Testimonial of SAGES sponsored study towards a Scottish Graduate
Academy of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths
Dr. Scott J. McGrane
SAGES Sponsored PhD
University of Aberdeen / University of Edinburgh
September 2009 – March 2013
Professors. Doerthe Tetzlaff and Chris Soulsby (University of Aberdeen) and Dr. Richard Essery
The threat posed by both climate and land use change threatens to alter the way freshwater
catchments respond to hydroclimatic drivers. My research focused on the hydrological dynamics of
catchments situated in lowland environments where the presence of both agriculture and urban
landscapes impact on catchment behaviour and sought to assess how such dynamics have changed
over time. We applied environmental tracers and models to gain insights into the spatial and
temporal dynamics occurring at the catchment scale and used this to both model and predict the
potential pathways for sediment, nutrients and contaminants.
During the course of my PhD, I benefited greatly from the SAGES network which provided training,
guidance and networking over and above the PhD on its own. Through SAGES, I was fortunate to
attend courses which aided me as a young researcher including a statistics course run by Marion
Scott at Glasgow and a brief course introducing programming for PhD students with no prior
background. I was fortunate to be involved in the organisation of the latter course, having identified
the need amongst the other PhD students. SAGES presented all PhD students with the opportunity
to request training courses or funding to attend courses which would greatly aid in the development
of a skill set required for a young researcher. In addition to this, the annual SAGES Graduate Retreat
hosted at The Burn in Edzell presented a unique opportunity for all SAGES theme PhD students and
leaders to come together, discuss their research and wider issues in the sphere of geoscience and
gain perspective on how these themes interlink at the science, policy and impact levels. This has
created many lasting working and personal friendships for me which will lead to fruitful
collaborations and networking in later stages of my career. Since successfully defending my Viva
(20th March, 2013) and submitting my corrections, I have been working as a Research Fellow at the
University of Surrey under the supervision of Professor Soon-Thiam Khu as part of the NERC
Changing Water Cycle programme which aims to assess how changing climate and land use impacts
on the freshwater cycle. Particularly, we are interested in the impact of rapid urbanization on
hydrological dynamics and pathways for sediment, contaminants and nutrients.
McGrane S.J., Tetzlaff D. and Soulsby C. (2012), Influence of lowland aquifers and anthropogenic
impacts on the isotope hydrology of contrasting mesoscale catchments, Hydrological Processes, DOI:
McGrane S.J., Tetzlaff D., Essery R. and Soulsby C. (2013), Do catchment characteristics explain
differences in coherence and trends in hydroclimatic behaviour in an upland region, Hydrology
Research, In Press
*The SAGES Graduate School is an international graduate school. Although SAGES prize studentships were awarded on a
highly competitive, globally accessible basis, all PhD graduates currently working in SAGES areas who are registered with a
Scottish University are able to become affiliate members of the Graduate School and can participate in SAGES activities.
The same principle will be adopted for the Scottish Graduate Academy of Science, Technology, Engineering & Maths.