field over the past years. Ideally, this would be a project over the course of two years, as we are planning a MUSA exhibition around Esperanto and Scotland’s place for 2021 or 2022.

Measuring the musical and social impacts of StAMP (St Andrews Music Participation)

Dr Bede Williams (Music Centre)

E: bw23@st-andrews.ac.uk

Only available to St Andrews students

 

Two year project

In 2020 the Laidlaw Music Centre will begin a five-year project to promote the playing of brass instruments in schools and brass bands across Fife. The initiative is called StAMP – St Andrews Music Participation – an acronym that conveys both the project’s commitment to accessible, visceral forms of music-making and three key elements within it: music, participation, and St Andrews itself. The project is being delivered in partnership with The Wallace Collection, a world-renowned chamber ensemble of passionate musicians.

 

The delivery of the project will take place in selected primary schools across Fife and brass bands close to these schools: full classes of children will participate in a programme called ‘Discovering Brass’, a cross-curricular project that uses the natural trumpet to teach not only music, but also aspects of science, history, anthropology and modern languages. Children will then have the opportunity to continue their musical journey in their local brass band. The project will reach children who are living in areas of multiple deprivation and aims to be transformative for them by raising aspiration, attainment and wellbeing. 

 

The successful scholar will work closely with the StAMP management group which includes Bede Williams (Head of Instrumental Studies and Director of StAMP), Ellen Thomson (Head of Outreach), Michael Downes (Director of Music) and John Wallace (Honorary Professor of Brass). In their first summer the scholar will contribute to designing an evaluation framework for reporting musical and social impacts; in the following year they will use the framework to lead in the dissemination of the early impacts of StAMP. 

Visualising War: Interplay between Battle Narratives in Ancient and Modern Cultures

Dr. Nicolas Wiater (School of Classics)

E: nw23@st-andrews.ac.uk

Supporting a wider collaborative research project run by Alice König and Nicolas Wiater (https://arts.st-andrews.ac.uk/visualising-war/) the Laidlaw Scholar would research outreach strategies and design a concrete outreach project to enhance the impact potential of Visualising War.

 

Battle narratives are a crucial element of ancient and modern cultural and literary traditions. The aim of our project is to explore interplay between battle narratives across time and space, as a way of understanding the ‘poetics’ of the battle narrative and its evolution as an interactive network of ideas. A further aim is to explore the ways in which interplay between battle narratives ‘canonise’ ideas about war, battle, heroism, etc.

 

From the beginning, Visualising War has been more than ‘just’ an innovative research project. Research on battle narratives stimulates engagement with broader questions of the aesthetics of representation of violence in different cultures, the ethics of warfare and the implications of representations of battle for our understanding of war and violence in different societies. There are obvious implications for outreach and impact here which have been part of the project’s activities from the beginning, e.g., in the form of a concert with war-themed music that was linked to a research workshop, in some ongoing collaboration with a professional theatre company, and in the project’s engagement with the Threads, War and Conflict: Textile Resistance exhibition at St Andrews.

 

Thanks to our current Laidlaw Scholar, and, most recently, the award of one of the World-Leading St Andrews Doctoral Scholarships, we have been able to considerably boost the research aspect of our project through student involvement. The aim of the present application is to strengthen and enhance the impact and outreach activities of the project. The successful candidate will, under our guidance, take the lead on researching and developing impact strategies and activities in order to make full use of the impact and outreach potential of Visualising War. To that end, we are looking for an ambitious student from any of the Arts & Humanities and Social Sciences Schools with a strong interest both in generating new research and the development of creative ways of knowledge transfer.

 

In a first phase of the scholarship, the Laidlaw Scholar will engage with the research already generated by the project and evaluate its outreach and impact potential on the basis of recent pedagogical and public-engagement research on knowledge sharing and transfer. In the second phase of the scholarship, the Scholar will, with our help and guidance, start designing a concrete project, which will also include some active public engagement and communication with possible partners for collaborations inside and outwith the university (museums, heritage organisations, concert halls, etc.).

Investigating effects of increasing awareness of women in economics on perceptions of and attitudes towards economics and economists

Dr Erven Lauw (School of Economics & Finance)

E: el289@st-andrews.ac.uk

Recently, the lack of diversity in economics, starting at school, has received more attention in the UK (see https://www.res.org.uk/resources-page/economics-has-a-diversity-problem-starting-at-school-and-university-new-discovereconomics-campaign-launched.html). Given that economists tend to have key roles in shaping the economy, a potential implication of this lack of diversity is an unfair representation of the different groups’ needs in the society. Consequently, the Royal Economic Society has launched a three-year campaign called “Discover Economics” to attract students from the underrepresented groups including women.

 

In support of this effort and motivated by existing evidence on the symbolic effects of women in politics, this research aims to investigate if increasing people’s awareness of women in economics affects their attitudes towards and perceptions of economics and economists. The method employed is online experiment using vignettes where target participants are exposed to different framing: i) more women in economics associated with positive effects on economics or high-quality women in economics; ii) more women in economics associated with no effects on economics or low-quality women in economics.

 

The main target participants are UK students aged between 15 to 17, i.e., those who would soon have to decide on which main subject to study in the university.  However, this study will also include UK participants outside this group as public opinion may also influence these students’ decisions. After the exposure, each participant is asked to complete a survey, asking them questions relating to their perceptions of and their attitudes towards economics and economists. The results from this survey will then be analysed using statistical techniques, comparing different groups of participants. The findings from this research could potentially help identify effective ways to increase diversity in economics. 

Suspense, surprise, and reactions: determinants of spectator activity in sports audiences

Dr Luc Bridet (School of Economics and Finance)

E: lb222@st-andrews.ac.uk

Is audience activity primarily driven by what may happen next or by what they have just witnessed? This project would use win probability graphs, readily available for a variety of sports leagues (EPL, NFL, NBA...) and objective measures of audience engagement (online views, tweets, or noise and other captors physically located in stadiums) to investigate what audiences respond to. A key measurement step would be to use win probability graphs to construct objective measures of suspense and surprise, following the methodology of Ely, Frankel, and Kamenica (Journal of Political Economy 2015 123:1, 215-260).

 

NOTE: This is a one-year, 5-week research proposal. There are no restrictions on who can apply but being able to conduct basic statistics / econometrics is essential.

Rwanda’s Strategic Metal Endowment

Dr Nicholas Gardiner (School of Earth and Environment)

E: nick.gardiner@st-andrews.ac.uk

Rwanda is a beacon of progress in Africa, experiencing a remarkable turnaround since the genocides of the 1990s. Although small, the country hosts significant deposits of the critical “3T”metals: tin, tantalum, and tungsten, and which hold the potential to be sustainable exploited to further grow and develop the country. However, investment into the exploration and mining of Rwanda’s 3T endowment is minimal, partly because it lacks a sophisticated investment-related infrastructure; currently, mining is mainly artisanal, unregulated, with environmental and human rights issues. In recognition of this, in 2019 the Rwandan Government established a mining board (RMB) to grow and industrialize the sector.

 

The challenge of sustainably exploiting their natural resources is a key topic that many developing countries struggle with, and a key aspect of the project is to study how Rwanda can properly develop its mineral assets, and escape the “resource curse”.

 

The project thus seeks a multi-disciplinary approach to characterize Rwanda’s strategic metal endowment - from a geological, economic, as well as a social and environmental perspective. The scholar will be expected to undertake fieldwork within Rwanda in partnership with the RMB and the University of Rwanda, to help build a understanding of their 3T mineralization potential, and to drive knowledge transfer. In the second summer, the scholar will work with appropriate colleagues [to be identified] within International Development and/or Sustainable Development. Additionally, the project will link in with existing research undertaken as part of an active GCRF programme of work.

 

It is hoped the project will result in skills and knowledge transfer that will help promote investment and assist with the country’s development, and further cement ties between St Andrews and Rwanda. In particular, transfer of skills and knowledge down to community-level projects mining would be facilitated by the pervasive culture of community service aimed at regenerating a post-genocide Rwanda.

The Spectral Fingerprint of Gold Deposits

Dr William McCarthy (School of Earth & Environmental Sciences)

E: wm37@st-andrews.ac.uk

This research project forms part of a new and exciting interdisciplinary research initiative called StAKZ Hub. As a member of StAKZ Hub you will spend the first summer conducting your own research using state of the art facilities in St Andrews. The second summer will focus on building team leadership skills when you accompany your advisors to Kazakhstan to participate in our StAKZ Hub research conference.

 

Summer 1: Structural Controls on Alteration and Gold Mineralisation at Dzharyk, Kazakhstan

Porphyry copper deposits are a major source of copper ore but finding high-grade mineralization remains challenging. This study will employ out-of-phase anisotropy of magnetic susceptibility, hyperspectral reflectance and drone imagery to identify structures that control Au mineralisation at the Dzharyk exploration site, east Kazakhstan. The data will be used with assay results and rock magnetic analysis to explore the 3D structure of the Dzharyk deposit.

 

Summer 2: StAKZ Hub & Leaders for the Future

The Laidlaw Scholar will full-fill a leadership role within StAKZ Hub, a GCRF supported St Andrews-Kazakh research team by leading a small team of visiting Kazakh students through lab procedures and managing the lab timetable and providing advice on data interpretation. Under the mentorship of McCarthy, Stueeken and Fumagalli, the Scholar will build his or her own confidence in positively contributing to this active research group. The end of the project will see the Scholar travel to Kazakhstan to present their work and integrate results with partnered interdisciplinary research projects.

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