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Centre for Quaternary Research

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Centre for Quaternary Research

The CQR was established in 1990 and has grown to become one of the leading international research centres in Quaternary science.

The aim of the CQR is to promote interdisciplinary research based on three themes of major importance for understanding Quaternary environmental change: 1) the dynamics of global change; 2) the human dimension of environmental change; and 3) advances in geochronology.

Since its inception the CQR has attracted funding from an increasingly diverse range of sources (NERC, AHRC, ESRC, Leverhulme Trust, EC Framework Programs, British Academy). Major research partnerships and initiatives have been forged in the UK and overseas, which are fostering important advances in understanding Quaternary landscape evolution, abrupt climate change, quantitative palaeoclimate reconstruction, geochronology, biostratigraphy, Palaeolithic and environmental archaeology. The CQR has also benefited from recent £1.5M SRIF investment in laboratory refurbishment that has enhanced the centre’s research capabilities in: OSL dating, tephrochronology, analytical chemistry, soil micromorphology and the analysis of varved sediments.

Our research into the mechanisms, expression, and response to abrupt climate changes focuses on terrestrial environments and primarily addresses the human and environmental impact of abrupt climate changes during the Quaternary period. Such events are of current concern because they can affect all aspects of human life.

CQR staff members teach throughout the undergraduate physical geography curriculum, including third year specialist option courses that provide an important link between the research and teaching roles of academic staff in the centre.

The Centre runs the MSc in Quaternary Science. The course annually recruits c. 20 students, 65% of whom continue to PhD training.   This course provides comprehensive postgraduate training on the processes of past environmental change, confronting some of the most profound issues of our time.  Click here for more information about the training.

The CQR is also part of the London NERC Doctoral Training Partnership, involving University College London, Kings College, Queen Mary, Brunel, Birkbeck, the Natural History Museum, the Institute of Zoology and Kew. Thirty-five studentships are available annually. If you are interested in pursuing a PhD in Quaternary Science, please make informal contact with academic members in the group and see here for deadlines and details of how to apply. Other funding opportunities may also be available so please make enquiries.

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