PAST Grantee Spotlight: Runè van der Merwe
I am truly grateful for the financial support the Palaeontological Scientific Trust (PAST) awarded to me. During a period of great difficulty and uncertainty caused by the global pandemic, I could rest assured that my living expenses were covered, allowing me to keep my focus on my studies and my MSc research in the evolution of mammalian herbivore niches. For me it was more than a financial contribution; adding the successful grant to my CV gave me added confidence to launch my academic career and encouraged further academic engagement. For one, I added an entire chapter to my MSc thesis that included an analysis of data from the fossil record with which I directly tested some of the hypotheses and predictions emanating from my work on contemporary mammalian herbivores. As a direct result of the contribution from PAST, I am now ideally placed – professionally and personally – to continue my doctoral studies and am looking forward to a successful career in evolutionary ecology research.
Runè van der Merwe