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Global research institute

The Lyell Centre

The Lyell Centre is an inspired fusion of Earth and marine geosciences and technology, created in partnership with the British Geological Survey. 

Lyell Centre

for Earth and Marine Sciences

One of Europe's leading centres in Earth, marine and ecosystem sciences, the Lyell Centre enhances Scotland's research base and supports its innovation strategy through socially and industrially relevant research.

Fundamental and applied research combines with innovative technology to find solutions to the global challenges facing our planet from the deep sub-surface of the earth to the polar regions.

This exciting strategic collaboration develops and applies evidence-based solutions related to the Earth's surface, sub-surface, oceans and atmosphere. Combining research and innovation sparks transformative ideas beyond traditional boundaries.

Lyell Centre

How do we do this?

Funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), Scottish Funding Council and Heriot-Watt, the Lyell Centre builds on interdisciplinary expertise to encourage an outstanding science culture. Advanced facilities include biogeochemistry, geoenergy, microbiology and marine ecology laboratories, deep sea research and marine operations workshops.

Research themes, directed by global science challenges, include climate, water, life in surface and subsurface environments; energy from the Earth; risk, hazards and uncertainties. These challenges are adapted as the societal, economic and research landscape evolves and new challenges arise.

Read the latest issue of the Lyell Centre newsletter.

Research projects

Read more about projects undertaken by Heriot-Watt and the British Geological Survey across Earth, marine and ecosystem sciences.

The Lyell Centre

Research and innovation across marine, Earth and ecosystem sciences, combine to spark novel ideas and find solutions to global challenges.

Beyond Growth: Novel concepts for a sustainable future

In this video, Assistant Professor of Sustainable and Ethical Seafood, Dr Ingrid Kelling explains the concept of a wellbeing economy and how it impacts fisheries in Scotland and across the world.

Coastal Futures

Coastal regions are under increasing stress from climate driven changes and land-use pressures linked to the high density of human population. Scientists at the Lyell Centre believe that future coastal system research must address this complex blend.

Prehistoric scientific discoveries: Early humans made fire

Researchers at Heriot-Watt have discovered that early humans in Europe were making and controlling fire at least 50,000 years earlier than previously thought. Using forensic chemical methods to identify molecules of incomplete burning, the research team at Heriot-Watt’s School of Energy, Geoscience, Infrastructure and Society detected fire at Valdocarros II, an archaeological site near Madrid in Spain.

Empowering local communities to shape sustainable futures

Dr Ryan Pereira discusses how the Lyell Centre works with communities to co-create multidisciplinary solutions to global environmental challenges, working with communities across the world, including coastal regions in South-East Asia and rainforests in South America, to advance knowledge, drive positive change, and minimise damage caused by climate change and other environmental factors.

Future Makers

Latest news

Read about our headline-making research and innovation.

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Research engagement