Research Groups

Research Groups

The QRA sponsors Research Groups for periods of up to three years to fund activities of sub-disciplines within Quaternary Science. Funds are largely to assist setting up of networks of researchers and for funding of meetings and workshops. Groups that have received financial support are listed below.

Those interested in proposing a Research Group should send the attached form to the Meetings Officer and Secretary at any time. Informal enquiries are also very welcome.

QRA Research Group Proposal

Peatland Ecosystems and Time (PEaT: 2020–2023)

The main aim of the Quaternary Research Association "Peatland Ecosystems and Time (PEaT)" group is to draw together scientists from the UK and beyond who are actively researching peatland ecosystems. Our remit is broad and covers peatland ecology and palaeoecology, dating and chronology, carbon...

The main aim of the Quaternary Research Association "Peatland Ecosystems and Time (PEaT)" group is to draw together scientists from the UK and beyond who are actively researching peatland ecosystems. Our remit is broad and covers peatland ecology and palaeoecology, dating and chronology, carbon dynamics, geochemistry, hydrology and archaeology.  We are particularly keen to develop ideas and concepts that link the past to the present and future state of global peatlands. We aim to meet annually to discuss pertinent questions in peatland science and work on joint initiatives and publications. We will also interface with members of the public and policy specialists. 
We will address several scientific themes including:

  1. Response of peatlands to past-present-future climate change and other anthropogenic impacts;
  2. Fire in peatland ecosystems;
  3. Dating of peatlands;
  4. Proxy development and refinement;
  5. Combining contemporary ecology and palaeoecology for understanding peatland ecosystems;
  6. Pathways of peatland initiation;
  7. The ultimate resolution of peatlands and controls on peat and carbon accumulation rates;
  8. Understanding the moorland ecosystems of Northern Britain;
  9. Peatland archaeology and human-environment interactions.

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Quaternary Engineering Research Group (QERG: 2020–2023)

This research group is intended to foster greater collaboration between industry, academia and government organisations Industry has access to a wealth of practical experience on the engineering properties of Quaternary sediments, knowledge of outcrops available for study, access to ground...

This research group is intended to foster greater collaboration between industry, academia and government organisations Industry has access to a wealth of practical experience on the engineering properties of Quaternary sediments, knowledge of outcrops available for study, access to ground investigation data and core material and can provide benefit-in-kind support to research funding applications. Industry can also provide a link between client organisations and universities to develop funded PhD studentships under the ESPRC Cooperative Awards in Science & Technology (CASE) programme. The engineering industry and related government organisations are also a significant employer for students with Quaternary geology expertise, fulfilling roles as engineering geologists, geomorphologists and geoarchaeologists. There are therefore equitable benefits to all parties from collaboration. Workshops and conferences will define how links can be fostered effectively and showcase examples of Quaternary engineering geology practice and state-of-the-art research.

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Virtual Palaeoscience (VIPs: 2020–2023)

We aim to create a shared archive of virtual palaeoenvironmental teaching resources to support the teaching of environmental change science leading to improvements in environmental change teaching, accessibility of teaching and outreach. Longer term objectives are:

  • Create a useful and...

We aim to create a shared archive of virtual palaeoenvironmental teaching resources to support the teaching of environmental change science leading to improvements in environmental change teaching, accessibility of teaching and outreach. Longer term objectives are:

  • Create a useful and widely used resource for finding, creating and using materials for teaching and learning about the palaeosciences.
  • Create a community which can seek grant funding and institutional support to produce high quality materials over a longer term and study their use by students and academics.
  • Transfer curation to an established organisation.

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Sea Level and Coastal Change (SLaCC: 2015–2017)

The main aim of the Sea Level and Coastal Change Research Group (SLaCC) is to draw together scientists from the UK and NW Europe that are actively researching sea-level and coastal changes and the impact of sea-level change on the coastal environment, in the past, present and future. We...

The main aim of the Sea Level and Coastal Change Research Group (SLaCC) is to draw together scientists from the UK and NW Europe that are actively researching sea-level and coastal changes and the impact of sea-level change on the coastal environment, in the past, present and future. We meet annually to discuss sea-level and coastal change over a range of time and spatial scales but with particular relevance to vulnerable coastal communities within the UK and NW Europe. The meetings are located in different coastal locations around the UK and Ireland, to reflect new and ongoing research within the sea-level community and in locations which are particularly vulnerable to future coastal changes and which will in particular appeal to those working in coastal policy and planning. The group is still active, with meetings often held jointly with the QRA.

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Glacial Landsystems Working Group (GLWG: 2010–2013)

GLWG is an informal working group which aims to act as a catalyst for research on palaeoglaciological reconstructions, focusing specifically on landform/sediment associations and their application to glaciated landscapes. The group organises a range of field meetings at various locations in glaciated Britain, often jointly with the QRA.

Isotopes in Biogenic Silica (IBiS)

The main aim of IBiS is to promote the study of all forms of biogenic silica (phytoliths from higher plants, diatoms, chrysophytes, sponge spicules, radiolaria, etc) and their role in biogeochemical cycling at ecosystem to global scales. The group is still active.

Quaternary Vertebrates (QUAVER)

The purpose of this group was to improve communication between Quaternary vertebrate researchers, through regular meetings, a website and a web-based mailing list.

Tephra in Quaternary Science (TIQS)

Recent developments in tephrochronology have heralded a new wave of research initiatives that utilise it to tackle significant scientific issues which, hitherto, have been unachievable with the traditional dating techniques. This group brought together individuals and groups with wide-ranging expertise in order to promote cross-group collaborations for optimising and advancing tephrochronology.

FLuvial Archives Group (FLAG)

The Fluvial Archives Group was one of the first QRA Research Groups, set up in 1996. The group is an international forum for discussion and dissemination of research on fluvial topics from historical to Early Pleistocene timescales, using a wide range of established and emerging methodologies...

The Fluvial Archives Group was one of the first QRA Research Groups, set up in 1996. The group is an international forum for discussion and dissemination of research on fluvial topics from historical to Early Pleistocene timescales, using a wide range of established and emerging methodologies including chronology and modelling and looking at forcing factors including tectonics, climate and human activity. FLAG chair sessions at many key conferences in addition to organising their own Biennial meetings which are a combination of talks and field visits.

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