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University of Cambridge

UOA 17 - Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences

RA5a: Research environment and esteem

Department of Earth Sciences


1.         Strategy and strengths 

1.1  Our goal is to carry out fundamental innovative research to make major advances in the Earth Sciences. Our strategy is to promote a broad ranging interdisciplinary approach, with research extending from geophysics to palaeontology to mineral physics. We have an exceptional research environment with state-of-the-art experimental facilities. The research transcends traditional scientific boundaries by the combination of staff with backgrounds from quantum physics to marine biology, and by strong collaboration within Cambridge, nationally and internationally. We attract a large group of research fellows (~10), postdocs (~ 40) at any one time and post-graduate students who make vital contributions to our vibrant research culture. Our position within the uniquely integrated Natural Science Tripos teaching structure in Cambridge enables us to attract a significant number of biologists, physicists and mathematicians into Earth Sciences as undergraduates and as PhD students. We also attract excellent research students from other UK departments and institutions worldwide. We have increased our strong collaborative links with industry, which exploits our fundamental research advances and employs many of our students and young research workers. This collaboration provides us with access to important data and has facilitated the design and construction of novel instrumentation. We have been highly innovative in developing new initiatives through our flexible structure with a high degree of intra- and inter-departmental collaboration, and absence of rigid group boundaries. 

1.2  We have a balanced academic staff age profile (40% under 45 years). Our research active staff range from 7 Fellows of the Royal Society to 7 early career researchers.  Since 2001 we have recruited internationally to 8 university posts, strategically, in climate change, volcanology, mineral physics, palaeobiology and geophysics, and we will fill the Woodwardian Professorship in the area of climate change. These appointments enhance our priority research areas and reinforce our strong interdisciplinary base. This strategy is endorsed by the University which has given high priority to enhancing and refurbishing the Department's infrastructure and experimental facilities through £3m of competitive SRIF funding. Since 2001, five staff have been promoted to Professorships and five to Readerships.  External research income is ~£3.5m pa, plus £1.5m pa of allocated National facilities, and major contributions by industry of data sets, ship time, and instrument use.  We have doubled our collaborative EU/overseas projects since 2001, (current grants £1.6m).  We have attracted 22 student awards/prizes.

1.3  Notable research achievements since 2001 include 1) fundamental advances in understanding the structure and rheology of the lithosphere, 2) illuminating the complexity of phase transitions within the deep mantle, 3) use of ab-initio and quantum mechanical simulations to model mineral behaviour (particularly processes at mineral-water interfaces), 4) the development of chemical, isotopic and sedimentary proxies to investigate short and long-term palaeo-climate and ocean circulation, 5) use of novel textural methods to understand the magma chamber processes controlling volcanic eruptions, and 6) providing a bench-mark for studies in the Cambrian explosion and the assembly of metazoan bodyplans.  These achievements illustrate the broad range of the research culture in the Department, all are collaborative, and several are strongly cross-disciplinary in nature.  Our future strategy will exploit our ability to bring intellectual breadth and flexibility to problems, particularly in the areas of climate change, geodynamics and palaeobiology. Our fluid group structure established by internal restructuring prior to the last RAE has proved to be effective and has evolved into our major research themes in section 2.  

1.4  The Department sits within the School of the Physical Sciences (SPS) which encompasses the  physical and mathematical sciences.  We have strong interdisciplinary collaboration in research particularly through the interdisciplinary research centres which we were instrumental in setting up (see 3 d.1), notably the BP Institute with the partner Departments of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics (DAMTP), Chemistry, Engineering, and Chemical Engineering, and the Institute of Theoretical Geophysics (ITG) with DAMTP. We play a major role in research and teaching in climate change and energy research in the University. We also play a key part in the outreach of the University through the unique Sedgwick Museum which evolved from a research collection of 1 million palaeontological specimens to the most popular university geology museum nationally with over 60,000 visitors every year.  We plan to enhance these activities further in future.

2.                                      Research  


2.1  We have fulfilled the RAE 2001 plans as follows (see also highlights in 2.4-2.8)


(a)   expanding research in multiphase flow in deformable media and mineral textural evolution

(b)   making leading developments in seismological methods and applications

(c)   using properties of stable isotope fractionations to understand a range of biological and geochemical processes

(d)   using biogenic carbonates as proxies for environmental conditions

(e)   developing atomistic scale simulations to understand mineral behaviour in natural and applied settings

(e)   placing palaeobiology firmly in an evolutionary context, emphasing functional morphology and the central role of Lagerstätten.




2.2  Our major long-term research priorities are as follows, (see also 5(d)).  Medium-term plans are indicated under each research group 2.4 - 2.8.


 (i)   geodynamics, seismology and mantle structure

(ii)   climate change, environmental impact studies and energy provision

(iii)  palaeobiology, deep structure of the evolution of life.


2.3  We have a cohesive research programme which is revised regularly by wide consultation within the Department and the SPS. The SPS supports our policies of interacting across the whole spectrum of the Earth Sciences, providing maximum flexibility for developing new interdisciplinary areas, and encouraging novel initiatives by early career researchers. Staff are listed in five informal research groupings below, reflecting the core research areas we see as underpinning our future strategy. Each staff member is listed only once (postdocs in italics, early career marked *), but many work across the groupings, and several have named contributions from their four submitted publications identified in the highlights of more than one section. 



2.4              Climate Change and Earth-Ocean-Atmosphere Systems


Elderfield FRS, McCave, Dickson , Galy, Hovius, Piotrowski*, Turchyn*, Skinner*, Hall, Tripati, Chapman, Hoogakker*, Kristjansdottir, Ferretti, Greaves, Meunier, Scrivner*, Yu*


We have developed a range of chemical, isotopic and sedimentary proxies of the critical parameters needed to describe past climatic states and the processes that force change.  We are using them to explore the causes and consequences of rapid climate changes in the last glacial cycle. We have increased the links between the marine, ice-core and terrestrial records and collaboration with the climate modelling community. We have appointed two early career researchers, Turchyn (2007) and Piotrowski (2005) who, together with Skinner (Royal Society URF, 2006), have expanded our research into past ocean circulation and into bio-geochemistry. As a strategic investment we have integrated the Godwin Laboratory onto the main site and refurbished the isotope-geochemistry laboratories and facilities with £1.5m  SRIF funding. Research highlights include:


•   We have established fundamental controls on isotope fractionation and on trace-element partition and calcification in biogenic minerals, and produced strong evidence for a global role of biological systems in controlling stable-isotope fractionation in marine isotopic records. (Elderfield 1,2,4; Galy 1; Turchyn 1,2,3)

•              We have demonstrated the negative temperature feedback on global climate resulting from silicate chemical weathering by using our new methodology to quantify the sources of chemical inputs to rivers, and by separating the effects of physical erosion, rainfall and temperature. (Bickle 1,2,3)

•              We have separated the temperature and ice volume components of marine records of past climate, and defined changes in deep ocean flow, resulting in a better understanding of the causes of ice age cycles and greater precision in the application of Oxygen Isotope stratigraphy. (Elderfield 3;  McCave 1,3,4; Skinner 2,4)

•              We have produced high-temporal-resolution proxy records across major climate events of the last glaciation in the Atlantic and Indian oceans to constrain the variability of ocean circulation and its impact on regional climate and atmospheric CO2 levels. (Elderfield 2; McCave 3; Piotrowski 1,2,4; Skinner 1,3,4)

•              We have quantified the sediment output from active orogens in the Himalayas and Taiwan, and, together with new high resolution satellite topographic, bathymetric and cosmogenic isotopic analyses, determined how the erosion is strongly controlled on decadal time scales by climatic parameters (typhoons and variability in river discharge) as well as seismic activity. (Bickle 2; Galy 4; Hovius 1,2,3)

•              We have developed new methods for measurements of carbonate and silicate inputs to rivers, and used Ca and Mg-isotopic compositions combined with time-series analyses to better understand climatic controls on river chemistry (Bickle 1; Galy 3).

•              We have demonstrated that analyses of exquisitely preserved echinoderms indicate ~ 1 to 5–fold variations in the Mg/Ca ratio of Phanerozoic seawater.  (Dickson 1,3,4)




We will fill the Woodwardian Professorship in the broad area of climate change.  We will make further major investment in mass spectrometers and analytical facilities, which, combined with x-ray, Raman, NMR and IR facilities, will form a uniquely strong experimental centre,  nationally and internationally. Together with recent appointments, we will create an exceptional research environment to fulfil our goal of understanding controls on earth climate over a range of timescales.

•   We will investigate abrupt past climate changes as well as on longer time scales, linking marine, terrestrial and cryosphere records with modelling approaches. This research will use a “multi-proxy” approach facilitated by our newly refurbished and equipped laboratories, capable of uniquely deploying the full modern range of palaeo-tracers of oceanic behaviour (O & C isotopes, trace elements in calcite), light stable isotopes (e.g. Ca, Mg), heavy element isotopes (Nd, Pb), U-series isotopes (Th/Pa) and sedimentological tracers. 

•              We will explore experimentally and theoretically the use of non-traditional stable isotopes to distinguish chemical reactions driven by kinetic parameters from thermodynamic equilibrium to understand the role of the biological systems in the alteration of rocks.  We will expand this research area to geobiology by exploring how the cycle of carbon and related elements have varied throughout earth history.

2.5                                                       Petrology 


Bickle FRS (also 2.4), Edmonds, Gibson, Holness, Maclennan, Holland, Day, Feinberg*, Hillier*, Humphreys*


This grouping combines research of igneous, metamorphic and volcanic processes to enhance understanding of global tectonics as well as their more immediate impacts on our surficial environment. Our strategy is to integrate geological observational studies (field work, petrology, geochemical and isotopic analyses) with interdisciplinary work on multiphase flow in deformable media and the properties of the materials involved. The appointments of Maclennan (2005) and Edmonds (2007) have strengthened this area and enhanced collaboration with Geography (Oppenheimer (Volcanology) and Graf (Meteorology)). Edmonds has established remote, high-resolution measurements of volcanic gasses in conjunction with analyses of melt inclusions to model the physical processes occurring during volcanic eruptions. (Edmonds 1,2,3).  A new electron microprobe with CL has strongly enhanced our analytical facilities (£623k SRIF funding). Highlights include:


•  We developed new methods of analysing grain boundaries, tracking textural equilibration and studying melt inclusions which have provided a sensitive record of the thermal and chemical evolution of magma chambers. (Holness 1,2,3,4; Maclennan 2) 


•  We have used trace element and isotope geochemistry, and geological observations to show that melt is transported to the surface in less than 1000 years with limited mixing. (McKenzie 3;  Maclennan 2,3)

•   We have combined geochemical analyses, field observations, laboratory experiments, geophysical results and physical modeling to quantify the thermal, chemical and flow structure of the mantle, particularly the importance of convection and plume-driven flows in recycling chemical heterogeneities.  (Gibson 1,2,3,4; McKenzie 2; Maclennan 1; WhiteR 2)

•              We have modelled the recharge flux to oceanic high-temperature hydrothermal systems to enhance understanding of cooling and geochemical transport in the oceanic crust. (Maclennan  4.)

•              We have modelled the thermodynamics of silica-rich melts and made key advances in understanding activity-composition relationships in complex silicate phases.  (Holland 1,2,3,4)

•              We have shown that the Mg-isotopic analysis of meteorite refractory inclusions requires a 40% increase in the canonical abundance of 26Al and limits the lifespan of refractory inclusions in the proto-planetary disc to ~200,000yrs.  (Galy 3)


Research will build on the Department’s strengths in geochemical and isotopic analysis, mineral sciences, thermodynamics, textural analysis and fluid mechanics.


• We will use magmatic environments as natural laboratories for the study of multi-phase flow in deformable matrices. Specifically, we will combine textural observations, geochemical analyses and physical modelling of multiphase flow to understand melt generation, fractionation and eruption, and use mantle melts as probes of mantle structure.

•   Time-series analysis of volcanic volatiles will enable us to understand the physics of magma supply, convection and mixing in the silicic volcanoes that present the major global volcanic hazards.

•              We will extend our thermodynamic modelling of minerals and melts to encompass mafic magma systems.

•              We will study CO2-rich flows in a range of subsurface environments to aid prediction of the consequences of sequestration of carbon-dioxide in geological reservoirs.



2.6                                           Geodynamics, Geophysics and Tectonics

    BP Institute and Institute of Theoretical Geophysics (ITG)


Jackson FRS, McKenzie FRS, White RS FRS, Woods, Deuss, Haines, Priestley, Tilmann , White N, Woodcock, Barton, Crosby*, Heintz*, Rudge*, Singh, Soosalu


The distinctive feature of this grouping is the investigation of a very broad spectrum of structural, tectonic and geodynamical processes using quantitative physical models based on land-, marine- and space-based observations. Theoretical and geophysical analyses interface with advances in petrology, geochemistry and mineral sciences. Work at the BP institute and ITG are an integral part of this research and connect the Department closely with the Departments of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics, Chemistry, Engineering, and Chemical Engineering.   The COMET project on modelling and observation of earthquakes and tectonics, which Jackson co-directs, commenced in 2002 and has developed further our strong national and international collaboration in aspects of space-based observation combined with fieldwork. We have expanded our activities in marine seismology through collaboration with Schlumberger, strengthened by the appointment of Tilmann (2005). The appointment of Deuss (2004) has enabled the development of research in normal-mode and body-wave earthquake seismology. The provision (£210k SRIF funding), of an extensive array of seismometers and new computational facilities has strategically enhanced our research in all areas of seismology and geodynamic modelling.

•   We have deployed temporary seismometer networks to: (1)  image previously unknown magma injection sites in Iceland, Hawaii and New Zealand and relate them to earthquake and volcanic centres; (2) provide a detailed view of the crust and mantle in the Himalaya-Tibet  and Arabia-Eurasia collision zones, showing how lithospheric structure is related to active tectonics; and (3) begin characterizing the extent and properties of the earthquake and tsunami generating zones on large subduction-zone thrusts. (Priestley 3; Tilmann 1,2,3; WhiteR 1,2,4).

•              We have shown that the Iceland mantle plume controls uplift and subsidence in the sedimentary basins around Britain, and are studying the link between vertical motions, tectonics and mantle circulation in other continental regions. This work, based on industry-related collaborations, has implications for maturation and fluid-flow in sedimentary basins and is of crucial importance for the hydrocarbon industry. (WhiteR.1,3; WhiteN  2,3)

•              We have obtained a relationship between shear-wave velocity and temperature that allowed us to use surface-wave tomography to map the thermal structure and thickness of continental lithosphere. We have shown how variations in the geological behaviour and rheology of oceans, ancient shields and young orogenic belts are related to their elastic, seismogenic and lithosphere thicknesses, with wide implications for tectonics, petrogenesis, regional metamorphism and erosion in mountain belts, changing the accepted views about the lithosphere. (McKenzie 1,2,3; Jackson 1,4; Priestley 1,2,4)

•              Using normal-mode and body-wave earthquake seismology combined with mineral physics, we related the complex seismic structure around the 520 and 660 km discontinuity to multiple phase transitions. (Deuss 1,2,3,4)

•              Earthquake seismology has been integrated with field work, GPS, and radar interferometry, to study active faulting, Quaternary geomorphology and structure in the Alpine-Himalayan region. Highlights include a precise determination of the fault rupture mechanism during the catastrophic 2003 Bam earthquake, Iran, with important implications for hazard mitigation. (NERC COMET group, Jackson 2,3)

•              Dynamic modelling of the lithosphere, constrained by strain rates, has been used to determine the distribution of effective viscosities in the Asian lithosphere. (Haines 1,3,4)

•              Short-wavelength variations of the gravity field of the Earth, Moon and Mars show that the elastic thickness of Martian lithosphere increases with time, from ~15 km early in its history to ~80 km now, consistent with its higher K/U ratio and consequent more rapid decrease in internal heat production. (McKenzie 1,4)

• Advances in seismic profiling of continental margins, combined with work on magma generation, have changed our understanding of the development of rifted margins and have important implications for areas as diverse as paleo-oceanography to maturation in sedimentary basins. (WhiteN. 1,2,4;  WhiteR 1,3; Barton 1,2,3,4)

•   New models of (1) compaction in a porous formation, and sand-volcano dynamics, and (2) multiphase flow in a reactive porous medium and the dispersal of CO2 through saline aquifers have been developed.  We have shown that the permeability of hydrocarbon- or mineral-bearing fluid conduits in fragmented fault-zone rocks can rapidly be resealed by mineral cements. (Woods  1,3,4; Bickle 4;Woodcock  1)   



Enhancement of the quality of observations and of physics-based analytical methods will be central to our future research. An illustrative list of projects includes:

•   We will use the enhanced resolution from the higher frequencies of seismograms in combination with insights from mineral physics, earthquake source mechanisms and portable seismic networks, to increase our understanding of the structure of continental and oceanic lithosphere and of the Earth's deep mantle.

•              We will enhance imaging of distribution and subsurface movement of water, oil and gas in sedimentary basins, using new methods of seismic waveform analysis and velocity determination.

•              We will explore sand-erosion dynamics in wells, with relevance to heavy oil generation and model flow in reacting porous rocks, in strong collaboration with industry.

•              We will combine field-based, remote-sensing and modelling studies of active faulting in earthquakes to enhance understanding of continental tectonics, earthquake hazard and tsunami generation.

•              We will extend our research using new satellite-based Doppler data to investigate the gravity, rheology and interior convection circulation of the Earth and Mars.

•              We will study the Earth's core structure using normal modes.


2.7                                                       Mineral Sciences


Salje FRS, Artacho, Carpenter, Dove, Farnan, Harrison, Redfern, Scott, Feinberg*, Goodwin*, Trachenko*, Austen*, Brigden, Bromiley*, Bruin*, Catalan, Kawasaki, Palin*, Walker*, White*, Zhang


Mineral sciences research focuses on elucidating the properties and behaviour of minerals and fluids at a fundamental level. There has been a planned increase in research in this area over the last decade producing to one of the largest research groups worldwide.  Main research topics range from the passivation of nuclear waste (new IR facilities, £350k SRIF), the behaviour of water over short time scales, and the magnetic behaviour of small particles, to the elastic response of minerals in the geophysical context. The nature and breadth of these topics illustrate the need for interdisciplinary approaches to solve these highly complex problems. We have developed a wide range of in-house experimental facilities (£644k SRIF/SEI), and advanced computational methods and applications (£2.4m NERC/DTI).  We have used national and international facilities for neutron scattering, synchrotron X-ray diffraction and supercomputing. We collaborate extensively with the Departments of Physics, Materials Science, Chemistry and Mathematics in Cambridge.  The appointment of Harrison (2004) has enabled us to expand our activities into micromagnetics and TEM holography for the analysis of magnetic field lines.  A major strategic development is a new elasticity laboratory (£83k SRIF) to measure elastic properties over wide frequency ranges in collaboration with Deuss (geophysics). As many minerals are ferroelastic we have a strong research team in non-linear ferroic properties of solids which is directly relevant to industrial research of memory devises. Close collaboration with industry in this field has resulted in 5 patents and significant industrial funding. Our expansion of Mineral Sciences has lead to the following highlights

•   Harrison has developed novel electron holography to observe flux-lines in natural magnetic minerals containing nanoscale microstructures. From this we have postulated a new theory of ‘lamellar magnetism’.  (Harrison 1,2,4)

•              We have investigated experimentally and theoretically how complex microstructures and other inhomogeneities influence the geophysical and geochemical properties of minerals, particularly their elasticity. (Redfern 1,2,3;  Salje 3;  Walker 2,3)

•              From experimental observations we have developed a Landau description of the significant elastic anomalies which accompany structural phase transitions in minerals. We have shown how transformation twin microstructures in silicates and oxides can give rise to large anelastic attenuation at seismic frequency, accompanied by elastic softening, with implications for geophysical properties of the lower mantle. (Carpenter 1,2,3,4; Deuss 4; Harrison 3; Redfern  1,2,3; Salje 3)

•              We have resolved the controversy on molecular coordination in liquid water by means of first-principles quantum mechanical simulations. The experimental observation of one-dimensional character (chains and rings of water molecules) was found to relate to an electronic effect happening in an extremely short time scale (170 fs) while water behaves over a longer timescale as a tetrahedral network. These insights allow a much better understanding of water/mineral and water/solute interactions (Artacho 2,3) and links to work on pollutants.

•              We have developed (Dove and Tucker) equipment to carry out neutron powder diffraction under simultaneous high pressures and temperatures at ISIS; Tucker now runs the facilities at ISIS. Total scattering methods were used to identify mechanisms of dynamic structural disorder. (Dove 2,4)

•              We have used experiment, simulation and ab-initio computational studies to quantify the number of atoms displaced by the alpha-decay of pollutants e.g. plutonium, uranium and thorium in minerals and provided a detailed understanding of the related damage and the dissolution of the minerals. This work is critical for safe storage of nuclear waste. (Farnan 1,2; Salje 1,2,4; Trachenko 2,3,4)

•              Studies of single crystals of oxide perovskites have shown that there are no intrinsic finite-size effects, such as shifts in phase transition temperatures, down to 50 nm grain size. (Scott 4)


We will develop our strengths in experimental techniques and in modelling of electronic structure and effective medium theories of elasticity. An illustrative list of projects is given below:

•   We will develop experimental facilities for measuring elastic and anelastic properties in situ at temperatures from ~4 K to 1800 K, pressures of up to 10 GPa and with a frequency range ~0.001 Hz - ~100 MHz. This will give us an unprecedented opportunity to investigate the mechanisms of non-linear elastic and anelastic phenomena in minerals and ceramics.

•              We will develop experimental and computational techniques for the study of magnetic properties of minerals, to run in parallel with ab-initio and Monte Carlo modelling of magnetism at the nanometre scale.

•              Linear scaling ab-initio simulation will be applied to link mineral physics to low temperature geochemistry.

•              We will determine the structural and aqueous durability of actinide-containing ceramics for nuclear-waste encapsulation, using NMR, IR, Raman spectroscopy, and computer modelling.



2.8                                                       Palaeobiology


Conway Morris FRS, Butterfield, Norman, McNamara, Anderson, Goswami, Harper, Walker*


Evolution is the sine qua non of biology.  It is a competitive field, to which we make major contributions.  We provide a bench-mark in arguably the greatest transition in the history of life, the Cambrian "explosion".  We achieve this both via provocative analyses of the origin of phyla, and also the wider context of earth history from one billion years ago onwards.  We are a major focus for the topical area of vertebrate palaeontology, again integrating biology (e.g. functional biology) and geology (e.g. plate tectonics and palaeobiogeography). Embedded in an Earth Sciences Department we straddle earth sciences and biology.  In particular, we aim to investigate whether, evolution is open-ended and indeterminate, or as we argue highly constrained by physico-chemical factors.

•   We have demonstrated a fundamental distinction in evolutionary turnover between Proterozoic and Phanerozoic eons with major new fossil discoveries (e.g. China) including 850–1450 Ma multicellular fungi, a range of Burgess Shale-type fossils illuminating the Cambrian explosion and key palaeoecological aspects of the transitional Ediacaran period. (Butterfield 1,2,3,4; Conway Morris 2,3,4)

•              Our re-evaluation of the phenomenon of evolutionary convergence, based on evidence from enzymes to behaviour, indicates that evolution is more deterministic than usually thought. (Conway Morris 1; Harper 1)

•              We have developed Finite Element Modelling techniques for reconstructing the structure, function and behaviour of fossil vertebrates. In the carnivorous dinosaur Allosaurus the skull proved to be much stronger than needed to withstand the expected static forces. (Norman 1)

•              Cladistic biogeographical methods linked to 'time-slicing' demonstrate new correlations between dinosaur biogeography and palaeogeography.  This provides the first robust evidence that tectonic events largely determined when and where particular dinosaur groups flourished. (Norman 2)

 We have reassessed the interactions between predation and large scale patterns of evolution.  Key evidence comes from molluscs, and in particular we have radically revised conventional views on the evolution of bivalves.  This has revealed new inter-relationships and in groups such as the anomalodesmatans morphological convergence is so prevalent that new phylogenies were required. (Harper 1,2)



The cross-disciplinary ethos of Cambridge Earth Sciences gives us both a wider perspective and an essential focus.  Thus while our expertise is broad, from Proterozoic microfossils to dinosaurs, we believe that the fossil record will make fundamental contributions to our understanding of evolution and thereby allow us to discover what drives diversity and the emergence of complexity.

•   We will pursue a comprehensive investigation into the origins of the modern biosphere by resolving the nature of the Cambrian “explosion” and its pre-Cambrian, mostly pre-metazoan, roots. This will depend on exceptionally preserved fossil Lagerstätten between 1500 and 500 million years ago with a spotlight on the Mesoproterozoic interval and continuing involvement with on-going discoveries in China. Palaeontological data will be integrated with developmental and theoretical ecology.

•              We will advance the study of vertebrate palaeobiology by using computerised modelling techniques to investigate problems of mechanical structure and phylogenetic relationships. We will  explore the relationship between the origin and early diversification of new clades and palaeogeography through time.

•              We will provide a comprehensive survey of evolutionary convergence at all levels (molecular, organismal, societal and cognitive), assess its significance and importance to evolutionary theory, and make it publicly available via the Map of Life web-site.  In addition, we will extend our major contribution to out-reach, not least in the vigorous debates surrounding evolution.


3.                            Research Structure  


(a)        We actively promote a vibrant research culture by creating an environment in which new ideas can flourish with interaction across the Department, and so span a wide spectrum of the Earth Sciences. The avoidance of rigid research groups promotes flexible interaction.  Our strong industry links promote an outward looking research environment. Experimental facilities are shared, fostering collaboration. There are extensive seminar programmes including international speakers. Collaboration is strongly encouraged, both within and outside Cambridge, leading to the establishment of interdisciplinary research centres (see d.1 and d.2).


 (b)       The Department has state-of-the-art experimental facilities and infrastructure (with SRIF funding of £3m for climate change and energy research since 2001). Major equipment includes 1 TIMS, 1 MC-ICPMS, 1 quadrupole and 4 gas-source mass spectrometers, laser-ablation micro-analysis, 300 m2 of clean chemical laboratory space, OES, IR, 2 NMR and 10 X-ray generators/diffractometers, new fibre optic computer networks, Linux cluster; seismometers, electron micro-probe, SEM, and a fully-equipped workshop. The Mineral Sciences group is a major user of the University High Performance Computer Computer (SRIF funded, managed by the SPS) and the distributed e-grid computing facility.  Library facilities (Departmental and University) are excellent. IT is supported by 5 computer officers. The Department promotes participation by staff, postdocs and students in international conferences, funded by special Department, University and College travel funds, and by Departmental and Royal Society grants for staff. 6 international conferences have been hosted since 2001. (See 3g and 3l).


(c)        Research groupings, themes and policy initiatives since 2001 are given in 2.4 - 2.8 above;  research centres in d.1 below.


We have major involvement in new NERC consortia, themes and collaborative centres including   COMET (Observation/Earthquakes/Tectonics), IODP, RAPID (Rapid climate change), QUEST (Quantifying/Earth/System), DESIRE (Dynamics/Earth/Ice-cores), leadership of the National Institute for Environmental eScience (NIEeS), and NERC 'UK Carbon Capture and Storage Consortium'.


Novel funding streams have been provided by Cambridge-MIT Institute (CMI), Schlumberger, nuclear, hydrocarbon and electronic industries, and DTI.  We have a range of sources of external funding (NERC, EPSRC, EU, industry, other) which reduces vulnerability to fluctuations in any one sector. We have 6 patents granted since 2001. We use ships for palaeoceanographic and geophysical research, and national facilities (radiocarbon dating, neutron and synchrotron sources, geophysical equipment pool).


We place emphasis on developing novel technologies including 3D and 4D seismic imaging,   novel materials for encapsulation of hazardous waste, instrument development for high temperature NMR, elastic measurements over a large frequency range, and high resolution phonon spectroscopy. Funding is often provided by industry (e.g. BP, Schlumberger, Weston Geophysical, Bruker, Varian) or through international co-operation.


(d.1)       We have strong interdisciplinary collaboration, and major involvement in research centres which we were instrumental in setting up:


•    BP Institute - with Mathematics, Chemistry, Engineering, Chemical Engineering

    Institute of Theoretical Geophysics - with Mathematics

    National Institute for Environmental e-Science - with Mathematics

    Centre for Earth System Science - with Geography; joint Chair established

    Cambridge Environmental Initiative (CEI)- University-wide

    Cambridge Centre for Ceramic Immobilisation (C3i). – with Chemistry, Materials, Physics

    Centre for Solid State spectroscopy - with Materials, Physics, Chemistry

    Centre for Ferroics - with Materials, Physics, Chemistry

(d.2)  We have doubled our EU/non-EU international collaborative grants since 2001, to total 12, (current value £1.6m). The Cambridge-MIT Institute initiative has enhanced our existing collaboration with MIT.  Through collaboration with institutes in Europe, the US and worldwide we have access to facilities and funding not available in the UK e.g. the Bayerische Geoinstitut, Hamburg, IPG Paris, Stony Brook, Los Alamos, Caltech, Berkeley, Tokyo. Likewise, collaborators from abroad use our facilities. Our collaborators provide logistical support for fieldwork in difficult areas such as Iran, India and Iceland.


(e)  Industrial associates, including BP, Amerada Hess, ExxonMobil, Chevron, Schlumberger, Shell and CASP, advise on research needs in industry, and fund studentships and research students. Joint research projects give access to extensive data sets and ship time and use of instrumentation. We have strong collaboration in instrument design with Perkin Elmer, Bruker, Varian, Symetrix, Samco, BNFL, and AEA which enhances our instrumental capability.  The BP Institute with its business and enterprise culture enhances the training and experience of our students, bringing them into direct contact with industry. Several staff are involved in advising on Government initiatives e.g. CORAM on nuclear waste; Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology, NERC Science Innovation and Strategy Board, European Research Council, FP 7, Royal Society Council, Sectional and other committees, Climate and Marine Advice networks, EPSRC, NIREX, see also 3(c).


(f)  New academic staff are given light teaching and administrative loads initially.  The University and Department provide start-up funds to help them establish their research here. New staff attend lecturing and staff development courses run by the University.  Each is assigned a mentor.  There are regular appraisal procedures for career development.   


(g)  Research students are rigorously selected on merit and carefully nurtured. They flourish in the diversity of our research environment and the exceptional Department facilities. Each student has 2 academic 'Friends' as support. They are assessed annually through written reports and seminars. Most students submit well within 4 years.  The Department attaches high priority to research students presenting their work at international conferences. 22 have won best poster awards since 2001.  Roberts Review training is provided by the Department and University.


(h.1)  Postdoctoral fellows and Research Associates are recruited internationally and mentored by a senior academic.  They benefit from our stimulating atmosphere, presentation of their work at international conferences, contacts with industry, and Roberts Review training.

(h.2)  Research fellows (around 10 at any one time) are supported by Research Councils, Royal Society and Cambridge Colleges.  They collaborate with staff leading to joint publications, research grants, teaching and fieldwork.  College Fellowships are a measure of the additional support which Cambridge gives to departments.


(i)  New staff, Research Fellows, and postdocs play a full and integrated part in our research programmes with many joint publications. They have full access to all experimental facilities. 


(j)  The Department has a team of 5 computer officers, and 5 technical officers/PDRAs who run and develop our experimental facilities (Mass specs, IR, ICPMS, Probe, instrumentation). Most have substantive publications. We have 11 highly trained research technicians (5 instrumentation, 4 geochemistry, 1 X-ray, 1 HT). We have one additional patent for instrument development since 2001.


(k)  Sabbatical leave (full pay 1 in 7-terms basis) is usually spent at a leading institution abroad which enhances international collaboration.


(l) Our international visitors to the Department average 25 a year, some supported by Colleges. We hosted 6 international conferences: Palaeontological Association 2002 (300); Vertebrate Palaeontology 2002 (130); European Ferroelectrical Materials 2003 (500); Bivalves 2003 (50); Himalaya-Karakoram-Tibet Workshop 2006 (100);  Mineralogical Societies of UK, Canada, France and USA 2007 (400).  We have four main weekly seminars and specialist seminars.


(m)  Personnel, Staff Development and Careers offices support staff, provide extensive training programmes, and implement the Concordat for research staff. The Research Services Division supports research grant applications, IPR, technology transfer, and joint industry programmes.  The University Library and computing facilities are excellent.  University travel funds support academic staff.  Special University and College funds support studentships and hardship needs. Estate Management supports infrastructure needs.  The University funds infrastructure renewal via SRIF.



4.                                     Staffing policy


Staff support, development and integration:  see 3(f), 3(h.1), 3(h.2), 3(i) and 3(m).

Recruitment of University Lecturers is by ad hoc committees with external members. Assessments from members feed to the Faculty Appointments Committee.  There are rigorous assessments for personal promotion to Senior UL, Readership and Professorship with evaluation by external international referees. 


Elections to Chairs are by independent Boards of Electors with University and external international members.   


Contributions of former staff:


Professor Sir Nicholas Shackleton FRS, made major contributions of fundamental importance in global; environmental change through palaeoceanography, astronomical calibration of the geological timescale and defining glacial-interglacial periodicity.  His  many honours include the Crafoord Prize, Blue Planet Prize and the Royal Geographical Society Gold Medal.  He inspired countless research students and postdocs.  


Dr. Alan Smith produced widely used palaeogeographical maps and new age scales. Professor Barrie Rickards' graptolite research has an important bearing on biostratigraphy. Dr. De La Rocha (now at Bremen) worked on biomineralisation and biogeochemistry. Collaboration in volcanology continues with Dr. David Pyle (now at Oxford).   All 5 posts have been refilled, see 1.2.


We continue collaboration with former Fellows (category B) all of whom made significant contributions to our research, (5 were early career researchers): Royal Society, Finlay Morrison in Ferroelectrics, Tamsin Mather in volcanology, Sharon Ashbrooke in solid-state NMR, Rachel Flecker in tectonics; NERC Advanced Fellows, Richard Hobbs in seismology and Brian Dade in theoretical geophysics;  NERC Fellows, Susanna Rios Banos in Mineral Sciences and Paul Upchurch in palaeontology.



5.                            Research Strategy 


(a)  Our main drivers are:


•  quest for knowledge, e.g. understanding seismic/elastic properties of Earth, Mars, Mercury and the Moon; evolutionary convergence; behaviour of the surface of the planet and its interactions with climate variables.

 •  needs of society, e.g. understanding causes of climate change, evaluation of geological hazards, and outreach to society such as learning programs in the Sedgwick museum and participation in National Science Week.

•  major industrial research needs, particularly for energy production - hydrocarbon and nuclear.


(b) Main strengths include:


•  a highly fluid departmental structure, broad subject coverage, strong intra- and inter-departmental collaboration, interdisciplinary collaboration in research centres; 

•  academic staff with backgrounds in physical, biological and mathematical sciences as well as in the Earth Sciences;

•  close collaboration with industry on strategically important issues (energy, hydrocarbons, energy-saving buildings);

 flexibility to swiftly incorporate new topics and institutional initiatives into our overall research structure and to participate in new government initiatives, giving leadership in novel research areas;

  close integration into the Natural Sciences in Cambridge with highly numerate students and strong support by colleges (research fellowships, donations);

•  novel equipment development; strong technical support; TOs, COs, technicians; exceptional experimental facilities.


Weaknesses - located on sites 2 miles apart; nevertheless, we have strong integrated research programmes throughout all parts of the Department.


(c) and (d)   Action plans for long-term priority development areas are listed by title below and medium-term plans in the research sections 2.4-2.8. Staff are in place for this research and collaborations with outside bodies. Administration and management will be within current structures.


(d 1) Geodynamics, seismology and mantle structure


•  Using earthquakes to image lithosphere structure and study its relation to geochemical composition and mechanical deformation.

•  Computer simulations to investigate relations between deep mantle structure, petrology and mineral physics.

•  Thermodynamic modelling of the melting behaviour of the Earth’s mantle.

•  Improved resolution of controlled-source seismic imaging in the crust, including the movement of hydrocarbons through time-lapse experiments, and of magmatic fluids using earthquakes.


Funding is by research councils and industry, (ongoing close collaboration with BP and Schlumberger).
Facilities are through membership of IRIS (for global earthquake data), collaboration with Schlumberger (for joint state-of-the-art controlled-source seismic experiments); other oil companies for existing high-quality data sets; new 108-node computer cluster for the seismological analysis; set of seismometers plus NERC seismometer pool for field experiments; NERC ion probe.

Multi-phase flow research is jointly with BP Institute.  We are not critically dependent on particular companies or people.


(d 2) Climate change, environmental impact studies and energy provision


•  Seek causes of abrupt climate change in the ocean-atmosphere system in reconstruction of well time-resolved records of ocean temperature and flow.

•  Pursue geochemistry of novel ocean/climate proxies and of land-atmosphere interaction for short and long time-scales.

•  Energy-related research using NMR, IR and Raman spectroscopy and geomorphological modelling will deal with both subsurface extraction and storage of carbon compounds and passivation of nuclear waste.


Funding is by research councils, government, and industry.

Facilities for climate change are provided by SRIF e.g. mass spectrometers.  For nuclear waste research we use US NSF/DOI facilities.


(d 3) palaeobiology, the deep structure of evolution of life


•  Document the assembly of complex bodyplans using unique reference points in the fossil record.

•  Explore difficult terrains for exceptional preservation, driven by the conviction that one such deposit can give a hundred-fold increase in knowledge.

•  Query received wisdom concerning the relationships between the history of life and planetary evolution, seeking new interfaces between environmental constraints and biological possibilities.

•  Re-examine assumptions on the open-endedness of evolution and pursue evidence that the Darwinian process is fundamentally predictable.


Funding is by charitable bodies (Templeton Foundation £512k) and research councils.


(e)    Dissemination and Societal Impact


Results are disseminated via publications, conferences, seminars, with industry through our Industrial Associates, BPI, and CMI, and partnerships in instrumental development. Research Services Division handles patents, industry contracts and larger consortia. We hold 6 patents (since 2001).


Benefits of our work for society include earthquake and volcanic hazard assessment, nuclear test ban monitoring, novel materials for hazardous waste encapsulation, climate change prediction, hydrocarbon exploration, thin film devices for credit cards, and drug delivery systems. Work on the fluid dynamics in heterogeneous media leads directly to contributions with high societal impact such as the design of buildings with novel forms of natural ventilation leading to significant energy savings.


We actively promote the public understanding of science through lectures to societies and schools, and the British Academy for the Advancement of Science Annual conference; through the Sedgwick Museum's outreach programme and the National Science week; through documentary films by BBC and international companies featuring our research.  The Sedgwick Museum with collections of over 1m specimens is a major resource and important interface with the public (60,000 visitors a year). Major government funding (over £1.5 m) has transformed the Museum exhibition space and dramatically enhanced our outreach programme.


(f)    Contingency plans:


•  in the event of geopolitical problems, we have access to large existing data sets which allows us to switch between regional research areas.

 if US collaboration on nuclear waste encapsulation fails we have participation in the French COGEMA project and also with NEDO in Japan. 

 for strengthening research areas we redeploy retirement vacancies.

  for capital investment there is University strategic funding available.


(g)  Measures of success


These include appreciation by academic peers (publications, awards to academics and students, conferences, RC grant income, allocation of National facilities), high quality student theses, industrial collaboration with support in grants and 'kind', involvement in international collaborative programmes, and contributions to public debates and government initiatives eg. climate change, energy provision, nuclear waste disposal.


Continuity of research strategy


(a) We have delivered the RAE 2001 plans as exemplified in section 2.


(b) Research Strategies are reviewed regularly within the Department by the Head of Department, his Advisory Committee and wider consultation meetings. Detailed discussions are undertaken with the Head of the School of Physical Sciences and its Needs Committee. Plans are formally considered by the Council of the School as it prepares the School's Strategic plan, which is incorporated into the University’s Strategic Plan. Under this Plan, the Woodwardian Professorship will be filled in the area of Climate Research.


The University reviewed our teaching and research in 2001, teaching in 2005, research in 2006, all gave the Department excellent ratings.


(c) We have done less work on biomineralisation and pollutants on surfaces following the departure of Dr. DeLa Rocha in 2005; new appointee Dr. Turchyn started 1.10.07. Magnetic biominerals are being investigated by Harrison (new lecturer).


For self-assessment see sections 1 and 5 (b).






Prof Emilio Artacho  


Fulbright Fellow Berkeley 2007, Visiting Miller Research Professor, UC Berkeley (2007). Organiser 10 international workshops/symposia. 35 invited talks including AGU (2004), APS (2001). Assessment Panel for research institutes Spanish Research Council. Referee UK/European RC grants panels.


Prof  Mike Bickle,  FRS 


FRS 2007, Fellow AGU 2002, Coke Medal, Geological Society 2003.  Organiser 3 international conferences 2005, 2006, 2007/8. IODP and ODP Advisory/Steering/Evaluation panels, Vice-Chair UK-IODP, NERC CIAF (2005-). AGU VGP Fellows nomination committee 2006,


Prof  Michael Carpenter 


President, Mineralogical Society America 2004, President-elect (2008-2009) Mineralogical Society.  Organiser "Frontiers " international conference 2007. Plenary lectures, Potsdam, 2001, Kobe, 2006. Advisory Board, Phys.Chem.Min. UK/European RC review panels.


Prof  Simon Conway Morris, FRS 


Kelvin Medal, Royal Philosophical Society Glasgow,

Ide & Trotter Prize and Endowed Lecture, Texas A&M University.  Council, NERC. Organiser 2 international conferences. ANU Quality Review 2004. 12 keynote/plenary lectures, Gifford Lectures (Edinburgh). Extensive radio and TV presentations.


Prof Martin Dove


Alexander von Humboldt Research Award 2007, Director National Institute of Environmental eScience. Council Member Mineralogical Society, Organised Earth Systems Modelling 2003, Organising Committee IMA 2002.  Member US Spallation Neutron Source high pressure group. 5 Keynotes  including AURORA Vienna 2007, Crystallographers Australia 2007.  Reviewer ISIS, ILL, EPSRC.


Prof  Harry Elderfield,  FRS  


FRS, 2001, Urey Medal  EAG 2007,  Fellow AGU (2001), Hon. Fellow EUG, Patterson Medal, Geochemical Society (2002), Lyell  Medal (2003).

Visiting Scientist, Lamont-Doherty, 2004. NERC SISB, RC's IMP committee.  Geochemical Society Board,  Royal Society WG, Chair Gordon Conference, Chemical Oceanography, 2002, Scientific Committee 8th - Paleoceanography, 2002.


Prof James Jackson, FRS  


FRS 2003,  Fellow AGU 2004, Visiting Professor Caltech, CNRS, Grenoble 2006.  Kliegel lecturer, Caltech, 2004,

Jeffreys Lecturer RoyAstronSoc 2004, Mallet-Milne lecturer 2001. 11 international Keynotes including Crafoord Symposium, 2002, AGU 2003. NSF Review panels EARTHSCOPE 2001, Chairman, Caltech Visitors Panel 2006. Co-Director COMET.


Prof Dan McKenzie, FRS


Companion of Honour 2003, Crafoord Prize 2002,  Bowie Medal AGU 2001.  Honorary D.Sc. Uppsala 2002, IPG, 2005.  BP Technology Advisory Council.


Prof Nick McCave  


Adjunct Scientist LDEO 2007.  Co-organiser  Royal Society ‘Rapid Climate Change’, 2003, Committee, ‘Climate Change', Bergen, 2004.  Keynotes, Kiel, Bremen, Norway, Lamont-Doherty. Co-Leader IGCP #432, NERC Steering ‘Rapid Climate Change’.  Chairman MIT-WHOI review. Board, Research Centre Bremen.  NERC Review College.                                                                          


Prof Simon Redfern


Visiting Professor, Berkeley 2006, NCKU Taiwan 2007.  Chairman, BL1 Working Group Diamond Synchrotron. Plenary lectures ANSTO Sydney 2002, "Wagga 2002" Australia.  7 invited including LANSCE Los Alamos 2001, Goldschmidt 2002, AGU 2002, MSR Boston 2003. RC UK/European grants reviewer,  IUCr HP Crystallography Commission. Council, MSA, MinSoc. 


Prof Ekhard Salje, FRS


Ernst Ising prize 2002, Gold medal Hamburg 2002, Agricola medal 2006, Order of Merit Germany 2006. Chevalier dans l’ordre des Palmes Academiques 2004.  22 Key note lectures including Technology World Leaders, Korea 2003. Research Director Cambridge-MIT Institute. Boards: Max Planck Society, Parliamentary Office Science and Technology. President UK Humboldt Society.


Prof James Scott   


Monkasho Award 2001, Japan, D.Sc.(Hon.) Moscow Technical University 2003.  5 patents (USA, Japan), major industry/EU collaboration.  50+ keynotes, 9 Plenaries in 2007. Organised international 'Ferroectrics'  Cambridge 2003, Chair Rank Xerox Prize Conference 2006. EPSRC reviewer.


Prof Andrew Woods


Wager Medal, 2002.  Colenso Lectureship South Africa 2002. 8 Keynotes  including Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Lecture,(Woods Hole) 2003, SIAM Seattle 2004,  

EGU Vienna 2007. Advisor Centre Nuclear Waste USA,  NIREX/NDA. Chair, Advisory Board for Joint Industry project Algeria.


Prof  Bob White,  FRS  


Keynotes: AAPG Norway,  FIEC Faroes, Petex, New Zealand, Iceland. Organiser EAGE 2005. NSF/Norwegian/NERC reviewer. Council Member Geol. Soc., Director Faraday Institute (£1.2m). Committees: NERC Ocean Margins Link Programme, GEP, Royal Society, Leverhulme Trust. PI Academic-industry projects (£1.1m  industry 2001-8)  iSIMM (8 oil companies), Schlumberger, Sindri.




Dr Tony Dickson   


Keynote lectures, Schlumberger “Carbonates” meeting 2004, Bathurst Meeting, Chevron Houston 2007, PetroChina 2007,  Schlumberger/Zadco/Adnoc consortium, Abu Dhabi, September 2005 and December 2005.


Dr John Haines  


Visiting Professor Stony Brook 2005, New Zealand 2004, Yomogida 2003, Italy 2006. Hosted JSPS/Royal Society Visiting Professor. Major contribution World Strain Map - International Lithosphere Program. 


Dr  Tim Holland  


Schlumberger Medal, 2001.  Author of AX, UnitCell, joint author of THERMOCALC, widely used thermodynamic software for petrological modelling.  20-year collaboration with Melbourne Univ.  Keynotes: Goldschmidt 2001, EUG-AGU-EGS 2003, GSA Seattle 2003, AGU Baltimore 2006.


Dr Marian Holness 


VMSG (Geol Soc) Award 2007. Program Committee Goldschmidt 2004, Symposia organiser EUG 2001, Goldschmidt 2004, 'Frontiers' 2007.  Invited speaker Goldschmidt conference 2005, Gordon Conference 2006, Geological Society Open Meeting 2002. Member Metamorphic Studies committee. Reviewer Journal of Petrology, EPSL, NSF.

Dr David Norman   


Vice-President, Linnean Society.  Asher Tunis Distinguished Visiting Fellowship, Smithsonian 2002. Organiser 50th Vertebrate Palaeontology 2002.  Keynote: Lyell Meeting, 2004. Guest editor Linnean Society, 2002. Reviewer NERC, Canadian RC grants. Reviewer 8 international journals including Nature,  Science, Journal Vertebrate Palaeontology.


Dr Keith Priestley 


Visiting professorships,  Strasbourg, 2002, 2006,  Potsdam, 2005.  Keynotes :  Abdus Salam Centre Italy, 2002,  Fourth International Tehran 2003,  IRIS 2006,  Gordon conference 2007.  Lead UK scientist major projects India 1997-, Iran 2003-, Chile 2004-,  Japan 2005-.  Editorial board EPSL 2001-5.  Reviewer 5 international journals. Reviewer  NERC, NSF,  US DOD, US DOE, EU. 


Dr Nicky White


Bigsby Medal 2001.  Bullerwell Lecturer, Royal Astronomical Society, 2001.  IPGP Visiting Professor 2001. Keynotes: Hedberg AAPG 2007, IODP Southampton 2007.  78 Invited lectures 2001-7 including EGS 2001, 2003, AGU 2003, AAPG Denver 2001,  GEUS Copenhagen 200.  Joint leader  international cruises, Black Sea 2005;  Sumatra 2006. 




Dr Nick Butterfield   


Geological Association, Canada Pikaia award 2006.

Keynotes:  Canadian Soc Zoologists 2006, Nordic Centre Stockholm 2007, Goldschmidt 2007.  Invited lectures: "Taphos" Spain 2002, Canadian Inst. Vancouver 2002,  CIAR/NASAVancouver (2004), GSA 2004, 2005. Organized Palaeontological Association Meeting 2002.

Editorial board Geobiology, Journal Molecular Evolution. Reviewer EPSL, GCA, Palaeontology;  NASA, NERC, NSERC, NSF. 


Dr Ian Farnan  


Cox Visiting Professor, Stanford 2002. Board Actinet EU FP6, EPSRC Radioactive Waste Immobilisation Network 2004-7.  Organizer Magnetic Resonance in Materials MRS 2006.  Keynotes:  MRS 2006, Actinides 2005 UK,   ECI Alternative Nuclear Wasteforms, 2004 Alaska. Reviewer 8 international journals including Nature, American Mineralogist, PCM, JPCM.   Reviewer NERC, NSF, US DoE,  Austrian Science Foundation.  HoC Select Committee Science & Technology.


Dr Albert Galy 


Houtermans medal EAG 2004.  Keynotes: Goldschmidt 2001,  2005. Invited lectures Kaplan Workshop Israel 2005, Goldschmidt 2002, 2004, 2005, BNASS 2004, 

Caltech, ETH, UCLA. Program Committees Goldschmidt 2005, Geochemical Society 2005-7, Session Chairman Goldschmidt 2005, 2007, AGU 2006, EGU 2007. 

Chair Gordon Conference session 2002.  Reviewer NERC, NSF, CNRS, ANR (France), ARC (Australia).  Reviewer  EPSL GCA.


Dr Sally Gibson


Pilkington Teaching Prize Cambridge University 2004.

Editorial Board Journal Geological Society-2007. 

Reviewer Nature, EPSL, J. Petrology.  Reviewer NSF, NERC, RC Ireland. Invited conference talks in 2005 Singapore, Brazil and Chapman conference Scotland.


Dr Nigel Woodcock 


Keynote:  International Breccia Symposium, Queensland 2007.  Editor, Geological Magazine 2002. 

Geological Society Accreditation Committee 2005.  Member, QAA Benchmarking Panel, 2001. Reviewer Geology, GSA Bulletin, Journal Geological Society, Journal Structural Geology. Reviewer NERC.




Dr Arwen Deuss  age 32



Fowler Award, Royal Astronomical Society 2005,

Doornbos Prize IASPEI/IIUGG 2004. NERC Fellowship 2003. Visiting Assistant Professor Caltech 2003.  Invited lectures: EU summer school 2006,  EGU 2006, 2007, Chapman Conference 2005,  Euresco Italy, 2003.  

Also 6 at US universities including Caltech, Harvard 2001. 

Reviewer  Science, GRL, EPSL, GJL, G-cubed.


Dr Marie Edmonds age 32


Invited lectures:  AGU 2006. Japan 2007, Long Valley Scientific workshop 2006.  Co-convenor EGU 2007.  Member Scientific Organising Committee Soufriere Hills Volcano, 2005.  Co-chair Magmatic Volatiles session IAVCEI 2004 Chile.  Media Scientist Alaska Volcano Observatory during emergency response, eruption 2006.   Member AGU Award Committee for Journalism. Featured/contributed to documentary films, involved in numerous radio/film interviews.


Dr Richard Harrison age  35


Max Hey Medal Mineralogical Society (2003).  William Gilbert Award Geomagnetism/Paleomagnetism section AGU 2006.  MSA Award 2007. Co-organiser 'Magnetic Interactions' 2007.  Co-Convener session Goldschmidt 2004. Goldschmidt Lecture Norwegian Geological Survey, 2006.  Leader EuroMinSci Collaborative Project FP6.  Council Member MinSoc. Chairman Mineral Physics Group MinSoc.  Reviewer American Mineralogist, EPSL, Phys.Chem.Min.,   JGR, Journal of Magnetism and Magnetic Materials. Reviewer NERC.


Dr Niels Hovius 


Gordon Warwick Award 2007 (Geomorphology).  Scientific Coordinator RETINA, EC 2001-5; FORESIGHT, EC 04-6. Keynotes:  British Society Geomorphology 2006, EUG, 2006, CNRS  2006, Taiwan Typhoon symposia, 2006,  Japan COE symposia 2006, NATO Advanced Workshop 2002.  EGU Council, EGU Divisional Chair Geomorphology. Coordinator GSA Penrose 2003.   Editorial boards: Geology, Basin Research; Sedimentary Geology. Referee Geology, EPSL, Science, JGR, GRL, Geomorphology.  Reviewer NERC, NSF, Swiss NF, CNRS.


Dr John Maclennan:   age 32


President's Award Geological Society, 2006.  NERC  Research Fellowship 2003,  EU Marie Curie Fellowship (IPG Paris) 2001.  Keynotes: Goldschmidt 2006, Inter-Ridge Theoretical Institute (NSF) 2006, EuroForum/IODP 2006, Nordic Council Summer School (Iceland) 2007.  Session Convener: AGU-EGS-EUG 2003. Reviewer NERC, NSF. Reviewer 8 international journals including EPSL, GCA,  J.Pet,  G-cubed.  


Dr Kenneth McNamara   


Fellow, American Association Advancement of Science 2003.  Kelvin Medal, Royal Society W.Australia 2005.  Mawson Medal, Australian Academy Science 2006.

Organising Committees Australian Geological Convention 2008; Fourth International Trilobite Conference 2008

Keynotes: Leverhulme Human Evolutionary Studies, 2002, Australian Academy Science Mawson Lecture 2006. Co-editor Australasian Association Palaeontologists.


Dr Alex Piotrowski   age 33    early career

RCUK Academic Fellowship 2006. Adler Travel Fellowship (LDEO) 2003. Keynotes: ICP9 Shanghai 2007,  ESF Conference Climate Change 2007 Austria.   Invited: Universities Florida, 2003, Edinburgh 2005, Bern 2005, (CNRS/CNES/IRD/UPS) LEGOS Observatoire Toulouse, 2005,  Max-Planck-Mainz, 2005,  CNRS Gif-sur-Yvette, 2005.  AGU, Co-chaired sessions 2005, 2007.


Dr Frederik Tilmann  age 35  


Lead UK scientist international projects Tibet 2007 (NSF), Sumatra 2006-11, Co-ordinator land deployments of seismometers (NERC). Session chairman EGU 2007.

Reviewer GJR JGR, EPSL, GRL, Phys.Earth.Planet.  Reviewer NSF, NERC, IODP.

Dr Sasha Turchyn  age 33early career


Scholar Canadian Institute for Advance Research, 2006.  Schlanger Ocean Drilling Fellowship 2004-5, Harvard University Merit Fellowship award 2004-5, NSF Graduate Fellowship, Sigma Xi Scientific Society. Invited talk AGU 2007. Co-chair AGU 2007. Editorial Board Geology.  Reviewer Analytical Chemistry, Earth Science Reviews, Sedimentology, Deep Sea Research, Geology, GCA,  Biogeochemistry.




Dr Penny Barton  


Lead organiser international Sub-Basalt Imaging conference 2002.  Session Chair EAGE 2006.  Presentations:  SEG 2005,    EAGE 2006 AGU (spring) 2005, 2006, 2007 GSA 2006.  ESLAB symposium Netherlands 2006,  Deep Seismix, Norway 2000,  New Zealand 2003,  6th Petroleum Geology NW Europe Conference 2003.  Senior Scientist Chicxulub seismic survey 2005- (NERC/NSF). Joint Director LITHOS consortium of 8 companies. Reviewer GJI,  Tectonophysics, and NSF.


Dr Gustav Catalan   age  33


Marie Curie Research Fellowship.  Symposium Chair MRS Boston 2007.  Invited talks: Rank Prize Meeting UK 2006, International Symposium Integrated Ferroelectrics Honolulu, 2006, Thin Oxide Meeting Barcelona, 2007,  MRS Meeting Boston, 2007.  Member Ferroelectrics UK network, Referee PRL, Applied Physics Letters, PRB, JPCM. 


Dr Josh Feinberg - age 32 early career


NERC Research Fellowship.  Co-organiser:  "Magnetic Interactions" Cambridge 2007. Convenor symposia 'Frontiers' 2007,  AGU Acapulco 2007,  Institute Rock Magnetism Conference Santa Fe 2006.  Treasurer Mineral Physics Group MinSoc.  Associate Editor American Mineralogist.  Reviewer EPSL, JGR, G-cubed.


Dr. Andrew Goodwin age 28 early career

Trinity College Research Fellowship.

Invited lectures,  American Crystallographic Meeting

Honolulu 2006,  Powder Diffraction Budapest 2006, UK

Crystallography Edinburgh 2006. Conference lectures

Neutron Scattering Australia 2005, European Powder

Diffraction Geneva 2006. Reviewer PRB, JPCM, Solid State Communications, JP, Z.Kristallographie.


Dr Liz Harper 


Organised international Bivalve conference, Cambridge 2003. Organizing committee Bivalvia 2006 Barcelona.  Plenary lectures: British Association (2002), Malacology Perth (2004).  Editor Palaeontology, Journal Molluscan Studies and Paläontologische Zeitschrift.  Publications Board Palaeontological Association. Reviewer Science, Proceedings Royal Society, 15 journals.  Reviewer NSF. Research Fellow University Hong Kong. Council Member, PalAss-2007.  


Dr. Madeleine Humphreys age 27 early career


Trinity College Research Fellowship.  Reviewer Journal of Petrology, American Mineralogist, PreCambrian Research. Science communication, Bristol Science Museum, Royal Society Exhibition 2004, Xchange, BA Festival of Science 2006, interviews for BBC, Guardian, Radio Netherlands.


Dr Satish Singh 


Organiser Sub-basalt imaging workshop, Cambridge 2003.

Invited speaker:  AGU 2005 San Francisco, Advances in Marine Geophysics,  Geological Soc. 2007,  EGU 2007. Leader project with Schlumberger-WesterGeco on Sumatra-Andaman Earthquake, 2005-8, Co-ordinator European Broadband Ocean Bottom Network 2006-8.  PI,  SINDRI consortium with 15 companies 2003-5; Joint Director LITHOS consortium of  8 companies -2006. Reviewer Nature, Science, JGR, EPSL. Reviewer NSF, NERC Canada NSERC.


Dr.  Luke Skinner   age 29 early career


Royal Society Research Fellow.  Outstanding Young  Scientist Award EGU 2006.  Sedgwick Prize Cambridge 2006.  Invited speaker AGU 2005 and 2006.  Outstanding Young Scientist Lecture EGU Vienna 2006.  ICP 9 China 2007,  Universities: Bern 2004, Bremen 2006, Lund 2007; LSCE-CNRS, Gif-s-Yvette 2005, European Comenius Course 2007.  Course Director International Science Summer School, Cambridge 2005. Visiting scientist IPRC/SOEST, Hawaii   Feb-March 2006, RSES, ANU Feb-March 2007.  Reviewer: Nature, Palaeoceanograhy, Quaternary Science, EPSL, Radiocarbon, Marine Geology, G-cubed.



Dr Kostya Trachenko


EPSRC Advanced Research Fellowship.  Invited lectures: International Atomic Energy Agency 2007,  CECAM conference, Lyon 2007, USA Materials Research Society Boston 2004.  Reviewer: PRB, Physical Review E, PRL, JPCM, Journal of Non-Crystalline Solids, Philosophical Magazine.  Reviewer EPSRC.  Research collaboration Nexia Solutions on safe encapsulation of nuclear waste.


Dr Aradhna Tripati  Age 28


NERC Research Fellowship,  Marshall Sherfield Fellowship British Council.  Invited lectures AGU 2005, EGU 2006-7,  Universities: California State 2006, Stockholm 2005, Stanford 2002, Texas 2002.  Reviewer Geology, EPSL, Paleoceanography, G-Cubed.  Reviewer NERC,  NSF, UKIODP 2003-7.


Dr Andrew Walker  age 29  early career   


NERC Research Fellowship.  President's Award Geological Society 2005.  Invited Lecture AGU 2006.  Invited speaker ANU 2004, 2005, Lille 2004, CSIRO Perth W.Australia 2004,   Royal Soc Chemistry, Solid State Chem Group Oxford 2003, Hydrospec Vienna 2002, Bristol 2003, Stockholm 2004. Public Lecture Royal Institution Discussion Evening 2004. Reviewer Nature, PEPL, Chemistry of Materials.  Secretary Mineral Physics Group MinSoc.