School of Natural and Environmental Sciences

Staff Profile

Professor Richard Davies

Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Global

Background

Professor Davies became Pro-Vice-Chancellor Global in 2014. He is a petroleum geologist, who started his career with various postings in the UK and abroad in the oil and gas industry, mainly with ExxonMobil.  He has published around 100 papers and is an expert on fracking. He has held a number of pan-university leadership roles including the founder and first Director of the Durham Energy Institute at Durham University. He later became Dean for Knowledge Exchange and Impact and was responsible for implementing the University's strategy for research impact.

He is responsible for the international presence and impact of the university, international student recruitment, world rankings, the entry of international students into the university and a range of university-wide activities locally, nationally and internationally. He is on the Boards of Newcastle University International Singapore Pte Ltd (NUIS); NuMed (Newcastle University Medicine Malaysia); Newcastle University London and INTO Newcastle. In 2017 he was one of nine international scientists to be highly commended in the 2017 John Maddox Prize for Standing up for Science.

Research

Research and Research Leadership

He left industry in 2003 as the full potential of 3D seismic reflection data for the understanding sedimentary basins was being realized and was part of a small number of academics who pioneered its use in structural geology, sedimentology and soft sediment deformation. Most recently he has published on what he argues is one of the world’s best seismically imaged of marine gas hydrates which has yielded several cutting edge papers.

Professor Davies has also led major department and pan-university research initiatives in the field of energy.  This started in the field of geo-energy (e.g. fossil fuels, carbon capture and storage) and then across the spectrum of energy research, through the founding of Durham Energy Institute at Durham University. Davies' remit with the institute was to build it from concept to a fully functioning institute which had National and International recognition.  In 2014 he moved to Newcastle University where he is now Pro-Vice Chancellor for Engagement and Internationalisation.

Research and Engagement

Since 2007, Professor Davies has developed a strong track in record researching the risks associated with oil and gas activities, often because society wanted answers to pressing questions. From 2007 to 2010 he led an international team that showed that the Lusi mud volcano that caused 40,000 Indonesian’s to lose their homes was almost certainly triggered by drilling for gas rather than being a natural disaster. He is now working on the risks associated with fracking within a pan-European consortium ‘ReFINE’ (Researching Fracking in Europe) that he leads (www.refine.org.uk).  He is staunchly agnostic about whether or not fracking is a technology that nation states use but adamant that there is a pressing need for more reliable, peer-reviewed research. His role is to remain unbiased and seek to do the best science possible to help inform the public, governments and other decision makers.

My Google Scholar web link is:

https://scholar.google.co.uk/citations?user=ojz81o4AAAAJ&hl=en

Teaching

I taught and led teaching at Cardiff and Durham Universities (2003-2014) but have not teaching responsibilities at the moment.

Publications