Richard Bailey

BSc Leic, MA Oxf, MSc PhD RHUL
Fellow and Tutor in Geography
Associate Professor in Geochronology


In College I tutor all aspects of the Physical Geography component of the undergraduate Geography course. In the School of Geography and the Environment I convene and teach 1st year statistics, 2nd year Earth System Dynamics and a final year option course on complex systems, and provide lectures to the Geographical Techniques 2nd year course and the Biodiversity Conservation and Management MSc.

About me

I moved to Oxford in 1998 as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow, from Royal Holloway (University of London). Between 1998 and 2005 I held various positions including a NERC Postdoctoral Research Fellowship, Postdoctoral Fellowship at St John's College, and Stipendiary Lecturership at Catz. After an 18 month period as a Lecturer at Royal Holloway, I returned to Oxford to take up my present position in 2007.


I research the dynamics of natural environmental systems over a range of timescales, with a focus predominantly, although not exclusively, on Africa. I am Director of the Oxford Luminescence Dating Laboratory, where we study basic physical process of luminescence and apply optical dating methods in studying long term environmental change, earth surface processes and also some aspects of human evolution.  I have a strong interest in Complex Systems research, and this influences my groups' current efforts in developing quantitative models of landscape systems, for the purpose of assessing landscape/ecological resilience in sub-Saharan Africa .

Graduate supervision

I have formally supervised 10 DPhil students (six completed, four underway), on a variety of topics related to both basic/applied luminescence research and landscape dynamics. Current DPhil projects are focused on long-term records and drivers of environmental change in Southern Africa, modelling aeolian sediment dynamics and associated effects on plant mortality, parametrizing spatially-resolved moisture and nutrient dynamics in dryland ecosystems, and the development/assessment of 'safe and just operating limits' for South Africa.