Research news and awards

Latest news about our research. Project progress and collaboration. Awards and achievements.

Geospatial Commission consultation
The BGS is a partner body of the Geospatial Commission that was announced in November 2017. The Geospatial Commission is an impartial expert committee that aims to promote the more productive use of public and private sector geospatial data. This will maximise the value of 'location data', which could generate £11 billion a year.

By using location data, geospatial technology is transforming services across the private and public sectors. From emergency services, transport planning, and 5G networks to housing, smarter cities and drones, the UK’s geospatial infrastructure has the potential to revolutionise the UK's economy.

The government is urging the geospatial sector to take part and share views to set the future geospatial vision for the UK. A consultation was launched on Wednesday 15th August. Follow the link below for more information and to contribute:

16 August 2018

Helen Bonsor
I am delighted to announce that Helen Bonsor has been appointed as our new Chief Geologist for Scotland from 1 September 2018. The post of Chief Geologist for Scotland has recently been reformed to focus more heavily on developing strategic relationships with the relevant parts of the Scottish Government and its regional initiatives, such as the National Planning Framework and Energy and Climate Change Directorate, as well as improving relationships with key regional partnerships and local councils across Scotland.

Helen joined the BGS in 2008 as a hydrogeologist, and over the last 10 years her groundwater science has been focused on developing understanding of groundwater resources in Africa and Asia. In recent years, she has been focusing on improving understanding behind poor functionality of hand-pump supplies in Africa, as part of the DFID–NERC–ESRC-funded UPGro research programme (Unlocking the Potential of Groundwater for the Poor). Within Scotland, Helen has contributed to regional surveys, such as the Groundwater Baseline Scotland project, and the large, cross-cutting Clyde Urban Super Project led by the former Chief Geologist for Scotland Diarmad Campbell. Helen will embrace this key strategic role with determination, and she has committed to bringing together our science and expertise across our disciplines in Scotland in new ways, building on our key external relationships in order for our science to directly inform new regional research and spatial approaches.

In this interim period please direct all enquires to the co-director of the Lyell Centre, Tracy Shimmield. Helen officially takes up the post on 1 September 2018.

Professor John Ludden, BGS Chief Executive.

10 August 2018

Dr Andy Chadwick

Andy Chadwick has been awarded the MBE is in recognition of his services to the science of carbon capture and sequestration

The BGS has been a world leader in the science of underground carbon dioxide storage for more than twenty years and Andy's MBE reflects the high quality and high profile research that he and colleagues have developed over this period.

12 June 2018

Carbon dioxide molecules

The 13th CO2GeoNet Open Forum (of which BGS is a co-organiser) – Climate change and the science of geological CO2 storage

To help address the pressing need to reduce CO2 emissions, from 24 to 26 April, an international conference was held on the Island of San Servolo in Venice (Italy) to share the latest findings on CO2 Capture, Utilisation and Storage (CCUS).

Scenarios from the IPCC and IEA show that CO2 capture and storage (CCS) is key to achieving our climate goals in time. The technology is proven and there are 17 large-scale projects worldwide. The cost per tonne CO2 avoided is comparable with other climate mitigation technologies. It is now time to rollout the technology, as the theme of this year's Open Forum 'Growing CCS for a sustainable future' indicates, in order to realise the contribution that CCS can make to meet the Paris Agreement targets.

More information

4 May 2018

Jennifer Jamieson-Ball

We are pleased to announce that Jennifer Jamieson-Ball MCIPR has been appointed to the newly created role of director of communications and external affairs. As part of the executive team, Jennifer will develop the new communications, public relations and government engagement strategies for the BGS. Jennifer will be joining us on 9 July 2018.

Jennifer has led integrated communication teams in a number of organisations. She is currently head of global corporate communications at Heriot-Watt University, and has held senior roles at the Scottish Ambulance Service, BAA Scotland and the Royal Mail.

Jennifer is an accredited member of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations.

13 April 2018

Energy and Climate Change: An Introduction to Geological Controls, Interventions and Mitigations book cover
My new book Energy and Climate Change: An Introduction to Geological Controls, Interventions and Mitigations is all about the cycles that connect energy and climate change, and the vital importance of geoscience in understanding, mitigating and adapting to these challenges. It’s also about where I think geology, as a science, might go in the future’. So it’s partly a book that makes connections — and partly a manifesto!
I think a major role for geoscience in the future is in establishing measuring and observation of the subsurface that links with already comprehensive atmospheric and oceanic observation — in short to establish a ‘geological macroscope’. I also think that to understand how we transition to low carbon, we need to know how past energy transitions have occurred, and that involves working with a wider range of specialists than we, as geologists, have worked with before.
For survey organisations like BGS, the role is clear — in doing the geoscience that establishes the underground as a part of decarbonisation (for example in CCS and geothermal), and as part of environmental change adaptation (for example groundwater in surface water-stressed regions). The book is aimed at geoscientists, environmental scientists and students, but I hope that policy makers, energy professionals and economists will also take a look.

The new book is available from Elsevier, Amazon and shortly online (free to subscribers) through Elsevier's ScienceDirect.

28 March 2018

IGSN logo

This will be the first step towards the BGS becoming the UK issuing agent for IGSN sample numbers. The IGSN is an alphanumeric code that uniquely identifies samples from our natural environment and related sampling features. Use of the unique persistent ISGN sample identifiers will promote standard methods for locating, identifying, and citing physical samples. It will also allow samples to be unambiguously linked to other research assets such as data, peer reviewed papers and other published material.

More information about IGSN, including a full list of the current members can be found on their website.

BGS contacts: Claire Shelley, Helen Glaves or Mike Howe.

IGSN members

Members of the IGSN Board celebrate the election of its newest members during the IGSN General Assembly in New Orleans, USA. (Photo: Helen Glaves.)

26 February 2018

Core Trust Seal

The National Geoscience Data Centre (NGDC) is now certified as a trustworthy repository and has been awarded the CoreTrustSeal accreditation by the joint World Data Systems (WDS) and Data Seal of Approval (DSA) repository certification bodies.

CoreTrustSeal certifies that the NGDC is a trusted digital repository; confirming that data curated is managed and archived in such a way to preserve its long-term access and use. The NGDC is recognised as the NERC Environmental Data Centre for geoscience/sub-surface data and is the first of the NERC data centres to receive this level of accreditation.

The award validates the functions, procedures and processes of the NGDC, in particular the data deposit portal for collating new data and a workflow which provides donators with a digital object identifier (DOI) on request. As a trusted Data Centre, the NGDC increases the opportunities to access national and international funding as well as enhancing our reputation as a global geoscience hub.

This comes in the same week that the BGS became a member of the International Geo Sample Number (ISGN) and a UK issuing agent. These awards and memberships demonstrate the BGS as continuing as a leader and trusted organisation in the custodianship of geoscientific data which underpins the knowledge of the ground beneath our feet.


The National Geoscience Data Centre (NGDC) collects and preserves geoscientific data and information, making them available to a wide range of users and communities. NGDC is recognised as the NERC Environmental Data Centre for geoscience data.


Implementation of the CoreTrustSeal

Core certified repositories

13 February 2018

Landslide India

The UK Space Agency’s International Partnership Programme uses UK space expertise to deliver innovative solutions to real world problems across the globe. This helps some of the world’s poorest countries, while building effective partnerships that can lead to growth opportunities for British companies.

The successful projects, worth £38 million in total, are led by a diverse range or organisations from the UK’s growing space sector and include the BGS. The UK Space Agency and industry are working together to grow the UK’s share of the global space market to 10 per cent by 2030.

The BGS will lead a project called Modelling exposure through Earth observation routines (METEOR): EO-based exposure, Nepal and Tanzania. The grant is worth £2.8 million.

Target countries are Nepal and Tanzania (test countries), rolling out to all 48 least-developed ODA countries.

At present, there is a poor understanding of population exposure in developing countries, which causes major challenges when making disaster risk management decisions. METEOR takes a step-change in the application of Earth observation exposure data by developing and delivering more accurate levels of population exposure to natural hazards. Providing new ,consistent data to governments, town planners and insurance providers will promote welfare and economic development in these countries and better enable them to respond to the hazards when they do occur.

8 February 2018

Lyell Centre logo
More than 70 research leaders from Heriot-Watt University and the British Geological Survey have taken part in a 'Research Connect' event as part of the research and innovation activities of the Lyell Centre.

6 February 2018