Wednesday, 13 April 2016

BGS getting down to business

The British Geological Survey released its Business Plan (BP) for the three year period starting April 2016. This plan underpins the BGS strategy “Gateway to the Earth”.

BGS is constantly reviewing its science priorities and these have largely moved towards a programme of harnessing new technology to instrument the Earth so that we understand geological processes in real time. This will help society to:

  •          Use its natural resources responsibly
  •          Manage environmental change
  •          Be resilient to environmental hazards

As part of our business planning we will be implementing the £31 million Energy Security and Innovation Observing System (ESIOS) to underpin new developments in subsurface energy management. This will be supported by BGS being part of a Midlands regional capital investment in partnership with Midlands Innovation “Energy Research Accelerator (ERA)" of £60 million, plus a twice this amount in supporting funding from industry. BGS will be required to resource both of these capital investments in providing technological development and operation and undertaking new research with partners.

At the same time the new BGS Business Plan sees a significant upscaling of our overseas activities, largely in response to targeted funding on Overseas development for UK government as part of the Global Challenges Research fund and also the Newton fund. We anticipate that as much as 30% of BGS activities may be redirected overseas in support of development, but at the same time underpinning UK government policy.

BGS will enhance its position in the UK devolved governments; in Scotland at the Lyell Centre which we will be developing with Heriot-Watt University and in Cardiff and Belfast in co-locating with Cardiff University and Queens Belfast. We will further enhance our activities with the University of Nottingham and other partner universities through key joint ventures.

Within the period of the Business Plan BGS hopes to have moved from its current position within the NaturalEnvironmental Research Council (NERC) UK to a Government corporation alongside similar bodies to ourselves (such as the Met office, Ordnance Survey and the National Physical Laboratory) which advise government and work at the cusp of academic research industry and government.

John Ludden