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The University of Southampton
Geography and Environmental Science

Royal Geographical Society recognises Southampton Academics for their outstanding contributions to geography

Published: 27 May 2020
RGS Award winners
RGS Award winners Andy Tatem and Chris Hill

The Royal Geographical Society (RGS) has honoured two distinguished academics from the University of Southampton – Professor Andy Tatem and Chris Hill – for their outstanding contributions to geography.

Professor Tatem receives the RGS Back Award, first awarded in 1882, for research contributing to policy. The award recognises his leadership in the development of geospatial and demographic data to assist the work of public policy around the globe.

Professor Tatem is Professor of Spatial Demography and Epidemiology in Geography and Environmental Science at Southampton, and the Director of WorldPop, leading a group of more than 30 researchers and data scientists. His research has led to pioneering approaches to the use and integration of satellite, survey, cell phone and census data to map the distributions of vulnerable populations for disease, disaster and development applications.

Professor Tatem’s many collaborations involve national governments, UN agencies and data providers. He also leads multiple research and operational projects funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Wellcome Trust, World Bank, Clinton Health Access Initiative and others.

"I'm thrilled to receive this award and would like to share it with the rest of the WorldPop team, both past and present, who have helped to undertake valuable work over the past decade in mapping population distributions, demographics and dynamics around the globe," said Professor Tatem. 

Chris Hill receives the RGS Cuthbert Peek Award which recognises those who advance geographical knowledge through the application of contemporary methods, including Earth observation and mapping. He was specifically singled out by the RGS for providing longstanding geospatial expertise to the professional and student communities to understand human impact on the environment.

Chris leads GeoData, a University of Southampton-based research and enterprise group within Geography and Environmental Science, which specialises in environmental research, data management, analysis and processing.

Much of his activity is applied to landscape scale processes and in low and middle income countries which has led to International collaborations with many international bodies (e.g. World Bank, UN organisations) national Governments and NGOs as well as non-departmental and departmental bodies in the UK.

"I am greatly honoured to have received the award from the Royal Geographical Society and it is very gratifying to be recognised in this way for doing a job I enjoy,” said Hill. “I see this as much an acknowledgement of the excellent contribution and support from my colleagues in GeoData over the years and to the University's commitment to enterprise within the environmental sector.”

Rachel Mills, the University’s Dean of Environmental and Life Sciences said: “It is extraordinary to have not one, but two of our Geography staff recognised in this way by the Royal Geographical Society. Andy Tatem is the newest recipient of a globally-recognised ward whose previous recipients include Professors Ken Gregory and Dave Martin of Southampton. Chris Hill also joins a long line of hugely significant contributors to the discipline that include former Southampton colleague Professor Sir Paul Curran. We will celebrate this double award to our outstanding School of Geography and Environmental Science staff in a suitable way later in the year.”


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