The majority of research in UoA 17 Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences is officially classified as world-leading or internationally excellent in terms of originality, significance and rigour, having been placed in the highest categories of 4*and 3* in the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise.
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This multidisciplinary UoA comprises personnel from the Schools of:
By coupling substantial investment to a desire to succeed in both fundamental and problem driven research, the UoA has prospered in the last few years. Since 2004, we have made nine new appointments, including two Chairs in Earth System Science and Marine Biotechnology. We have used a diverse portfolio of £18m research income to pursue scientific excellence (eg 10 recent papers in Nature/Science) within the broader context of industrial and societal needs. We have positioned ourselves to attack the future scientific, technological and economic challenges associated with global change and urbanisation.
Our intellectual strategy is encapsulated in our overarching research theme: Earth Systems Science, Engineering and Management (ESSEM). The University research strategy links Earth Systems Science with Earth Systems Engineering (UoA 27 and UoA 28), reflecting our drive to use cutting edge science as a means of solving problems of global importance to society.
We were instrumental in the establishment of the £20m Institute for Research on Environment and Sustainability (IRES). University investment of £5.6m in equipment and laboratories has ensured a robust research infrastructure with which to pursue our goals. We have state-of-the-art laboratories for analytical geochemistry, and molecular ecology/systematics.
We are at the heart of two new University research centres which will integrate research on Energy and Biodiscovery. Newcastle has been designated a Science City by the Government and this UoA is central to two of the Science City themes earmarked for specific development in NE England: 'Energy and Environment' and 'Molecular Engineering'.
In addition to our strength in fundamental research, we are proud of our research links with the petroleum, waste management, wastewater and biotechnology industries. We have won £7m of industrial research income over the past RAE period, have spun out three limited companies, filed five patents and routinely provide analytical and knowledge-based consultancy to a wide, international, range of major companies.
Our research is organised into two major groups:
The Geoscience group's multidisciplinary team of earth, chemical and biological scientists is configured to pursue the fundamental scientific and technological questions raised by the changing climate and energy supply landscape. Adding to historical strengths in organic geochemistry, petroleum geoscience and microbial ecology, and with £9.4m funding since 2001, the group pursues a truly cross-disciplinary research programme linking fundamental research on the Earth's cycle of biologically important elements through to the application of research in energy and clean water.
Research within the Marine Science group is organised into two themes: Marine Ecology and Marine Biotechnology, with the former emphasising the fundamental and the latter the applied aspects of our research. With three new appointments since 2005 and funding of £3.3m, the Marine Ecology group has made exceptional contributions in two areas: the dynamics of fragile marine ecosystems and invertebrate reproduction. With £5.1m funding since 2001, the Marine Biotechnology group incorporates researchers from both the Schools of MAST and Biology. It has strong industrial links and is at the heart of major projects on marine biofouling and drug discovery.
Our future research strategy is informed by fact that climate change, energy supply and sustainability are amongst the most pressing issues facing society globally. Research to tackle these problems cannot be defined by traditional disciplinary boundaries but requires a perspective that incorporates fundamental science and engineering solutions within a societal context. Our response to these challenges has been the formulation of ESSEM as the backdrop against which we have strategically planned our research for at least the next five years, focussing on issues surrounding Climate Change, Sustainability, Biodiscovery and the Transition to the Low Carbon Economy.