First inter-disciplinary Geoscience team recruited for New Lyell Centre



Professor Tom Wagner and Team

The Lyell Centre for earth and marine science and technology at Heriot-Watt University has announced its first major recruitment, a Professor of Earth System Sciences who brings with him his own multi-disciplinary team.

The Lyell Centre will serve as the new Scottish headquarters for the British Geological Survey (BGS), and bring together over two hundred BGS and Heriot-Watt scientists to undertake cutting-edge research and innovation at the interface of geosciences, life sciences, computing, mathematics and engineering. Its aim is to find pragmatic solutions and provide evidence-based informed and reliable opinions in areas where inputs have sometimes become polarised.

Professor Thomas Wagner has been appointed from his previous position as Professor of Earth System Sciences at Newcastle University. He had previously held positions at the GEOMAR Research Centre in Kiel, Bremen University, the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ) and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) in the USA.

Professor Wagner brings with him a multi-disciplinary discipline team of two Lyell Centre fellows, Dr Julia de Rezende as geomicrobiologist and Dr Ryan Pereira as environmental and organic geochemist. Dr Juliane Bischoff joins as Geosciences Laboratory Manager.

Professor Wagner and his team specialise in carbon and nutrients as primary drivers of energy resources, ecosystems, and climate change. With this broad scope, the team and their research align closely with the underlying ethos of both Heriot-Watt and the new Lyell Centre.

“With a focus on earth surface processes connecting land sources with ocean sinks, my group targets the source, fate, interactions and burial of organic carbon and nutrients in the environment at different modes of the global climate-ocean system.

“The cross-disciplinary nature of our research opens a wide range of opportunities in Earth System, Marine and Energy Sciences, advancing process understanding of how carbon and nutrients, biogeochemical cycles, and micro-biological processes interact and drive climate, today and in the past, enabling storage of energy in the sedimentary record.”

Professor Garry Pender, Head of the School of Energy, Geoscience, Infrastructure and Society, said, “We are delighted to welcome Professor Wagner and his team, joining specialist colleagues from both Heriot-Watt and the British Geological Survey. The research direction of Professor Wagner's group has direct relevance to hydrocarbon source rock formation, both conventional and unconventional, and multiple aspects of ecosystem and environmental sciences. This new Geoscience team will catalyse synergies with established research strengths at Heriot-Watt and attract international and national awareness and interest in the New Lyell Centre at the University.

“The range of specialisms which Professor Wagner and his colleagues bring mirror the University's interdisciplinary ethos and will complement the aims and makeup of the Lyell Centre.”