Lyell Centre Breaks Ground... by Lauren Noakes

Myself [Lauren Noakes] (left) and Nichola Gaffney (right), from
the BGS Communications Team in obligatory onsite selfie
On this very beautiful and crisp Edinburgh morning I went along to see the Ground Breaking of The Lyell Centre.

In 2016 this completed shiny new HQ for BGS in Scotland will be home-from-home to me and my colleagues currently based at Murchison House and Loanhead. Read on to find out why, together with Heriot-Watt University, the Lyell Centre will lead the world in earth science research and innovation... 

John Ludden, BGS Executive Director (and silver spade wielder), said “It is a pleasure to see work begin on the British Geological Survey’s new home in Scotland. Our facilities and our staff, currently at several sites across Edinburgh, will be united here at The Lyell Centre alongside research teams from Heriot-Watt University. This tremendous opportunity will broaden our science base and create an innovative hub of world-leading research in the geosciences in Scotland. ”

Professor Steve Chapman, Principal of 
Heriot-Watt University (left) and   
Professor John Ludden, Executive   
Director BGS (right) breaking ground   
As John says we'll be sharing The Lyell Centre with researchers from Heriot-Watt University’s Schools of Energy, Geoscience, Infrastructure & Society and Life Sciences, with whom we'll create a global centre of excellence based on our research synergies and collaboration. The Centre will bring together key expertise from both institutions as well as an £8.5m investment in top-level academic recruitment from around the world, providing a huge opportunity for earth and marine science in general and for Scotland in particular. 

Professor Steve Chapman, Principal of Heriot-Watt University, said, “This is the physical start of a tremendous project, and is the result of many months of dedicated work behind the scenes. The Lyell Centre will provide a huge opportunity for earth and marine science in Scotland and globally, commensurate with Heriot-Watt’s international standing and global reach.”

As the press release says, the emphasis of the Centre’s work will be at the   intersection of the earth and marine sciences. Research in the Lyell Centre will play a key role in finding pragmatic solutions and providing evidence-based informed and reliable opinions in areas of energy supply, environmental impact and global climate change, where inputs have traditionally been polarised. Its work will be both socially and industrially relevant at national and international scales.

There are a lot of people to thank for the creation of this masterpiece. In particular The Lyell Centre is funded by BGS, Heriot-Watt University, the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and Scottish Funding Council (SFC).  Additional funding of £8.5m will also underpin investment in top-level academic staff recruitment and student research positions.

The BGS/NERC Project team. From Left to Right:
David Kearney, John Murray, John Ludden, Mike Patterson, Bob Gatliff

As well as providing new office and laboratory facilities The Lyell Centre will incorporate a new 50,000 litre climate change research aquarium, the UK NERC Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Oil and Gas, a high level industry engagement and training initiative for the oil and gas sector, and the Shell Centre for Exploration Geoscience.
It's going to be quite a journey over the next 52 weeks, so check the web and @BritGeoSurvey for #LyellCentre updates!

For more info about the Lyell Centre (design above) you can read our previous press release here