No photo of Philip Hughes

Philip Hughes

Prof, Head of Department, Geography

Accepting PhD Students

Personal profile


Postgraduate Opportunities

Please e-mail me for information on other potential PhD topics.

Further information

Administrative experience

At the University of Manchester

2022-present  Head of Department, Department of Geography

2016-2022  Quaternary Environments & Geoarchaeology Research Group Mentor, One of the 5 research groups in Geography at the University of Manchester

2013-2022  Director of Laboratories, School of Environment, Education and Development 

2013-2018  Geography Discipline Postgraduate Research Co-ordinator

2009-2013  Director, MSc in Environmental Monitoring, Modelling and Reconstruction

2007-2009  Geography Undergraduate Admissions Officer


Wider professional experience

Referee positions

Peer Reviewer for the following international funding bodies:

UK Natural Environment Research Council Peer Review College (2011- present). Regular Reviewer

Swiss National Science Foundation

Austrian Science Fund (FWF)

Research Foundation - Flanders (Fonds Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek - Vlaanderen, FWO)

French National Research Agency. Regular Reviewer

Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) – German Research Foundation. Regular Reviewer

The Romanian National Authority for Scientific Research and Innovation through the National Research Council and its Executive Agency for Higher Education, Research, Development and Innovation.

National Science Center, Poland (Narodowe Centrum Nauki - NCN). Regular Reviewer                   

U.S.-Israel Binational Science Foundation.

Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research, Veni grant in the Innovational Research Incentives Scheme.

Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Grant Agency.


Editorial positions:

2018-2020  Editorial Board, Geology

July 2017-present  Associate Editor. Quaternary.

Jan 2014-present  Editor, Georeview.

Nov 2011-present  Subject Editor for Geomorphology and Quaternary Science, Journal of the Geological Society.

May 2010-2021  Editor. Geomorphologia Slovaca et Bohemica. Journal of the Association of Slovak Geomorphologists and Czech Association of Geomorphologists


Peer reviewer for the following journals and books:


Acta Universitatis Carolinae Geographica; Aeolian Research; Area; Austrian Journal of Earth Sciences; Central European Journal of Geosciences; Earth Surface Processes and Landforms; Environmental Earth Sciences; Geografia Fisica e Dinamica Quaternaria; Geografiska Annaler; Geoheritage; Geology; Geologica Croatica; Geological Society of America – Bulletin; Geological Society of America – Today; Geomorphology; The Holocene; Journal of Archaeological Science; Journal of Asian Earth Sciences; Journal of Earth System Science; Journal of Maps; Journal of Quaternary Science; Journal of Sedimentary Research; Journal of the Geological Society, London; Land Degradation and Development; Quaternary International; Quaternary Newsletter; Quaternary Science Reviews; Quaternary Research; Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology; Proceedings of the Geologists’ Association; Proceedings of the Yorkshire Geological Society; Progress in Physical Geography; Pure and Applied Geophysics; Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology; The Geographical Journal; Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers; Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh; Paleoceanography and Paleoclimatology; Geosciences; Arabian Journal of Geosciences; Geosciences; Quaternary; Hydrology; Water; Earth System Dynamics; Nature Communications; Ecological Indicators; Foundations; Land; Atmosphere; Boreas

Books: CRC Press; Taylor and Francis; Geological Society, London; Oxford University Press, Regional Environments Series; Springer; Wiley; Elsevier

Reviewing Awards:

September 2015, Biography listed in Quaternary Science Reviews “Outstanding Reviewers 2015” for “certain individuals have made outstanding contributions as reviewers”:



Philip Hughes   Quaternary Glaciations - Extent and Chronology, a book by Philip Hughes

BSc (Exeter), M.Phil., PhD (Cambridge)


  • 2001-2004: PhD Geography, University of Cambridge. 'Quaternary glaciation in the Pindus Mountains, Northwest Greece'. Supervisors: Dr. P.L. Gibbard (Cambridge) and Dr. J.C. Woodward (Manchester)
  • 1999-2000: M.Phil Quaternary Science, University of Cambridge (Distinction)
  • 1996-1999: BSc (Hons) Geography, University of Exeter (First). William Ravenhill prize for excellence in Geography.


  • 2018- : Professor of Physical Geography, The University of Manchester
  • 2015-2018 : Reader in Physical Geography. The University of Manchester
  • 2012-2015 : Senior Lecturer in Physical Geography. The University of Manchester 
  • 2006-2012 : Lecturer in Physical Geography. The University of Manchester
  • 2004-2006: Postdoctoral Research Fellow. Geography, School of Env' and Development, The University of Manchester
  • 2000-2001: Research and Teaching Technician. Dept of Geography, University of Cambridge.

Research interests

  • Glacial history of the Mediterranean mountains
  • Glacial history of the Atlas Mountains, North Africa
  • Pleistocene glacial history of Montenegro, Croatia and Greece
  • Modern glaciers and climate change in the Balkans
  • Glacial and periglacial landforms in Wales and neighbouring areas
  • Global Quaternary glaciations 

My research has sought to describe and explain the spatio-temporal dynamics and wider palaeoclimatic significance of glaciers in the Mediterranean mountains. Building on my PhD research (2001-04), I published a series of papers on the extent, timing and palaeoclimatic significance of Pleistocene glaciations in Greece.

In 2005 I was awarded the prestigious Peter Fleming Award by the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) to support my glacial research in Montenegro and neighbouring countries. This research has revealed evidence for previously undocumented modern glaciers and also very extensive and low-altitude Pleistocene glaciations. I have published several of my most important papers on the recent and past glaciers of this region, including one on the Pleistocene glaciations of the coastal mountains of the Adriatic (see Quaternary Science Reviews, 2010).

I have broadened my research focus to include the western Mediterranean mountains. Research here was supported by a 2008 Thesiger-Oman International Fellowship, again from the RGS (with IBG), to investigate the glacial history of the High Atlas. This ongoing research project is also supported by NERC awards (2009 & 2010) for cosmogenic isotope analyses (10Be and 36Cl) to provide exposure ages for the glacial landforms. This project will provide new insights into palaeoclimates at a strategically important interface between the North Atlantic Ocean, the Mediterranean Sea and the Sahara Desert.

My ongoing and future research will expand in scope from the North African High Atlas into the Anti Atlas and the Middle Atlas. I also aim to expand my Balkan research into southernmost Greece and Dalmatia, Croatia. Research in both of these regions will provide important transects for glacier-climate reconstructions and offer new insights into moisture supply and atmospheric circulatory patterns during Pleistocene cold stages. Furthermore, comparison between these transects in the western and eastern Mediterranean will provide new data to improve our understanding of the zonal and meridional structure of atmospheric circulation during the Pleistocene. The mountains of North Africa and the Balkans are in close proximity to routes of Palaeolithic human migration from Africa and the Near East to Europe, and strategically located for understanding environmental changes during Pleistocene cold stages.

In addition to glacial research in the Mediterranean region I am interested in the Quaternary glacial history of the British Isles especially Wales and neighbouring areas, and have also made contributions to theoretical advances in glacier-climate reconstruction and geomorphology and stratigraphy in Quaternary Science.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 14 - Life Below Water
  • SDG 15 - Life on Land


Dive into the research topics where Philip Hughes is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.
  • 1 Similar Profiles

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

Recent external collaboration on country/territory level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots or