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Scientific Themes

Energy Transition

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The shift to a low/neutral carbon economy, essential to tackle climate change, is now a pressing international effort. The Earth sciences play a pivotal role in the sourcing of essential raw materials, the development of circular economies, in subsurface storage and capture solutions, and in geothermal energy production. Geoscientists are therefore uniquely placed to support policy makers, stakeholders and industry in the energy transition.

The Geological Society’s Energy Transition theme champions this goal, to help drive future research, and support communication between academia, business, government, and public communities, and aim to inspire a new generation of geoscientists. The theme is led by Nick Gardiner, supported by outreach leader Lydia Rycroft. 

Geohazards, Geoengineering and Georesilience 

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As the human population expands, so too does the range of interactions that humans have with their environment. Some of these may be pose a hazard to human safety and wellbeing. In other interactions, humans may pose a risk to ecosystems and the environment. Skills, research, and knowledge in the Earth sciences are vital to minimizing the risk of harm. The Geological Society is therefore launching a multi-year thematic science programme around hazards, risk and resilience. Anna Hicks has been appointed theme leader, with Aggie Georgiopoulou and Irene Manzella serving as deputy leaders.  

Climate and Ecology

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Climate change is affecting all regions of the Earth, with impacts on humans and ecosystems. The Earth sciences are vital to understanding the mechanisms and impacts of climate change by studying the geological record of Earth's past climate history. Earth scientists also use the fossil record to understand the ecological impacts of these climate and environmental changes, such as warming, hydrological changes, and ocean acidification. The theme is led by Dan Lunt.

Planetary Science

Following on from the Society's 2021 Year of Space, this theme will explore the many ways that geological skills and techniques are being used to explore our solar system and beyond.

Digital Geoscience

Big data and advanced computing techniques are becoming increasingly important to research and practice in the geosciences. This theme will seek to explore the importance of these techniques and information derived from their application to our understanding of the planet and the many challenges affecting people and the environment. The theme is led by a multi-disciplinary team from Atkins, including Richard O’Brien, Craig Parry, Petra Lincoln, Shona Brown, Vicky Corcoran and James Fleming