Geoscience for Sustainable Futures

The 'Official Development Assistance' (ODA) Programme of the British Geological Survey

Why geoscience matters

Hanoi city

Engagement of earth sciences in providing solutions to the major challenges recognised in the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (SFDRR) critical to underpinning economic development.

Many of these challenges, including food and water security; urbanisation; energy poverty; resilience to natural hazards, and climate change, span the interface between the Earth and human systems.

For example, understanding the effects on both human welfare and the environment of the exploration, analysis, and extraction of natural resources (energy, water, minerals and food) is critical to promote security of supply. Similarly, understanding dynamic natural earth hazards (landslides, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions) that directly affect lives and livelihoods and pose major welfare challenges also requires informed citizens and effective communications to deliver better preparedness and resilience to sudden change.

Our vision and research themes

Crop tending in Tanzania

Working collaboratively with countries on the DAC list of ODA recipients, the 2017–2020 BGS ODA programme builds upon and integrates our recent and ongoing research on:

  • groundwater
  • soils
  • minerals
  • energy
  • urban planning
  • environmental modelling
  • geohazards

Our vision is to deliver new research, underpinning datasets and capacity building via three research platforms working across 13 countries. Our engagement will be participatory, characterised by a collaborative approach, with the research being co-designed and developed with stakeholders to address development priorities and need.

We will seek to build new links with the UK research base and use our platforms to support bids into Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) and Newton Fund opportunities.





As part of its Official Development Assistance (ODA) programme the UK Government is increasing investment in interdisciplinary international research, prioritised to:

  • strengthening global peace
  • security and governance
  • resilience and response to crises
  • extreme poverty and helping world's most vulnerable

The BGS supports the Sustainable Development Goals

SDG logo

The 2030 agenda resolves to:

  • free humanity from poverty
  • secure a healthy planet for future generations
  • build peaceful, inclusive societies

Read recent progress in The Sustainable Development Goals Report 2017.

SFDRR logo

The SFDRR aims to reduce:

  • disaster risk
  • losses in lives, livelihoods and health
  • losses in the economic, physical, social, cultural and environmental assets of persons, businesses, communities and countries

BGS ODA research platforms

Research platform map


Contact for more information or to get involved.