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University Geoscience UK

The body formerly known as the Committee of Heads of University Geoscience Departments (CHUGD) has a new name, write Tim Minshull* and David Manning§

The Geological Society and the Committee of Heads of University Geosciences Departments (CHUGD) have increasingly worked together to represent the university geoscience community to government and others regarding higher education and research matters, to share information and to promote the study of geoscience at universities.  During 2014, a GSL-CHUGD working group developed proposals for a new model of closer cooperative working, building on recent progress.

New name

From July 2015, CHUGD will work under the new name of ‘University Geoscience UK’.  A new Joint Higher Education Committee has been established by our two organisations, to address the needs and promote the interests of geoscience students, researchers and teachers in UK universities.  The Society will provide administrative support and will lead delivery of a shared programme of activities and communications.  University Geoscience UK will continue as an independent body and a small executive committee (with secretariat provided by GSL) will oversee its activities and its input to the new joint committee.

A full meeting of University Geoscience UK will be held annually, starting this November.  This will provide an opportunity for representatives from all UK geoscience departments to discuss in depth a small number of strategic matters.  The 2015 discussion meeting is planned to focus on field teaching.  The executive committee will remain in contact with University Geoscience UK members throughout the year – the engagement of this wider group is essential if we are to represent our community effectively to government and others, and provide valuable support to students and academics.

The new closer working relationship between our two organisations and the changes to University Geoscience UK’s methods of working have been approved unanimously by Council and by University Geoscience UK’s membership.   We are excited about the opportunities that this relationship will afford our two organisations – and, more importantly, the university geoscience community – building on recent successes. 

We believe it will strengthen input to joint responses to government consultations and Parliamentary inquiries by University Geoscience UK, on behalf of the community it serves.  It will also provide a simple mechanism for the Society to better access the expertise of University Geoscience UK, as well as to support its services and activities.  In this way, we believe that our new model of working will allow us to maximise the impact of our two organisations’ respective expertise, capabilities and capacities.

Work plan

The new joint committee is now developing an initial work plan.  Early priorities are to gather reliable information on the full costs of field teaching to support communication with government and funding bodies; to improve provision of career and further study information to those at school, university and beyond; and, working with the American Geosciences Institute, to survey those completing geoscience degrees to find out more about the paths they have taken and their future plans. 

We welcome comments and suggestions from University Geoscience UK members and Geological Society Fellows regarding future plans and activities.  Please contact [email protected]

*Chair, University Geoscience UK; § President, The Geological Society.