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Royal Society Industry Fellowship for Dr Becky Briant

Dr Briant is an expert in landscape change, rivers and dating techniques.

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Birkbeck academic, Dr Becky Briant, Reader in Quaternary Science in the School of Social Sciences, has been awarded a Royal Society Industry Fellowship, running from 2024 to 2026. The fellowship, which is part of the Royal Society's wider Science and Industry Programme, strives to promote the value and importance of science by connecting academia, industry and government. 

The fellowship starts in January in collaboration with professional technical services firm Jacobs. It will support Dr Briant’s research development, foster exchange of knowledge, stimulate longer-term collaborations, and establish personal, scientific and corporate links between sectors.  

Dr Briant’s fellowship will involve sharing her expertise on Quaternary age sediments with Jacobs’ ground engineering and geoarchaeology teams. Quaternary age sediments are younger and more variable than bedrock. It is important to understand these, because low carbon infrastructure, such as onshore and offshore renewables, is frequently built on Quaternary-age sediments, which pose increased engineering complications. Dr Briant’s fellowship will see her develop training materials and also collaborate on specific projects. She will undertake detailed scientific analyses of sedimentary sequences that are not accessible under normal circumstances. This will improve understanding of landscape change over the last two million years and enable new knowledge to be translated and applied into practice. She will work with Jacobs’ colleagues to publish these in scientific papers that are accessible to the wider ground engineering community. 

Dr Briant commented: “This project brings together my research expertise in Quaternary environments, my personal commitment to applying my skills to build a better future, and my experience in teaching on the MSc Climate Change programme at Birkbeck. I am excited to start work on new sequences and to continue building strong relationships with scientists and engineers in industry, which I started as a founding member of the Quaternary Research Association Engineering Research Group.” 

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