Research news and awards

Latest news about our research. Project progress and collaboration. Awards and achievements.

IGSN logo

This will be the first step towards the BGS becoming the UK issuing agent for IGSN sample numbers. The IGSN is an alphanumeric code that uniquely identifies samples from our natural environment and related sampling features. Use of the unique persistent ISGN sample identifiers will promote standard methods for locating, identifying, and citing physical samples. It will also allow samples to be unambiguously linked to other research assets such as data, peer reviewed papers and other published material.

More information about IGSN, including a full list of the current members can be found on their website.

BGS contacts: Claire Shelley, Helen Glaves or Mike Howe.

IGSN members

Members of the IGSN Board celebrate the election of its newest members during the IGSN General Assembly in New Orleans, USA. (Photo: Helen Glaves.)

26 February 2018

Core Trust Seal

The National Geoscience Data Centre (NGDC) is now certified as a trustworthy repository and has been awarded the CoreTrustSeal accreditation by the joint World Data Systems (WDS) and Data Seal of Approval (DSA) repository certification bodies.

CoreTrustSeal certifies that the NGDC is a trusted digital repository; confirming that data curated is managed and archived in such a way to preserve its long-term access and use. The NGDC is recognised as the NERC Environmental Data Centre for geoscience/sub-surface data and is the first of the NERC data centres to receive this level of accreditation.

The award validates the functions, procedures and processes of the NGDC, in particular the data deposit portal for collating new data and a workflow which provides donators with a digital object identifier (DOI) on request. As a trusted Data Centre, the NGDC increases the opportunities to access national and international funding as well as enhancing our reputation as a global geoscience hub.

This comes in the same week that the BGS became a member of the International Geo Sample Number (ISGN) and a UK issuing agent. These awards and memberships demonstrate the BGS as continuing as a leader and trusted organisation in the custodianship of geoscientific data which underpins the knowledge of the ground beneath our feet.


The National Geoscience Data Centre (NGDC) collects and preserves geoscientific data and information, making them available to a wide range of users and communities. NGDC is recognised as the NERC Environmental Data Centre for geoscience data.


Implementation of the CoreTrustSeal

Core certified repositories

13 February 2018

Landslide India

The UK Space Agency’s International Partnership Programme uses UK space expertise to deliver innovative solutions to real world problems across the globe. This helps some of the world’s poorest countries, while building effective partnerships that can lead to growth opportunities for British companies.

The successful projects, worth £38 million in total, are led by a diverse range or organisations from the UK’s growing space sector and include the BGS. The UK Space Agency and industry are working together to grow the UK’s share of the global space market to 10 per cent by 2030.

The BGS will lead a project called Modelling exposure through Earth observation routines (METEOR): EO-based exposure, Nepal and Tanzania. The grant is worth £2.8 million.

Target countries are Nepal and Tanzania (test countries), rolling out to all 48 least-developed ODA countries.

At present, there is a poor understanding of population exposure in developing countries, which causes major challenges when making disaster risk management decisions. METEOR takes a step-change in the application of Earth observation exposure data by developing and delivering more accurate levels of population exposure to natural hazards. Providing new ,consistent data to governments, town planners and insurance providers will promote welfare and economic development in these countries and better enable them to respond to the hazards when they do occur.

8 February 2018

Lyell Centre logo
More than 70 research leaders from Heriot-Watt University and the British Geological Survey have taken part in a 'Research Connect' event as part of the research and innovation activities of the Lyell Centre.

6 February 2018

Centre for Observation and Modelling of Earthquakes, Volcanoes and Tectonics (COMET)
NERC's Centre for Observation and Modelling of Earthquakes, Volcanoes and Tectonics (COMET)’s achievements in Earth observation and modelling have been recognised by the Royal Astronomical Society (RAS) in their latest round of awards, winning the RAS Group Achievement Award in Geophysics.

COMET uses satellite measurements alongside ground-based observations and geophysical models to study earthquakes and volcanoes, and help understand the hazards they pose. BGS staff members Colm Jordan, Sue Loughlin, John Rees and Brian Baptie are all members of the COMET team.

More information

17 January 2018

BGS roundel
Vacancies have arisen for a number of Non-Executive Directors to be based at various UK locations including Nottingham (HQ), London, Edinburgh.

22 December 2017

GSNI logo

Over 100 delegates from across the UK and Ireland attended the symposium, including Prof John Ludden CBE, Executive Director of BGS, and Sir Keith O’Nions, in his first public event as the recently appointed Chairperson of the newly established BGS Board.

GSNI at 70
L–R: Marie Cowan, Director of the GSNI, John Ludden CBE, Executive Director of the BGS, Sir Keith O’Nions, Chair of the BGS Board, Andrew McCormick, Permanent Secretary of the DfE, Koen Verbruggen, Director of the Geological Survey Ireland.

Delegates heard how GSNI provide baseline information for sustainable economies and societies; the importance of research and innovation in the geohazard management; how geoscience enhances tourism and supports education, and Northern Ireland’s history of mineral exploration and its importance to the economy. Other topics for discussion included the role that local geology has to play in the delivery of clean energy.

This video has been produced to celebrate the GSNI's 70th anniversary, outlining the role of the GSNI and the benefits it has for every citizen of Northern Ireland.

The GSNI also produced a special 70th anniversary publication for the event highlighting its achievements. You can view both the special publication and the abstract volume at the GSNI website and for a compilation of videos that showcase the work of the GSNI then please see the playlist on the BGS's YouTube Channel.

14 December 2017


Geoscientific data (geodata) represents one component required to make informed strategic decisions to drive economic and social development, and ensure environmental protection. Making geodata simply and readily available to government and industry enables effective decision-making.

We are embarking on a new form of Public Private Partnership (PPP) that is based on the concept of 'Partnering for mutual success', where government, industry and commercial organisations collaborate in maximising the value of pre-competitive geoscience data. The purpose of this project is to make available, within a defined test pilot area, all pre-competitive geoscience data publicly and freely accessible through a hosted geoscience portal for a period of three years.

8 December 2017

Michael Watts
Congratulations to Dr Michael Watts who was recently elected to the post of President of the Society for Environmental Geochemistry and Health. Michael has been involved in the SEGH for nearly 15 years as a member of the European board and active on the International board via his role in redesigning the website since 2010.

5 December 2017

Marie Cowan
"Operating as a key player in Northern Ireland's knowledge economy, the work of the Geological Survey for Northern Ireland has been a crucial factor for both attracting foreign direct investment and for local development."
Marie Cowan, Director, Geological Survey of Northern Ireland (GSNI) discusses one of the region’s largest datasets and the Survey's ambitious plans to transition to 4D models with real time data.

Read the full article in agendaNi

28 July 2017