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Harvard University

Jonathan Burley - Travel ReportOld Members Trust Travel Grant Report – Jonathan Burley, Dphil Earth Sciences

I used the OMT Trust Grant to part-fund a month-long research trip to Harvard University. My DPhil research focuses on the potential for feedback between cyclical ice ages and volcanism.  To test this idea, I write computer models of volcanic behaviour and low-complexity climate models. However, even low complexity climate models feature a great deal of complexity… and the million year glacial-interglacial climate models I want to write have very few experts.  Fortunately, in today’s international academic world my research had long been planned as a collaboration with one such expert in Harvard.

The OMT grant helped fund a month-long stay in Boston to work in Harvard Earth Sciences.   Over the course of the month I significantly advanced my climate model, transforming it into the final version that will be used in my published papers, and spent significant time with various Harvard researchers close to my field.

Of course, even research trips are not all work.  I have numerous friends in Boston – both former Rhodes Scholars and my American partner’s friends and family.  I was, quite insistently, taken to see a Red Sox game, fed oysters and Maine lobster, and given endless American IPAs (I maintain that anything over 10% alcohol is wine in disguise).

The Old Members’ Trust funding facilitated a trip that has advanced my research by several months, and provided insights that I may never have made in Oxford.   Potentially reflecting this, I have been awarded the “Guralp prize for Outstanding Progress in Graduate Research,” denoting the best PhD research in my department. I am grateful for the opportunity Univ provided me with this funding.

Find out more about the range of travel grants and scholarships available to assist Univ students on our Travel Grants page or read further travel reports.

Published: 3 October 2016

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