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Society announces new scientific theme on the Energy and Materials Transition

20 November 2020

The Geological Society is pleased to announce that the theme of the Energy and Materials Transition will be a new focus for its science programme. The Society has appointed Nicholas Gardiner to lead the Society’s programme of work in this area, and Lydia Rycroft to support our outreach and engagement work.

This theme is one of several to be announced in coming months. Alex Whittaker, the Society’s Secretary for Science, says: “These scientific themes are a great opportunity for the Society to engage with major global challenges, to advance the contribution of geosciences, and to work collaboratively towards creative and innovative solutions that inspire and engage current and future geoscientists”.

With the launch of the UK’s plan for a Green Industrial Revolution, the importance of Earth scientists in securing a low carbon future has never been clearer. The launch of the Energy and Materials Transition theme will see the Society develop a programme of activities that will advance the contribution of geosciences, create opportunities for knowledge exchange between sectors, and help to shape policy.

Mike Daly, President of the Society, says “The Energy and Materials Transition is a defining challenge of the 21st century. From the security of supply of critical metals to deliver the transition, to the storage of carbon dioxide and radioactive waste underground, geoscientists have a crucial role to play.”

Nicholas is a lecturer in Applied Earth Resources at the University of St Andrews and serves as the director of their MSc programme in Strategic Earth Resources. As theme leader, he will oversee the delivery of conferences, webinars, and other events aimed at bringing together experts from academia and industry to share ideas and develop policy recommendations. He says, "The Energy and Materials Transition is essential for securing a sustainable future for the UK and beyond, and I am looking forwards to working with the Society to help promote the role of geologists and geoscience in this critical area of science and policy”.

Lydia is a CO2 storage geoscientist at TNO and is based in the Netherlands. In her role, she will be engaging with students in secondary schools and at university, to help them discover and aspire to the career and study opportunities associated with our switch to low-carbon energy. She says, “I’m especially looking forward to working with the society to communicate the role geoscience is playing in developing a sustainable future. My passion for climate change drew me towards studying geology and I hope to inspire the next generation of earth scientists on the role they can play in the energy transition!”

In addition to this theme and others to be announced, the Society’s themed year programme will continue with the Year of Space in 2021 and culminate with the Year of Sustainability in 2022.