We work with Scottish universities to promote geographical study and research. We offer ‘knowledge exchange’ opportunities to help interpret academic geography for non-academic audiences. We encourage dissemination of knowledge through our peer-reviewed academic journal, the Scottish Geographical Journal.

Geography is a unique discipline that connects the sciences, humanities and arts, teaching us joined-up thinking like no other subject. Geography and the Earth sciences are essentially about joining the dots between the physical and the human worlds: you can’t fully understand how the world works if you don’t understand how people interact with it, and you can’t fully consider human activities and policies if you don’t take account of the finite nature of resources and the Earth’s own complex and powerful natural processes.

So, in this age of globalised markets and communications, and climate change, it is critical that geographical sciences are promoted and pursued, to encourage joined-up thinking and to give people the skills to make sense of this complex world.

Geography in Scottish Universities

With arguably the greatest geological diversity of any country in the world, and a rich tradition of exploring and settling new lands, Scotland has played a strong and inspirational role in the development of geographical sciences. Geography was one of the founding subjects listed in the charter for Edinburgh University in 1583, but it was not taught as a degree subject until 1908, when RSGS Secretary George Chisholm was appointed as the first Lecturer in Geography at Edinburgh.

Geographical or Earth sciences can now be studied to degree and post-graduate level at eight Scottish universities:

A further three Scottish universities include some elements of geographical teaching within related subjects:

Research Councils and Funding

We are invited to recommend academics to represent geography in the various research councils. We meet with the Scottish Funding Council and others looking at the strategic funding of geographical studies in Scottish universities.

RSGS University Medal

Since 1909, the RSGS has offered silver University Medals, which are now awarded to the outstanding graduating honours geography student in each of the Scottish universities as recommended by heads of department.

Knowledge Exchange

Part of our role is to help interpret academic geography for non-academic audiences. We offer opportunities for researchers to communicate their work through public talks, published articles, school activities, public displays, and electronic media. We can do this on an ad hoc basis or as a formal outreach partner in a wider project. If you are a researcher interested in developing a ‘knowledge exchange’ programme with the RSGS, please contact us on [email protected] or 01738 455050.

We also have a small grants scheme. Since its inception, the RSGS and its members have part-funded hundreds of students, academics and explorers in their careers and research, both at home and abroad. Expeditions have ranged from the 1902-04 Scottish National Antarctic Expedition led by explorer William Speirs Bruce, to contemporary undergraduate research into community renewable energy projects in the UK, and orang-utan response to habitat loss in Borneo.

RSGS Knowledge Exchange Grants help to promote geography by disseminating the results of geographical enquiry and research, particularly by early career researchers, for the benefit of the wider public. Applications are considered once a year (in early spring) and grants are in the range of £200 to £1,000. The next grants round will be announced in autumn 2019.

Scottish Geographical Journal

The Scottish Geographical Journal (SGJ) is the RSGS’s peer-reviewed academic journal. International in outlook, the SGJ publishes scholarly articles of original research from any branch of geography and on any part of the world, while at the same time maintaining a distinctive interest in and concern with issues relating to Scotland.

The SGJ is published by Routledge (Taylor and Francis), and is available online or in hard copy. All RSGS Members are entitled to receive the SGJ for free. Join us now to start receiving your copies, and for free access to digital copies online.