Previous funding awards

This is a list of previously awarded funding, and the reports from those awarded funds. To apply for funds see the bursary funding page. For information about nominating someone for an award, see the prize nomination page.

Previous winners, click to see how the TSG bursary funding helped early career researchers gain valuable conference experience


2017 IMAG(in)ING RIFTING workshop, Swiss Alps: Thomas Phillips of Imperial College London

I was awarded a TSG conference bursary to support my attendance of the IMAG(in)ING RIFTING workshop in September 2017. Coming towards the end of my PhD, the TSG bursary proved a great help in allowing me to attend this workshop.

Organised by Professor Gianreto Mantaschal (Université de Strasbourg) and Dr Gwenn Peron-Pinvidic (Geological Survey of Norway (NGU)), and held in the picturesque town of Pontresina, high in the Swiss Alps, this week long workshop combined in-depth discussions regarding continental rifting and break-up, with fieldtrips and excursions. This workshop consisted of a number of invited presentations that examined the current state of knowledge in various aspects relating to continental rifting, in-depth discussion sessions and excursions to examine spectacular exposures of proximal to distal rifted margin rocks in the area.

During the workshop I gave an invited presentation on my PhD research, entitled: “The role of pre-existing structural heterogeneities in controlling rift evolution: the North Sea Case example,” which was co-authored by Professor Christopher Jackson (Imperial College London), Dr Rebecca Bell (Imperial College London), Dr Oliver Duffy (AGL, University of Texas at Austin) and Professor Haakon Fossen (University of Bergen). This presentation drew upon my recent work, published in the Journal of Structural Geology (Phillips et al., 2016), using seismic reflection data to constrain the geometry of Devonian Shear Zones offshore southern Norway and examining their influence on rift geometry and evolution within the North Sea. The workshop also gave me the opportunity to propose and gain feedback on some new ideas relating to the wider topic of structural inheritance, as well as numerous fruitful discussion on a wide range of rifting-related topics with members of the community.

One of the highlights of the workshop was to get stuck in to some Alpine geology. A series of excursions took us on a tour through a passive margin from the proximal to the distal domain, all exposed in a relatively small area of the Alps. During these excursions we had the opportunity to visit exhumed mantle overlain by basalt and sandstone (and to touch the Moho!). We also visited exposures of hyperextended crust and detachment fault systems, including the Err detachment. On the final day, we were able to examine local-scale turbidites and breccias associated with hyperextended crust, as well as examine the regional structure of the area through large-scale panoramas atop of the 3000m mountain, Piz Nair.

This conference proved a great experience and was hugely geologically rewarding. The opportunity to speak and discuss ideas with various people at the forefront of the rifted margin community was incredibly useful for my PhD studies and gave me a number of ideas and potential avenues to explore in my future geological career. The excursions offered a new perspective on my research, allowing me to directly examine and compare the structures that I see on seismic reflection data to both small- and large-scale passive margin structures exposed in the Alps.

Photos from the workshop

Photo 1: Examining the Ocean-Continent transition at the Tasna Detachment

Photo 2: View from the top of Piz Nair


2017 AAPG Geosciences Technology Workshop (GTW) (New Zealand): Dr Penelope Wilson of Kingston University London

I was awarded the TSG Early Career Researcher travel bursary to support my attendance at the AAPG Geosciences Technology Workshop (GTW) on the “Influence of Volcanism and Associated Magmatic Processes on Petroleum Systems”. The two day conference and workshop was held in Oamaru, the largest town in northern Otago on the South Island, New Zealand. I gave an oral presentation on some of the research that I started late in my PhD and am continuing now as an Early Career Scientist. My talk was entitled “Fracture analysis of deformation structures associated with the Trachyte Mesa intrusion, Henry Mountains, Utah: implications for reservoir connectivity and fluid flow around sill intrusions” and was co-authored with Prof Ken McCaffrey (Durham University), Prof Dave Sanderson (University of Southampton), Dr Woody Wilson (BP Exploration UK) and Prof Ian Jarvis (Kingston University London).

The workshop provided an excellent platform for both academics and exploration geologists in the hydrocarbon industry to get together to share research and ideas on the impact of magmatic intrusions and volcanism on petroleum systems. Basins with significant magmatic intrusions and extrusive deposits have often been considered less attractive to exploration geologists due to the complex nature of how these may impact, both positively and negatively, on the hydrocarbon potential. It was interesting to see the different approaches to tackling the subject area, especially the different attitudes from region to region. Discussions were very lively and exchanges fruitful, and I believe most left the conference more hopeful that these plays are potentially more viable and worth exploring.

I also attended a one day fieldtrip to visit and discuss local outcrops of interest including: the Tokarahi sill; tuffs with surge deposits, pillow basalts, and carbonate sediments with local diagenetic alteration located along the shoreline to the south of Oamaru; and highly porous bryozoan shoal deposits (volcanic platform setting) full of deformation bands. The field trip was an excellent addition, allowing us all to discuss topics raised over the two day workshop in the context of a natural setting.
Dr Penelope Wilson, Kingston University London

Photos from the fieldtrip:

‘Geologists heading down to look at the tuffs and associated pillow basalts along the southern shoreline of Oamaru.’

‘Pillow basalts, likely intruded into shallow, wet and unconsolidated sediments.’

‘Fault with injectite’


2017 DRT conference, Inverness (Scotland): Dr Alodie Bubeck of University of Leicester

As an early career researcher, with limited financial support, the conference bursary from TSG allowed me to attend my first DRT conference in Inverness. I took two separate pieces of work with me, which gave me the unique opportunity to discuss prominent findings from the full scale of my recently completed PhD: pore- to continental margin-scale deformation.

My first presentation, a poster titled “Pore geometry as a control on rock strength”, was on display for the first two days of the conference during which time I enjoyed lively discussions with researchers with a broad range of backgrounds. Although I have presented a version of this work at previous meetings, the work has progressed considerably in the last year with the addition of new datasets, which are now published in EPSL (Bubeck et al., 2017: the paper for which I was runner-up for the 2017 Ramsay Medal). In addition, my poster included new 2D and 3D numerical models for the distribution of stress surrounding spherical and non-spherical pores, which have been developed by MSc student Tim Davis at the University of Aberdeen. DRT was an excellent opportunity to showcase these new models and promote my own paper (Bubeck et al., 2017), as well as Tim’s recently submitted JSG paper based on his numerical results. Through discussions of my work I found myself in an exciting position where I could provide advice to others regarding volume imaging techniques and discuss the importance of detailed volume analyses in rock deformation studies. Furthermore, this poster presentation contained rock mechanics work that underpins a grant application being prepared – for which I am contributing as the Researcher Co-investigator. Attending DRT gave me an invaluable, and crucially timed opportunity to discuss the scope and science of the application prior to the deadline this summer.

My second presentation was a talk titled “Vertical axis rotations during normal fault propagation and linkage: application to the evolution of the NE Atlantic”. This work involved a comparative analysis of fault, fracture, and intrusion kinematics and geometry from study sites in Hawaii and Iceland with larger-scale published, and new data for the segmented rift system in the proto-NE Atlantic. Based on the results of this comparison I presented a model of rift segment interaction, which predicts the formation of second-order structures at a range of geometries relative to the rift system. This work has not been widely presented previously and the feedback I received after my talk was extremely helpful and encouraging. The manuscript is now in review, so fingers crossed!

In addition to my two PhD-related presentations, attending DRT gave me an opportunity to enjoy valuable discussions of a broad range of study areas that I am involved in. These included: transform fault development, sill emplacement mechanisms, controls on the propagation of basalt-hosted faults, and fluid-rock interactions and transient permeability in basaltic sequences. Attending DRT gave me a great deal of confidence discussing multi-scale, wide ranging results with researchers with a variety of specialities.

Without this bursary I could not have attended the conference and I would encourage anyone, especially financially strapped ECRs, to put an application in! Thank you TSG!


2017 EGU General Assembly: Stephan Gehne from University of Portsmouth

EGU is one of the major conferences for geoscience and geophysics and the TSG travel bursary gave me the excellent opportunity to present my research to experts from many different fields and backgrounds. I am in the third year of my doctoral study, investigating the fracture mechanics of hydraulic fracturing and my abstract was accepted for an oral presentation in the session “Fracture, mechanics and flow in tight reservoirs”.

In my presentation with the title “Fluid driven fracture mechanics in highly anisotropic shale: a laboratory study with application to hydraulic fracturing”, I presented our results from hydraulic fracturing experiments in a controlled laboratory environment. With these experiments we want to assess how environmental factors and rock properties influence the fracture process and the developing fracture network.

After the presentation, I could discuss my results with many other researchers, who are working with similar materials and methods and received valuable feedback and many guiding comments. Furthermore, exchanging and discussing experimental experiences and challenges helped me to find potential solutions to experimental issues we encountered during our experiments, which will save myself a lot of time and resources in the future.

During these discussions with other researchers from my but also other fields and the attendance of many relevant presentations (oral and posters) I learned a lot about hydraulic fracturing, shale behaviour, low permeability rock types and inherent anisotropy in rocks and developed many new ideas to further advance my research. Furthermore, I was able to discuss potential collaboration ideas, which I think will rise my project to a higher standard.

Due to the extent of the conference, it was also great for building new relationships and strengthen existing ones.

To attend EGU 2017 was a great experience, it provided an invaluable guidance for my research and it was a large source for new ideas and solutions. I want to Thank TSG greatly to give me the opportunity to attend EGU 2017. Thank you very much!


2017 EGU General Assembly: Jordan Phethean from University of Durham

As a final year PhD student the TSG student travel bursary allowed me the chance to present the concluding results of my research to an international audience at the EGU General Assembly 2017 in Vienna. Not only was I able to convey my new and exciting findings to experts in my field, but I also got ample feedback on my work – which is particularly helpful at this stage as I am preparing to publish it. On top of that I also learnt more than I could have imagined during the oral and poster sessions, and discovered many new workers active in my field with whom I hope to collaborate in the future!

My poster ‘The Rovuma Transform Margin: the enigmatic continent-ocean boundary of East Africa’ presented work which has aimed to resolving the uncertainty in the location of the East African transform margin. Until now, the margin had been thought to be situated several hundred km farther east of where we propose. This has significant implications for plate tectonic reconstructions of the Gondwana supercontinent with impacts for both academia and industry.

We presented the poster on the Wednesday right in the middle of the conference when vast amounts of people were in attendance. This gave my work lots of exposure! After several hours of intense discussion with eminent researchers from IFREMER, BGR, and MAGRiT (just to name a few) I found myself feeling confident about how I would like my current research to proceed, and also more confidence about my future academic career path, too!

In short, this was an invaluable and guiding experience for me that would not have been possible without this amazing bursary from the TSG. Thank you so much!

Figures from Jordan’s work

Figure 1         Figure 2          Figure 3         Figure 4

Jordan Phethean, University of Durham


2016 AGU Fall Meeting: Elvira Papaleo from University of Aberdeen

At the conference I presented the poster “High-resolution teleseismic tomography reveals a complex lithospheric structure beneath the North Anatolian Fault”, co-authored by David Cornwell and Nicholas Rawlinson, where I showed a 3D velocity model of the crust and upper mantle beneath the westernmost part of the North Anatolian Fault obtained using the passive seismic data recorded by a dense array of seismic stations. During my poster session I have been able to discuss my results with many people and received encouraging feedback and comments that gave me new ideas for my PhD research and definitely improved the paper I am about to submit.

During the conference I have also attended several sessions, mostly focussing on fault evolution both at macroscopic and microscopic scale, which improved my understanding on these subjects and helped me to look at the problem from different perspectives.

Attending the Fall Meeting was definitely a great experience and I’m really grateful to the TSG for their support, thank you!

2016 EGU General Assembly: James Norcliffe from University of Leeds

I was awarded the TSG student travel bursary to support my attendance to the 35 th International Geological Congress (IGC) in Cape Town, South Africa. This gave me the opportunity to present my work at a major international conference and gain important feedback on my PhD results.

My poster was titled “Magmatic segments abandoned during continental breakup: Insights into the formation of seaward dipping reflectors” and was co-authored by Douglas Paton, Estelle Mortimer, Andrew McCaig, and Karyna Rodriguez. The poster showed recent results of my PhD; where I have used seismic reflection data from the Orange Basin, offshore South Africa, to assess the roles of faulting and magmatism in accommodating continental breakup. The feedback I received was encouraging and helped clarify the next steps of my PhD.

I attended several sessions focused on basin formation and continental breakup. These featured talks from geologists, geophysicists and numerical modellers, which kept me up to date with the recent advances and debates within my field. Additionally, attending several structural geology sessions developed my understanding of the mechanics of magma intrusion. Given that I work with seismic data this gave me an excellent opportunity to compare my results with those seen in the field.

I’d like to thank the TSG very much for helping me attend this conference, and by extension for supporting the development of my PhD and future career. I hope to be able to share my results at the TSG meeting in January 2017!

James Norcliffe, Basin Structure Group, University of Leeds


Linkedin: 35454a7a


2016 EGU General Assembly: Amicia Lee from University of Leeds

I was awarded a TSG student travel bursary to present my work at the EGU General Assembly 2016. Without the support of TSG I would not have been able to attend EGU 2016, and after learning so much over the week this would have been a great loss.

The first session I attended on ‘Analysis of microstructure, texture and deformation mechanisms in nature and experiment’ was an invaluable experience; over the course of a few hours I was inundated with new ideas and ways to tackle problems within my PhD. By the end of day 1 I was quoted to say ‘I love science!’. As the conference progressed I enhanced my knowledge in both deformation microstructures and crustal seismology – two very different, but key topics within my PhD project.

My poster Partial melt and seismic properties: A case study from the Seiland Igneous Province, Norway authored by Andrew Walker, Geoffrey Lloyd, Taija Torvela and myself, reviewed the seismic melt modelling I have been working on for the past year. The models take rock data from previously melted lower crustal rocks and simulate seismic data for if they were melting in the lower crust today. There was a lot of positive feedback surrounding my poster as well as constructive criticism giving me new ways to improve my modelling. A lot of people wanted to know when my models were going to be published, this was very encouraging and reassured me of the relevance of my research.

I would like to say a huge thank you to TSG for supporting my research and providing me with this invaluable learning experience.

Amica Lee, University of Leeds


Links to downloads of Amica’s EGU submission materials



 2015 AGU Fall Meeting: Roberto Rizzo from University of Aberdeen

I was awarded a TSG travel bursary to support my attendance at the December 2015 AGU Fall Meeting in San Francisco.

The things I learnt at AGU and the conversations I had will influence the future of my research in a number of ways. The conference is very large and attracts a global audience, and so I was able to learn about new and updated research topics. I had opportunity to speak and discuss with experts in the fields of structural geology, geomechanics, and rock physics – building a wider network with scientists and researchers. I also received precious discussion and feedback about my research when I presented my poster “Predicting bulk permeability using outcrop fracture attributes: The benefits of a Maximum Likelihood Estimator on the second to last day of the conference. Meeting other PhD students during the conference was both fun and encouraging, and I could exchange ideas with people researching on subjects closely related to mine

So to say it briefly, thanks a lot to TSG, I had a great and very constructive experience :) 

Roberto Rizzo

Links to downloads of Roberto’s AGU submission materials


AAPG Annual Conference and Exhibit 2015: Simon Oldfield, University of Leeds

Thanks to the TSG student travel bursary, I was able to attend the AAPG’s Annual Conference and Exhibit in Denver, Colorado.  Additionally, this enabled me to lengthen my trip and complete fieldwork supporting my research.

Presenting a poster on my research at the event provided an invaluable opportunity to discuss technical application and challenges in my field of work with academic and industry-based practitioners from a broad range of disciplines.

The poster, titled; “Reducing uncertainty in the geological interpretation of complex structural geometries through seismic forward modelling: Application to frontal ranges of the Llanos Basin, Colombia”, authored by Douglas Paton, Andres Mora, Juan-Carlos Alzate and I, reviewed the findings of the first year of my PhD.

Applying seismic forward modelling to interpreted geometries provides a method to compare likely seismic response to the original data, providing spatial constraint on structural interpretation uncertainty.

AAPG ACE was a great place to find practitioners in all of these fields, discussions varied from some fascinating structures to alternate processing methodologies.  Perhaps less expected, were insights from software developers, discussing implementations and limitations of commonly applied structural and reservoir modelling algorithms.

It was a great honour and a pleasure to mingle with some excellent presenters while co-chairing an oral session on “Structure and Tectonics of Unconventionals” and a poster session on “Geomechanics of Unconventionals”.  Since the conference, my co-authors and I were also informed that we have been given an Award of Excellence for the poster as one of the top ten presented during the conference.

As a former Field Geologist, this funding also provided an excellent opportunity to stretch the budget, and escape the office, to conduct fieldwork in the northeast Frontal Range, Colorado.  An area of inversion tectonics, with excellent exposure of structures in ‘basement’ and active economic plays. I hope to use this work to investigate the influence of strength heterogeneities on geomechanical development and seismic detectability.

Since my first presentation at TSG’s AGM in 2013, the group have provided a friendly and supportive environment for young professionals and researchers to benefit from the honesty of our senior fellows and shared experiences of our peers.  It was great to see a number of familiar faces from TSG at AAPG and I look forward to seeing you again in the future.

Simon Oldfield, Basin Structure Group, University of Leeds


Twitter: @SJOldfield


2015 EGU Symposium: Daniel Myhill (UEA)

Daniel Myhill (UEA) was awarded a TSG Conference and Travel Bursary to attend and present at the EGU symposium, Vienna, in April 2015.

Here, Daniel reports back on his experience:

EGU 2015: A valuable experience for an Early Career scientist

As part of my integrated MSci in Environmental Earth Science I have been undertaking research with Paul Dennis at the University of East Anglia. Our aim was to demonstrate how clumped isotopes, a relatively new technique, could be applied to problems in structural geology. For example, the technique can provide information about the temperature and composition of mineralising fluids. This can help to understand mineralisation processes, which are often complex and difficult to unravel, and yet have several economically important applications. To this end, for my fourth year Master’s research project I used clumped isotopes to understand mineralisation temperatures and paleo-fluid compositions of vein carbonates in the fluorite-rich Mississippi Valley-Type ore deposit of the South Pennine Orefield, UK.

I was keen to tell the geological community about the interesting research that we have been doing, particularly following the positive experience at the TSG annual conference in Edinburgh (January, 2015). The European Geosciences Union (EGU) symposium provides a great opportunity for disseminating research to the international geoscience community. I was accepted to give a talk in session TS1.3/EMRP4.7/ERE5.5: “The role of fluids and fracturing in carbonates and other upper crustal rocks”, and so, excited and nervous, I travelled to Vienna to my first EGU with the assistance of the TSG Conference and Travel Bursary grant.

I had an amazing time. Although I was nervous giving my talk, I received fantastic feedback from people in the session. I am very grateful to the session convenors for giving me the opportunity to present my research to this audience. Similar to the TSG annual conference, there is a strong Early Career Scientist community at EGU. I found that the Early Career events made the EGU conference very accessible and really enhanced my experience, particularly given the huge scale of the conference and the fact that I was attending alone. I was able to network and make great new contacts, as well as catch up with people I met at the TSG in January over a few well-earned drinks.

Looking forwards, I am getting to grips with writing my first paper on my work ready for submission to Tectonophysics this autumn, as well as starting new ventures having graduated from UEA with a 1st Class honours. In fact, I will be giving a talk at the ‘Geology of Geomechanics’ conference at the end of October, which TSG are co-organisers, and so I may see some of you there! Meanwhile, I hope to find a suitable PhD in the near future, to allow me to pursue a career in the academic realm.

Daniel Myhill MSc

Twitter: @Dan_Myhill

Linked in:

Links to downloads of Daniel’s EGU submission materials

TSG website photos

EGU Presentation

Dennis et al Abstract Submission