Faculty of Social & Historical Sciences


Meet our LAHP Studentship Awardees: Thomas Dwyer

24 July 2020

Find out more about Tom and his research in his spotlight interview below.

Thomas Dwyer

 1) Hi Tom, congratulations on your successful application of the LAHP! Tell us a bit about yourself…

I was born in Sandwell (in the West Midlands) but have been living in London for the past 10 years. I have a BSc in Geology from Birkbeck College, University of London and did the MSc Palaeoanthropology and Palaeolithic Archaeology at UCL before starting my PhD. Prior to this, I spent 8 years in the Army. My hobbies include travelling, reading, collecting rocks and minerals, gin tasting and hiking.

2) How did you feel when you found out you had been successful in securing the LAHP?

I was quite surprised. I know research council funding is becoming tighter as less money seems to be available for academia and I had not been successful for some other sources of funding. Once the news soaked in, I was really quite chuffed and felt recharged to continue with my PhD.

3) Tell us a bit about your research.

I am currently joint between the Institute of Archaeology at UCL and the Institute of Zoology (part of the Zoological Society of London) looking at Late Quaternary extinctions in China. We know many large species of mammal such as Woolly Mammoth went extinct prior to about 11,000 years ago (with some exceptions). What is unique is that these extinctions happened globally at different times, on different continents and with varying levels of intensity. Some blame is with climate induced environmental change, some is with early human expansions or a mixture of both. My project aims to bring our understanding of China (and the wider Far East - eventually) up to the same level as we have for other parts of the world. China is a global biodiversity hotspot and so what better way to help inform on future climate change challenges and conservation than develop a more robust understanding of how past ecosystems reacted to global climate change and the ever expanding human race.

4) Why did you choose to study at UCL?

UCL has a very diverse research community and is a great place to meet and collaborate on global projects. It also has great connections with external research institutes hence being fortunate enough to have two professors at the top of their fields supervising my project (Professor Dorian Fuller (UCL) and Professor Sam Turvey (IoZ)). I also love that UCL has such an international community – it is really great to make friends from around the world, share insights and encourage my travelling habit.

5) What song would you like to contribute to the Joint Faculties lockdown playlist?

 Anything from Studio Ghibli.

Find out more about London Arts & Humanities Partnership (LAHP) Studentships