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Society announces new scientific theme on “Geohazards, Geoengineering and Georesilience”

31 March 2021

The Geological Society is pleased to announce the second new, multi-year theme for Society activities – Geohazards, Geoengineering and Georesilience. This is a complex and broad theme, and to acknowledge this, the Geological Society have nominated a team of three scientists to lead the multiple strands of the programme: Dr Anna Hicks (British Geological Survey) theme leader, and two deputy theme leaders - Dr Aggie Georgiopoulou (University of Brighton) and Dr Irene Manzella (University of Plymouth).

The nexus of geoscience and society is dynamic and intricate. As the human population expands and develops, so too does the number and intensity of interactions that we have with our environment. This can serve to increase the exposure and vulnerability of people to geo (and other) hazards. Dr Anna Hicks, Disaster Risk Reduction Geoscientist at the British Geological Survey says, “it is increasingly urgent that we develop joined up responses to address problems such as disaster risk. I am keen to develop this theme to explore and advance the many ways that geoscientists can work with others to reduce risk to hazards. Geoscientists could be good practice leaders when it comes to working with at-risk populations, and we can definitely co-develop solutions to intractable problems, we just need to take a broader and deeper view of them.”

Dr Aggie Georgiopoulou says, “As the needs of society are adjusting in a world of environmental change, so are we, as geoscientists, evolving to meet them. However, in order to become more resilient to the increasing threat of natural hazards, such as landslides, floods, tsunamis, earthquakes, we need to work collaboratively, across disciplines and sectors and I am very excited to be part of this new and visionary endeavour led by the Geological Society.” Aggie is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Brighton with a focus on marine processes and hazards.

Lecturer in Engineering Geology and Geohazards at the University of Plymouth, working on complex and cascading hazards, Dr Manzella says: “Climate change, pandemics and demographic growth are acting in the direction of an increase of vulnerability, risk and number of catastrophic events across the globe. The systemic aspect of these complex hazards has clearly demonstrated the need for truly interdisciplinary and participatory approaches in geoengineering practice to increase resilience and mitigate risk. The new theme of the Geological Society embraces this approach and I am really looking forward to work with my colleagues to tackle these pressing issues. I am also committed in my new role to promote, enhance and support equality, diversity and inclusion within the Society.”

This is one of five new strategic science themes that the Society will support in the coming years, The Society’s Secretary for Science, Dr Alex Whittaker, says of the themes, “These scientific themes are a great opportunity for the Society to engage with major global challenges, to advance the contribution of geosciences, and to work collaboratively towards creative and innovative solutions that inspire and engage current and future geoscientists”.

The Geohazards, Geoengineering and Georesilience theme will see the development of innovative interdisciplinary activities, public engagement events and networking opportunities aimed at bringing together researchers from all disciplines, along with members of the public, NGO’s and policy makers to foster new collaborations and develop cutting-edge knowledge within this broad theme.

In addition to this theme, the Energy Transition theme and others to be announced, the Society’s themed year programme will continue with the Year of Space in 2021 and culminate with the Year of Sustainability in 2022.