Research news and awards

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

Power station

BGS is part of an EC-funded project called ‘CHPM2030’.

This started in January, with startup meeting in February, but only now is some of the promotional material coming out.

BGS activities in the project will focus on 2 main areas:

  • Gathering and assessing data on SW England to see if there is potential for hot rocks at 5–7 km to contain enough ore mineralisation to enable metals to be leached out with a recirculated fluid being used to extract geothermal heat.
  • Laboratory and modelling–based studies to test optimal ways to extract soluble metals from the rocks.

This work will be run through the Renewables, Energy Storage & Clean Coal Team, with work split between the Renewables, Energy Storage & Clean Coal Team and the Ore Deposits & Commodities Team.

More information

CHPM2030 website

25 July 2016

Prof Colin Waters
The University of Leicester have conferred on Colin Waters the title and status of Honorary Professor in the Department of Geology, backdated to start from 1 May 2016 to 30 April 2021. Congratulations Colin!

25 July 2016

The BGS Proactive Infrastructure Monitoring and Evaluation (PRIME) System has won the 2016 Ground Engineering Product and Equipment Innovation Award

The BGS Proactive Infrastructure Monitoring and Evaluation (PRIME) System has won the 2016 Ground Engineering Product and Equipment Innovation Award (sponsored by BAM Ritchies).

PRIME is a low-cost system specifically designed for infrastructure monitoring and remote operation, for deployment on ‘at risk’ geotechnical assets (e.g. embankments, cuttings and dams).

PRIME combines emerging geophysical ground imaging technology with innovative data telemetry, web portal access and intelligent monitoring. It develops the basis of a new generation of smart’ earthwork technology capable of imaging the internal physical condition of infrastructure earthworks using diagnostic methods routinely used in medical physics.

The PRIME monitoring concept has been developed by Jon Chambers, Phil Meldrum, Dave Gunn and all of the BGS Geophysical Tomography Team, supported by Helen Reeves the Director of Engineering Geology.

The work was funded by NERC (Natural Environment Research Council), most recently through the Environmental Risks to Infrastructure Innovation Programme, and input from our stakeholder steering group comprising Network Rail, Canal & River Trust, Scottish Canals, London Underground, RSSB, Arup, Atkins, HS2, National Grid, ITM Monitoring and Geosense.

7 July 2016

National geological model

Following the National Geophysical Survey meeting held in April at the British Geological Survey we are pleased to announce that from 08 June 2016 we are calling for expressions of interest for the survey.

Forms to download:

The closing date for all expressions of interest is Monday 4 July.

If you have any queries then please don’t hesitate to email

8 June 2016

Yorkshire Valley
The British Geological Survey and the University of Birmingham have signed a formal Memorandum of Understanding to strengthen future collaboration and open new opportunities for research.

1 June 2016

BGS shop
NERC has commissioned five highly ambitious research programmes, worth £34m, that will see its research centres, including the BGS, working closely together to tackle major scientific and societal challenges. Read more about these ambitious new projects.

1 June 2016

Sampling groundwater

The BGS, with partners from the universities of Manchester, Liverpool, Bristol, Birmingham and York (National Centre for Atmospheric Science), is carrying out a science-based environmental monitoring programme in the Vale of Pickering, North Yorkshire, where a planning application to carry out hydraulic fracturing for shale gas has been submitted. The programme comprises monitoring of water quality (groundwater and surface water), seismicity, air quality, soil gas, radon in air and ground motion.

With planning permission being granted, the monitoring programme will become even more important as it will provide an independent measurement of the baseline against which any future changes can be compared. The monitoring will continue during the different stages of shale gas development at the site. It will provide the UK with a unique dataset for a shale gas operation over its whole life cycle: before, during and after hydraulic fracturing has taken place.

The BGS’s monitoring programme is independent of that being carried out by industry or regulators. It is designed to enhance the scientific understanding and knowledge of environmental baselines and identify any effects that shale gas operations might have on the environment. Information from the monitoring programme is being made publicly available and will also support peer-reviewed science.

Professor Rob Ward, BGS Director of Science and project director, said, "If hydraulic fracturing goes ahead then understanding the baseline is a critical first step in ensuring it is carried out safely. Our independent monitoring will enable this and allow more informed decisions to be made."

Read more details on the project and the results of the monitoring.

24 May 2016

Dr David McMillan (University of Strathclyde) and Dr Keith Westhead (BGS, Marine Geoscience) at the Technology & Innovation Centre, Glasgow
The British Geological Survey at the Lyell Centre in Edinburgh, and University of Strathclyde Technology and Innovation Centre (TIC), are pleased to have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in early 2016. The MoU covers a range of exciting research and technology collaborations including marine energy, offshore engineering and instrumentation. Initial discussions of opportunities for joint working are already under way. This will be followed by sessions hosted at both the TIC facility and the Lyell Centre, leading to joint projects and the development of research and industrial funding opportunities. The MoU will build on the combined research and innovation power provided by both organisations in the fields of marine energy, engineering and technology.

13 May 2016

Jurassic Cadomities
NERC have funded a Large Grant application to support an ICDP project on the Lower Jurassic in Wales/UK: Integrated understanding of the early Jurassic Earth system and Timescale (JET). The overall PI is Stephen Hesselbo (University of Exeter) with UK Co-Is from the BGS (Jim Riding, Melanie Leng, and Dan Condon), Oxford and Leeds.

29 April 2016

Professor Jane Plant CBE
It is with great sadness that we report that Jane passed away on Friday 4th March 2016. She will be remembered vividly by many of her former colleagues at BGS as well as by former research collaborators and students across the world. A geochemist of high international standing and a leader in her field, Jane made a lasting impression on those who had the privilege of working with her – her passion, drive, creativity and pursuit of meaningful impact in her research were exceptional. Reflecting on Jane's work as a BGS scientist, it is easy to see that she left a substantial legacy – a high resolution baseline geochemical dataset with many applications of economic, environmental and social benefit for the UK and methods that have been adopted and adapted around the globe as standard for undertaking geochemical surveys. Further, Jane developed strong and prolific research outputs in metallogenesis, crustal evolution and environment and health; In the latter she was the initiator of what continues to be a significant area of research for BGS. Her scientific reputation was recognised throughout her career by numerous prestigious awards, honorary professorships and memberships of learned society, governmental and parliamentary committees.

Jane's legacy extended beyond her scientific outputs – her leadership, with a firm commitment to creating and supporting opportunities for the development and progression of early-career scientists also made a lasting impact; she made exceptional career progress becoming one of the nation’s most senior female scientists in an era when leading female scientists were rare and faced many barriers to progression. As a result of her experiences she became a role model and champion to many younger scientists.

Jane retired from BGS in 2005 when she held the role of Chief Scientist but her career continued to gather momentum in other directions, commencing in 2003, with publication of 'Your life in your hands', the first of a series of books she wrote on the relationship between diet and health. After leaving BGS, Jane held the position of Emeritus Professor of Geochemistry at Imperial College until her death.


G-BASE: geochemical map of Scotland: Nickel (Ni)

Jane attended Ashby de la Zouch Grammar School for Girls and joined BGS in 1967, aged 23, with a first-class degree in Geology from the University of Liverpool and was assigned to the Atomic Energy Section in London under Stan Bowie. Her career progressed rapidly; initially developing methods in the north of Scotland for a regional geochemical Survey to identify resources of economically important metals for which she was awarded, in 1977, a PhD from the university of Leicester for her work "Regional Geochemical mapping in Great Britain with particular reference to sources of error".

By 1983 Jane had achieved Band three Individual Merit Promotion in recognition of her scientific achievement. Following a sabbatical year in 1988-89, spent in Northern Canada developing her skills and experience working as Vice-President of a junior exploration company, she moved from London to Keyworth as all BGS Geochemistry operations relocated. Subsequently, Jane held a succession of senior leadership positions in BGS culminating in 2002 with her appointment as BGS Chief Scientist.

In 1997 Jane was awarded a CBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours list in recognition of her contribution to science and industry.

14 March 2016