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The Geography & Environmental Studies PGR Community is a diverse group which has grown significantly in the current REF period, attracting students from all over the world (44% of PhD completions were by non-UK citizens), bringing vibrancy to research group seminars and subject-focussed discussions.

Take a look at the showcase below to see some of our students and their work. 


Gulnar Hasnain 

Department: Art, Design and Social Sciences 

Supervisor: Professor Kate Maclean

Title of thesis: A development approach to tackling violent crime in major cities: The role of mayors, populism, charisma, and evidence on policy interventions. 

Gulnar Hasnain's research is focused on the policy interventions used to address rising urban violence in major cities. Taking a comparative urbanism approach with a focus on Bogotá, Medellin, London, Chicago, and NYC, Gulnar seeks to understand how the success of Medellin and Bogota can be applied to cities across the world. Gulnar holds a degree in Chemical Engineering from Imperial College, London, an MSc in Development Studies from Birkbeck University and an MBA from the University of Chicago. After initially developing her career in the private sector, she spent 8 years working in city government for the Mayor of London and over 7 years as a political candidate campaigning for ‘safer, greener, fairer’ cities. 


Twitter: @gulnarhasnain 



Bianca Fadel

Department: Social Sciences (Centre for International Development) 

Supervisor: Professor Matt Baillie Smith

Title of thesis: “We Are Together”: Experiences of Belonging and Being a Local Volunteer in Burundi 

Bianca’s research aims to conceptualise the practice of local volunteering during a protracted crisis and understand the implications for humanitarian and development discourses and practices. Based on evidence from Burundi, East Africa, it questions traditional explanations about volunteering centred on service delivery and giver-recipient dichotomies by focusing on agency, reciprocity and different dimensions of belonging at community level. Bianca is also involved in policy-focused projects with volunteer-involving organisations including IFRC, VSO and UNV. She holds a Masters in Humanitarian Action and has previously worked as advisor for humanitarian diplomacy at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Brazil. 


Twitter: @biancafdl




Matt Kirby

Department: Geography & Environmental Science 

Supervisor: Professor Alister Scott 

Title of thesis: Multifunctional green belts - mainstreaming nature in a contentious policy space to address the climate and ecological emergencies 

My research focuses on mainstreaming environmental concepts into wider policy disciplines to address local and global challenges, especially in peri-urban areas. My PhD is looking at how we can rethink green belt policies to promote multifunctional land-use through a natural capital and ecosystem services approach. I have an interdisciplinary background in environmental planning and nature management from the UK and Scandinavia. This has contributed to my research interest of how an international context to research can help solve shared environmental challenges. My PhD is funded as part of the NERC ONE Planet DTP. 


Twitter: @mattkirby_ 

Publications: Nothing academic as of yet but I’m using my research as part of the North East England Climate Change Coalition work on land-use work and working with WSP consultants 



Michael Amoo

Department: Geography and Environmental Sciences 

Supervisor: Professor Ulrich Salzmann 

Title of thesis: Southern High-latitude Vegetation and Climate Change at the Eocene-Oligocene Transition. 

I hold a BSc. Earth Science from the University of Ghana, a funded specialist MSc. in Micropalaeontology from the University of Birmingham and a second MSc. (with distinction) in Petroleum geology from Perugia University, Italy. In Italy, I had the opportunity to work as a researcher with ENI (Italian National Oil company) on channel geomorphology and tectonic faults in the lower Congo Basin, offshore Angola. My PhD (funded by Northumbria University) explores the use of fossil spores and pollen from Australia, Tasmania, New Zealand, and Antarctica to reconstruct vegetation and climate change across the Eocene-Oligocene Transition (34 million years ago). 


Twitter: @jehoreh  

LinkedIn: Michael Amoo 



Rebecca Stewart  

Department Geography and Environmental Science 

Supervisor Dr Matt Westoby 

Title of thesis: Quantifying contemporary debris supply & debris flux in deglaciating catchments 

I completed both my BSc and MSc (Res) at the University of Sheffield before joining Northumbria University to pursue a PhD. My thesis aims to quantify debris supply to debris-covered glacier catchments using both field-based techniques such as LiDAR and remote sensing. I have a keen interest in glacier-debris interaction and the complexities of the response of debris-covered glaciers to ongoing climatic changes. During my studies I have been able to conduct research in several amazing locations around the globe, such as Greenland, New Zealand, Italy, and most recently Tibet. 


Twitter: @beckieestewart 

Publications: Westoby et al. (2020) Geomorphological evolution of a debris-covered glacier surface.Earth Surface Processes and Landforms

Stewart et al. 2021, Using climate reanalysis data in conjunction with multi-temporal satellite thermal imagery to derive supraglacial debris thickness changes from energy balance-modelling. Journal of Glaciology 



Kate MukunguKate Mukungu

Department: Social Sciences

Supervisors: Professor Matt Baillie Smith and Professor Katy Jenkins

Title of thesis: ‘Women's Anti-Violence Activism Relations in Post Conflict Namibia and Northern Ireland'

This feminist research analyses activism relations in two societies that experienced deep ethnic and ethnonational division, Namibia, and Northern Ireland. The analysis of how women come together in activism practices in post conflict contexts is informed by life history interviews with activists. Prior to commencing a doctorate and full time lecturing position, Kate had an extensive career in the voluntary and community / non-governmental sector in up to Chief Exec level.

Publications: Mukungu, K. and Kamwanyah, N.J. (2020) Gender-Based Violence: Victims, Activism and Namibia's Dual Justice Systems. In Davies, P. and Tapley, J. (eds.) Victimology: Research, policy and activism. London: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 81-131

Mecinska, L. James, C. & Mukungu, K. (2020) Criminalization of Women Accessing Abortion and Enforced Mobility within the European Union and the United Kingdom, Women & Criminal Justice, DOI: 10.1080/08974454.2020.1758868

See more from Kate



Kevin StottKevin D. Stott

Department: Geography and Environmental Sciences Faculty of Engineering and Environment

Supervisor: Miranda Prendergast-Miller

Title of thesis: The role of soil ecology and microbiology in sustainable carbon capture (carbonate precipitation) within artificial soils incorporating industry wastes

My interest are soil science, soil ecology, soil hydrology and Microbial drivers in soil carbon capture. I completed an MEnvSci(Honours) degree at Newcastle University in 2016 after which I worked for the “SUCCESS” project SUCCESS project; Newcastle University ( and The National Green Infrastructure Facility NGIF - Press Office - Newcastle University (


Twitter: @kevinst73158595


Son, Y., Stott, K., Manning, D.A.C. and Cooper, J.M. (2020), Carbon sequestration in artificial silicate soils facilitated by arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi and glomalin‐related soil protein. European Journal of Soil Science. Accepted Author Manuscript. Freely available from https://doi:10.1111/ejss.13058


Maria Dubrova

Department: Human Geography

Supervisors: Professor Kathryn Cassidy and Dr Jacob Miller

Title of thesis: Queering Geopolitics: LGBTQ+ Communities and the Conflict in Ukraine

My doctoral research explores the geopolitics of contemporary Ukraine through Queer Theory lens. It suggests the (in)visibility of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ+) Ukrainian subjectivities and the construction of queer space confronts the geopolitical divide that exists between the Russian Federation and Western democracies, played out in the arena of socio-politically contested Ukraine. The thesis is interdisciplinary; drawing on Political and Social Geographies, Popular Geopolitics, and Media and Culture studies.


Twitter: @MariaDubrova

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