Roseanne McDonald

SAGES Graduate Retreat

I’m just back from a fantastic couple days at the Scottish Alliance for Geoscience, Environment and Society (SAGES) annual Graduate School Retreat! SAGES is a Scottish Funding Council pooling initiative which builds on five interrelated reach groupings of Earth System Sciences: landscape dynamics; carbon cycle; oceans, atmosphere and climate; modelling; and society/knowledge transfer.

The retreat was held at The Burn, a stunning Georgian mansion house in the Scottish countryside near Brechin. This year’s theme was on ‘grant success’ which included student-led research presentations, seminars, team-building and discussions. A key element of the retreat was working on a research proposal under Carnegie Trust funding guidelines. I worked with two fellow PhD students, where we put together a proposal to map the distribution and condition of Scottish upland peat which would also be accessible for stakeholder use. As we all work within the carbon cycle theme, we were able to pull together our experiences and share knowledge effectively. We had to consider project aims, rationale, state of the art, timeline, skills required, budgeting, output and impact. There was also a prize for the best research proposal – we were pleasantly surprised that we won!

Overall, it was an insightful, well organised, fun couple of days and I would highly recommend it to others. There was a great balance between academic activities surrounding research funding applications and fun networking events, for example team quizzes and walks to look at the geology of Glenesk. Thanks to those who organised this year’s retreat and for the kind hospitality from those at The Burn – I’m already looking forward to future SAGES events!