EMG-Early Career Bursary Scheme

Submission deadlines for 2022:

  • 1st March
  • 1st November

A funding opportunity of up to £500 is available for Early Career Researchers (postdoctoral, fixed-term research fellow, fixed-term academic appointment, or an equivalent early career staff position) in the disciplines of environmental, applied, and bio mineralogy to support career development by enabling ECRs to undertake independent research. In that context, these funds may facilitate new pilot research or new commercialisation of research into industry. Awards are expected to lead to publication/collaboration/research funding applications.

The bursary may be used for:

  • Access to, and use of, scientific instruments and services
  • Purchase of necessary scientific equipment and consumables
  • Travel and subsistence for the above and/or to facilitate collaborations, but not conference attendance

Applicants must demonstrate how the proposed research is independent from or beyond the scope of their current position. Awards may not be used to supplement existing research. Awards will be made twice a year with individual awards limited to a maximum of £500. The closing dates for receipt of applications are 1st March and 1st November each year. Applications must be received not less than eight weeks in advance of the proposed research, and in time for one of the deadlines above. Applications should be emailed to the Secretary of the EMG.

Applications will be assessed by the EMG Committee, and evaluated based on their scientific merit and overall benefit to the applicant. All else being equal, preference will be given to applicants who are members of the Mineralogical Society. The EMG Committee reserves the right to make no awards in a particular application round.

Successful applicants must provide a one-page report (PDF) outlining how the money was used. This report will be posted on the bursary report section of the Mineralogical Society website. Successful applicants are also encouraged to support the activities of the EMG and the Society. This includes attending a group/Society event, offering to help convene a session at a group/Society meeting, helping to publicise the Society, submitting a paper to one of the Society’s journals, etc.


Applicants must hold a PhD and be working at a higher education or research institution in the UK or Republic of Ireland as a postdoctoral researcher, fixed term research fellow, a fixed term academic, or an equivalent early career staff position. The applicant’s research post must extend beyond the end date of the proposed research. Please contact the EMG Secretary for queries about eligibility.

Bursary Application Form                                               Bursary Flyer

Previous Recipients
Nina Schleicher- April 2020

Identifying the sources of metals in aerosols holds the key to implementing effective source control measures to improve air quality. I was awarded an EMG bursary to investigate Zn isotope fractionation processes during dissolution representing aerosol transport from pollution sources to sinks. This information is needed to improve the application of Zn isotopes as novel proxies to trace aerosol sources.

While my work was severely delayed by Covid-19, I was still able to leach four different important source materials (road dust, mineral dust, fly ash and volcanic ash) in nitric acid at pH2 in time steps from 5 minutes to 6 days in order to simulate atmospheric processing. I also analysed the element composition of the leachate at 20 time points each. I am currently preparing to add Zn isotope measurements of the leachates for selected time points. Both data sets combined will not only be of sufficiently high quality for publication, they will also lead to improvements in the use of non-traditional metal stable isotopes for aerosol source tracing.

Ke-Qing Xiao – April 2019

“The project was delayed a bit due to COVID, but is still going and I am working on it right now and expect to have at least one paper out of it. Here are some progresses:

  • An invited talk “The role of minerals in cryptic methane cycling in marine surface sediment” about this project at Goldschmidt 2019 session 11g “At the Frontiers of Redox Biogeochemistry: New Rungs in the Redox Ladder”
  • Our proposal to Diamond based on this project was highly rated and provisionally recommended for beamtime in 2021, but there is uncertainty due to COVID, as you can understand.”

Joseph Stewart – September 2018

“The EMG funding was used to visit the laboratories at Imperial College London to measure Neodymium isotopes in fossil cold-water corals from the Equatorial Atlantic. These results are being prepared for publication and will provide key insight into intermediate water circulation patterns during the last deglaciation. Thanks to Tina van de Flierdt and Naomi Pratt for hosting me and for help with analytical work.”

Ion exchange columns for Neodymium isotope analysis of corals at Imperial College London (Department of Earth Science).

Alicja Lacinska – September 2018

“The EMG bursary was used to undertake TEM analysis at the Micro and Nano-research centre, University of Nottingham for a project called CrCarb. The project focuses on the development of methodologies for immobilisation of Cr6+ in crystalline phases. The data obtained was essential for the evaluation of the crystallinity of laboratory-formed materials and is now being used to supplement a Royce scheme proposal for further advanced material investigations. The support of EMG is greatly appreciated.”

SEM image of Cr-bearing materials produced for the CrCarb project.

Roselie Tostevin – September 2018

“The EMG bursary enabled me to join two students from St Andrews University during their visit to the core library in South Africa, where we logged and sampled iron- and silica-rich Palaeoproterozoic sediments. These cores turned out to be so interesting that they spurned a a successful grant application. This grant will fund a PhD student to investigate how local oxygen levels influenced primary iron mineralogy in Palaeoproterozoic basins.”

Iron rich horizons in the core

Brant Walkley – August 2018

“The visit to University of Liverpool (Stephenson Institute for Renewable Energy) that this award allowed was excellent. I collaborated with Dr Frederic Blanc (https://www.liverpool.ac.uk/chemistry/staff/frederic-blanc/), and we performed variable temperature 17O NMR and 1H NMR experiments to probe oxide and proton ion conduction in an A- and O- site deficient perovskite material, sodium bismuth titanate. This material has potential as a fast oxide-ion conductor, Pb-free piezoelectric, end member for high temperature/permittivity multilayer ceramic capacitors and potential oxidation catalyst.

The bursary covered the costs of 17O enrichment of the samples via gas-solid exchange, which is necessary to achieve high signal in 17O NMR. The data are being included in a manuscript we are currently working on for submission to Journal of Materials Chemistry A, and this work also contributes to funding proposals that are in preparation. During the visit I was also invited to give a talk at the Stephenson Institute for Renewable Energy seminar series, which was an excellent opportunity.

Overall, the bursary allowed me to pursue independent research outside my role at the time, established new collaborations that have continued, and it has provided valuable data for our work.”

Andy Bray – September 2017

Clare Thorpe – December 2016

“The Mineralogical Society seed corn bursary allowed me to begin investigations into the ‘Ballidon long duration experiment’ where both archeological and nuclear waste glasses have been buried for up to 50 years. This preliminary work contributed to a successful EPSRC/Davd Clarke Fellowship application to investigate the durability of vitrified nuclear waste in complex natural environments.”

Weather station monitoring at the site of the long duration experiment

Laura Newsome – September 2016

“I was awarded an EMG bursary for my idea to investigate the microbiology of the Mendips massive birnessite deposits. I’m interested in manganese as it has a strong affinity for contaminants such as Cr and Pb, but also for valuable metals such as Co. Microbial manganese cycling is widespread in the natural environment, and may contribute impact on the mobility and fate of these metals. I heard about the massive birnessite deposits at a previous MinSoc conference and enquired whether a microbiological origin had been considered previously; while it was suspected, no investigations had yet been performed. The EMG bursary enabled me to organise collection of new samples from the Mendips caves, to characterise them with aqueous and solid phase geochemical analyses, and to extract and sequence microbial DNA. I’m still working on analysing the data, and am hoping to start some additional sequencing and culturing work on the samples shortly.”

Benjamin Tutolo – March 2016

“Hisingerite is a Fe(III)-bearing product of low-temperature (< 200 °C) fayalite hydration, but little is known about its modes of occurrence or its potential for H2 production. This knowledge gap stems, in part, from the difficulty in separating hisingerite, which occurs as micrometer-scale veinlets, from associated Fe-bearing minerals. Using EMG bursary funds, I travelled to the USA to perform microbeam x-ray fluorescence and spectroscopy analyses to determine both the occurrence and Fe oxidation state of hisingerite in field samples. These data will contribute to a forthcoming publication, as well as a future proposal focussing on the planetary implications of hisingerite production.”

Ben presented his preliminary work on hisingerite at Goldschmidt 2017 in Paris – Veinlet-Scale Reactive Transport during Serpentinization: Implications for H2 Fluxes from Oceanic Serpentinites.