Overview of research quality in History & Philosophy of Geography

A message from Felix Driver:

As HPGRG members may know, the ESRC is currently undertaking a review of UK human geography in partnership with the AHRC and the RGS-IBG, the latest in a series of subject-based reviews. This is intended to ‘highlight the standing and contribution of UK human geography against international benchmarks’, and to ‘identify ways of enhancing performance and capacity, and promoting future research agendas’. This review is being undertaken by an international panel of eight academics, chaired by Professor David Ley from UBC, and is independent of the REF exercise.

ESRC are commissioning a number of sub-disciplinary overviews which will inform the work of the panel, including a review of research in history and philosophy of geography which I have been asked to undertake. Subject to a tight schedule, I am encouraged to liaise with senior academics and appropriate study groups in order to gauge views on a number of key issues, and to produce a brief report by 27 February.

This is potentially an important exercise, and it is obviously vital that UK history & philosophy of geography is fully represented in the review. I would therefore value any comments or observations from HPGRG members on the following questions posed by ESRC:

1. How has research in UK history & philosophy of geography developed over the last 10 years, and what are its major strengths and weaknesses?

2. What are the key academic outputs in history & philosophy of geography (including books and other outputs) which have ‘made important contributions to scholarship and/or have helped to set or move intellectual agendas?’

3. Are there good examples of key non-academic impacts of research in history & philosophy of geography (including involvement with policy and practice users), including ‘changes in policy, practice, debate and thinking arising from research’. Indicative evidence on the latter would be useful.

I would be very grateful if you could send comments under these headings to f.driver (at) rhul (dot) ac (dot) uk by Friday 3 February at the latest.

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