University of Otago geography graduate David Gawith is
''over the moon'' to have gained a Woolf Fisher Scholarship to
support PhD studies at Cambridge University, next year.
The four-year scholarship, worth about $100,000 a year, will
enable Mr Gawith (24) to undertake research into the impact
that changes in water availability caused by climate change
will have on people's livelihoods.
''It's really exciting. It allows me to focus on the
research, as opposed to trying to focus on the bank
balance,'' he said.
Without the scholarship, he could not have afforded to study
at the English university. The likely human impact of changed
water availability was one of the most important topics
involving climate change.
''That's why I chose to look at it. Hopefully, there's
positive work to be done.''
Wellington-born Mr Gawith has studied at Otago since 2008,
gaining a BSc (hons) in geography and also graduating with an
MA in August. His Cambridge studies, which will begin next
October, will build on his earlier work, his honours
dissertation having focused on climate change and
hydrological modelling in Central Otago.
His master's thesis examined the social and economic
vulnerability of Nepalese Himalayan communities to changes in
water availability under climate change.
He is at present working for Landcare Research in Auckland,
on a cost-benefit analysis of various climate change
adaptation measures in Fiji.
Established in 2003, and awarded to up to three New Zealand
graduate students each year, Woolf Fisher Scholarships
recognise ''outstanding academic ability'' as well as other
qualities, including integrity and leadership.
The two other 2014 Woolf Fisher recipients were Alex Kendall
and Jane Leung, both of Auckland University.