Research news and awards

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

National geological model

Following the National Geophysical Survey meeting held in April at the British Geological Survey we are pleased to announce that from 08 June 2016 we are calling for expressions of interest for the survey.

Forms to download:

The closing date for all expressions of interest is Monday 4 July.

If you have any queries then please don’t hesitate to email

8 June 2016

Yorkshire Valley
The British Geological Survey and the University of Birmingham have signed a formal Memorandum of Understanding to strengthen future collaboration and open new opportunities for research.

1 June 2016

BGS shop
NERC has commissioned five highly ambitious research programmes, worth £34m, that will see its research centres, including the BGS, working closely together to tackle major scientific and societal challenges. Read more about these ambitious new projects.

1 June 2016

Sampling groundwater

The BGS, with partners from the universities of Manchester, Liverpool, Bristol, Birmingham and York (National Centre for Atmospheric Science), is carrying out a science-based environmental monitoring programme in the Vale of Pickering, North Yorkshire, where a planning application to carry out hydraulic fracturing for shale gas has been submitted. The programme comprises monitoring of water quality (groundwater and surface water), seismicity, air quality, soil gas, radon in air and ground motion.

With planning permission being granted, the monitoring programme will become even more important as it will provide an independent measurement of the baseline against which any future changes can be compared. The monitoring will continue during the different stages of shale gas development at the site. It will provide the UK with a unique dataset for a shale gas operation over its whole life cycle: before, during and after hydraulic fracturing has taken place.

The BGS’s monitoring programme is independent of that being carried out by industry or regulators. It is designed to enhance the scientific understanding and knowledge of environmental baselines and identify any effects that shale gas operations might have on the environment. Information from the monitoring programme is being made publicly available and will also support peer-reviewed science.

Professor Rob Ward, BGS Director of Science and project director, said, "If hydraulic fracturing goes ahead then understanding the baseline is a critical first step in ensuring it is carried out safely. Our independent monitoring will enable this and allow more informed decisions to be made."

Read more details on the project and the results of the monitoring.

24 May 2016

Dr David McMillan (University of Strathclyde) and Dr Keith Westhead (BGS, Marine Geoscience) at the Technology & Innovation Centre, Glasgow
The British Geological Survey at the Lyell Centre in Edinburgh, and University of Strathclyde Technology and Innovation Centre (TIC), are pleased to have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in early 2016. The MoU covers a range of exciting research and technology collaborations including marine energy, offshore engineering and instrumentation. Initial discussions of opportunities for joint working are already under way. This will be followed by sessions hosted at both the TIC facility and the Lyell Centre, leading to joint projects and the development of research and industrial funding opportunities. The MoU will build on the combined research and innovation power provided by both organisations in the fields of marine energy, engineering and technology.

13 May 2016

Jurassic Cadomities
NERC have funded a Large Grant application to support an ICDP project on the Lower Jurassic in Wales/UK: Integrated understanding of the early Jurassic Earth system and Timescale (JET). The overall PI is Stephen Hesselbo (University of Exeter) with UK Co-Is from the BGS (Jim Riding, Melanie Leng, and Dan Condon), Oxford and Leeds.

29 April 2016

Professor Jane Plant CBE
It is with great sadness that we report that Jane passed away on Friday 4th March 2016. She will be remembered vividly by many of her former colleagues at BGS as well as by former research collaborators and students across the world. A geochemist of high international standing and a leader in her field, Jane made a lasting impression on those who had the privilege of working with her – her passion, drive, creativity and pursuit of meaningful impact in her research were exceptional. Reflecting on Jane's work as a BGS scientist, it is easy to see that she left a substantial legacy – a high resolution baseline geochemical dataset with many applications of economic, environmental and social benefit for the UK and methods that have been adopted and adapted around the globe as standard for undertaking geochemical surveys. Further, Jane developed strong and prolific research outputs in metallogenesis, crustal evolution and environment and health; In the latter she was the initiator of what continues to be a significant area of research for BGS. Her scientific reputation was recognised throughout her career by numerous prestigious awards, honorary professorships and memberships of learned society, governmental and parliamentary committees.

Jane's legacy extended beyond her scientific outputs – her leadership, with a firm commitment to creating and supporting opportunities for the development and progression of early-career scientists also made a lasting impact; she made exceptional career progress becoming one of the nation’s most senior female scientists in an era when leading female scientists were rare and faced many barriers to progression. As a result of her experiences she became a role model and champion to many younger scientists.

Jane retired from BGS in 2005 when she held the role of Chief Scientist but her career continued to gather momentum in other directions, commencing in 2003, with publication of 'Your life in your hands', the first of a series of books she wrote on the relationship between diet and health. After leaving BGS, Jane held the position of Emeritus Professor of Geochemistry at Imperial College until her death.


G-BASE: geochemical map of Scotland: Nickel (Ni)

Jane attended Ashby de la Zouch Grammar School for Girls and joined BGS in 1967, aged 23, with a first-class degree in Geology from the University of Liverpool and was assigned to the Atomic Energy Section in London under Stan Bowie. Her career progressed rapidly; initially developing methods in the north of Scotland for a regional geochemical Survey to identify resources of economically important metals for which she was awarded, in 1977, a PhD from the university of Leicester for her work "Regional Geochemical mapping in Great Britain with particular reference to sources of error".

By 1983 Jane had achieved Band three Individual Merit Promotion in recognition of her scientific achievement. Following a sabbatical year in 1988-89, spent in Northern Canada developing her skills and experience working as Vice-President of a junior exploration company, she moved from London to Keyworth as all BGS Geochemistry operations relocated. Subsequently, Jane held a succession of senior leadership positions in BGS culminating in 2002 with her appointment as BGS Chief Scientist.

In 1997 Jane was awarded a CBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours list in recognition of her contribution to science and industry.

14 March 2016

Dr Stefan Engels
Congratulations to Dr Stefan Engels (UoN) who has been appointed as a Visiting Research Associate at the British Geological Survey within the Centre for Environmental Geochemistry. Stefan's research aims are to better understand natural and anthropogenic processes that drive environmental change in the recent past through materials deposited in lake sediments. In his current project Stefan combines classic palaeoecological proxies and novel geochemical techniques to investigate recent human impacts (including pollution, land development, invasive species, hydrological modification and climate change) on Asian lakes and wetlands.

19 February 2016

GSNI logo
This talk was given by Alex Donald with support from Kieran Parker and our DETI client at GeoDATA in Belfast. It was voted by delegates as the best talk of GeoDATA conference in Belfast! The talk had the theme of ‘tools, technologies and techniques’ and how we, as a society, exploited resources (coal, bauxite and salt as examples) using technologies and tools of the time and how we as a survey/department are using the latest techniques to monitor and make safe the legacy that the extraction of resources have left behind.

4 December 2015

Marble Arch Caves

BGS welcomes the news from UNESCO today that the UK now has seven UNESCO Global Geoparks. The new UNESCO Global Geoparks programme was announced by UNESCO this morning, in a historic vote that created the first new programme in UNESCO since World Heritage in 1972. The seven existing UK Global Geoparks automatically become UNESCO Global Geoparks, putting them alongside UNESCO's World Heritage Sites.

Here at BGS, we have worked with all of the UNESCO Global Geoparks since they were first established in the UK in 2001. This has included helping to develop and interpret geological sites, developing and compiling publications and online resources, providing advice and guidance on site management as well as in many cases helping to write the initial application dossier.  

Dr Kirstin Lemon, based in our Belfast office, has a long association with Global Geoparks and is now a member of the UNESCO Global Geoparks Evaluation Team as well as the European Geoparks Network Coordination Committee. Kirstin is also the Chairperson of the Irish Global Geoparks Committee and Vice-Chairperson of the UK Global Geoparks Forum.

17 November 2015