Last week I travelled to Dublin to attend the 2018 Royal Irish Academy Charlemont Award Ceremony. Recognising the importance of travel and cross-pollination of ideas, the Charlemont scholarship scheme awards high impact travel grants to early career postdoctoral researchers. Small but impactful sources of funding such as this are crucial for early career researchers, for whom international exchange and networking is of particular importance and relevance.


The event took place on the evening of the 19th February at the welcoming and opulent RIA Academy House. As a successful applicant in the 2018 scheme, I was joined by a cohort of fellow scholars who had travelled from various universities in Ireland to receive their Award from RIA President, Prof Michael Kennedy. Between us, we spanned a wide diversity of disciplines in the social, natural and engineering sciences. The Award Ceremony provided a great opportunity to network with researchers from across the country for whom the Award would facilitate travel to locations across the globe, including Romania, Barbados, South Africa and New Zealand.


recieving awardBuilding on my recent research in The Gambia earlier this year (more information on which can be read here), The Charlemont grant will support me to expand my research to new geographical locations. This time I am traveling to New Zealand over the summer period. There I will collect novel data that will facilitate further cross-cultural data from which to explore the intersections of social change and daily consumption. Replicating my doctoral research methodology with older aged New Zealanders will generate comparable data, allowing me to draw comparative insights between Ireland, New Zealand and The Gambia. This will enable me to further advance understanding of how different consumption cultures evolve. The findings generated from this comparative investigation will be of central utility to sustainable development policy.


class-of-2018-charlemont-scholars (1)

2018 Charlemont Scholars


During my time in New Zealand, I will be hosted by Juliana Mansvelt at the School of People, Environment and Planning at Massey University. I’m very excited about the invaluable opportunity this will present to collaborate with an international network of colleagues sharing my interest in exploring the intersections of lives, practices and contexts in shaping environmental behaviour. In addition to collaborating on the field-based research, I will attend and present a paper at The New Zealand Geographical Society – Insitute of Australian Geographers Conference which will be held in Auckland during my stay.


These opportunities attest to the importance of small-scale research grants for early career researchers. They provide vital stepping stones needed to facilitate us in springboarding our careers. The Charlemont Scholar provides me with a fantastic opportunity to expand my doctoral research and forge new links with an international community of scholars in my field. It is intended that these experiences will provide a means through which I can build a specialised international research network and develop larger-scale research projects in the future.