Prof Heather Viles © Mim Saxl.

Professor Heather Viles has been awarded the Royal Geographical Society's prestigious Founder's Medal for her excellence in establishing the field of biogeomorphology.

Baroness Lynda Chalker, President of the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG), said: "Professor Viles has been instrumental in establishing the field of biogeomorphology and the development of nature-based solutions for heritage conservation. Her quality research has made significant contributions on topics from extreme landscape evolution to building stone conservation, yet her commitment to the advancement of geographical science is also demonstrated by her leadership. Her championing and support of the discipline among students, academic peers, and the wider public are why Heather is a worthy recipient of the Society’s highest recognition."

Professor Viles, Professor of Biogeomorphology and Heritage Conservation and former Head of the School, said: "I am delighted and amazed to receive this award and thank everyone who has helped, and continues to help me, in my geographical journey."

The Royal Medal is approved by the Queen and is one of the highest honours of its kind in the world. The award has been presented since the 1830s, and previous recipients include Sir David Attenborough, Professor Andrew Goudie and Professor Diana Liverman. They are part of a series of awards that recognise extraordinary achievement in geographical research, fieldwork, teaching, policy, and public engagement.

The medals and awards will be presented at a ceremony at the Society in London later in the year once social distancing restrictions have been lifted.