Monday 14 July 2014

BGS - Looking back and looking forwards......

BGS ran its biennial stakeholders event at the Royal Society last month. The event was attended by about 100 stakeholders from across the spectrum of government, academia and industry. The presentations given by myself, Mike Stephenson and Mike Patterson can be viewed here.

I gave a summary of activities since the last stakeholder event which was of course selective, but underlined our workforce plan, budget and some key science activities, including partnerships. We look strong across the board with a refreshed workforce, near rebuilt estate and some leading science activities for all stakeholders. We were particularly active in the DECC commissioned unconventional hydrocarbons work, in informing government for flooding and also in surveying SW England. We deployed some pretty hefty infrastructure in the Baltic ocean for the International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) and offshore Japan with our BGS rock drilling capability. We are participating in the SWARM mission and continuing to instrument Iceland as a volcano super-site.

Mike Stephenson (pictured right) presented a video of the highlights of our strategy displayed in Geovisionary and clearly underlining our move towards more instrumentation of the subsurface of Earth to underpin resource development and forecast GeoHazards on "scales that matter to people". 

Mike Patterson summarised where we are with ownership and governance options and made it clear that our preference is for a GovCo public corporation but the status quo would still be on the table as might other governance and ownership options. The ownership outline was well received with the audience asking the same sorts of questions that we are about handling assets and ensuring we can deliver a national geological survey role. Our preferred option was not contested.

With respect to the BGS science strategy, there was support, but also questions about how we will represent our uncertainty in models or more open databases in general. We explained that we were also working on this problem as part of our rapidly developing National Geological Model which will be increasingly open, fed in part through open-sourced information and delivered by smart web services.

All in all 2013 -14 was a good year for BGS and I thank our staff for their excellent contributions.

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