New £17m research centre for earth and marine science and technology

Date:
BGS
Photo: British Geological Survey©NERC

The British Geological Survey (BGS) and Heriot-Watt University are joining forces to create a new centre for earth and marine science and technology.

Based at Heriot-Watt's Edinburgh Campus, the Sir Charles Lyell Centre will be one of Europe's leading centres for research and expertise in the earth and marine sciences.

A world-leading research cluster

Jointly funded by UK and Scottish funders, Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), Scottish Funding Council (SFC) and Heriot-Watt, The Sir Charles Lyell Centre will promote innovative research at the core of geoscience, marine ecology, computing, mathematics and engineering.

The Lyell Centre will create a world-leading research cluster bringing science and technology together to tackle major issues of natural resource and energy supply in a responsible and sustainable way.

The new fusion of pure and applied expertise between Heriot-Watt and BGS allows us to use innovative methods to create real-world solutions in areas including global change and ecosystems; seafloor-mapping using advanced robotic vehicles; earthquake and volcanic risk and monitoring; and energy security.

The new Centre will collaborate and leverage existing NERC investments and innovations at the National Oceanography Centre.

The Centre represents a tremendous opportunity, unifying our respective strengths in earth and marine sciences, creating an innovation hub in subsurface geosciences and generating greatly enhanced interaction between academic groups
Professor Steve Chapman, Principal of Heriot-Watt University

New £17m purpose-built complex

BGS is relocating its Edinburgh office to the £17m, purpose-built complex which is scheduled to open by 2015. Incubator space for spin‐out and spin‐in companies looking to work with Heriot‐Watt and BGS staff will sit alongside the Centre’s office, research and communal space.

Professor John Ludden, Executive Director of the British Geological Survey, said, "I view the creation of the new Centre as an extraordinary opportunity to broaden our science base by partnering in key areas with Heriot-Watt University, in particular in geology and geophysics related to energy, urban renewal and the sea-floor.”

Professor Steve Chapman, Principal of Heriot-Watt University, said the venture was based on a strong scientific synergy. “The Centre represents a tremendous opportunity, unifying our respective strengths in earth and marine sciences, creating an innovation hub in subsurface geosciences and generating greatly enhanced interaction between academic groups.”

Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning, Michael Russell, said, “The creation of a European centre of excellence for earth and marine technology at Heriot-Watt University is great news for both industry and Scotland as a whole as it enhances our already strong reputation for world-leading scientific research and innovation. I’m proud that the Scottish Government has invested in this centre via the Funding Council, allowing the delivery of a unique postgraduate student experience based on cutting-edge collaboration between industry and universities. This will help to ensure better educated, more skilled and more successful individuals and help increase sustainable economic growth.”

David Willetts, Minister for Universities and Science, said, “The creation of the Sir Charles Lyell Centre assembles world-leading expertise from the British Geological Survey and Heriot-Watt University in a common enterprise bringing together investment and skills from the UK Research Council and University sectors to support future UK innovation and growth.”

Professor Duncan Wingham, Chief Executive of NERC, said, “NERC Council has been extremely impressed by the enthusiasm and commitment of both British Geological Survey and Heriot-Watt University to a shared vision for a national centre of innovation. We are very happy to have reached agreement with Heriot-Watt and the Scottish Funding Council to realise this vision.”