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Two-thirds of the world is covered by water. One-third of the global population lives in the coastal zone. Ninety percent of telecommunications travel via cables beneath the sea. From aggregates to hydrocarbons, from metals to rare earth elements, and from renewable energy to waste disposal, we are looking progressively towards the seafloor and its subsurface to furnish our resource needs, to permit global communication, and to decode climate, ocean and earth changes from the geological past.

We are seeking to create a new and unique research theme at the Lyell Centre to tackle a range of problems in fundamental and applied geoscience. Key focus areas include seafloor and shallow sediment geohazards, which are particularly important to characterise before placing infrastructure such as oil-rigs and wind turbines.

Data collection from soft sediments can also help to define recent paleooceanographic changes and provide modern analogues, while biostratigraphic data can provide information, which allows reconstruction of past oceanic environments. Coastal erosion and continental shelf morphologies can not only provide important clues to tectonic events and also help determine any potential for shelfal instability.

Marine resources and renewables are also an important area of research as population increase puts pressure on natural resources. The Lyell Centre would allow synergies with areas of life sciences, the BGS’s Quaternary Studies research group and the International Ocean Drilling Project (IODP), the UK contribution to which is run out of the BGS offices.

There is also potential for close collaboration with other marine and ocean centres in Scotland and internationally.