Geology for Global Development

Geology for Global Development

GfGD Annual Conference – Session 4 Details

30-09-2015 20-59-07Our 3rd Annual Conference, with the theme Fighting Global Poverty – Geology and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) takes place on Friday 30th October, hosted by the Geological Society of London. 

Session 4 will be a short interactive session with the theme:

“How should the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) shape… geoscience education, research, industry practice, NGO engagement?“.

Over the next year we will be developing a strategy for GfGD’s work that seeks to mobilise and equip the broader geology community to help achieve the SDGs. Session 4 is a great opportunity for delegates to start feeding into this. We’re looking for your ideas and perspectives on how the SDGs should shape… 

  • Geoscience education
  • Research
  • Industry practice
  • NGO engagement.
This short, interactive session will involve small-group discussions, creative thinking and a handful of large posters for you to scribble as many ideas as possible. Come prepared to talk, share ideas and get creative!


Register Now:

GfGD Annual Conference – Speaker Introductions (Session 3)

Our 3rd Annual Conference, with the theme Fighting Global Poverty – Geology and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) takes place on Friday 30th October, hosted by the Geological Society of London. Here we introduce the speakers taking part in Session 3, mini-presentations and a panel discussion on ‘Geohazards and Disasters: From Sendai to the SDGs’…

JulieCalkinsDr Julie Calkins (Disaster Risk Reduction Research Fellow, UK Collaborative on Development Sciences)

Julie has a fascinating background, having gained BSc and MSc degrees in geochemistry and a PhD in Environmental Science and Management. She has previously worked at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on ocean remote-sensing and health impacts surveillance, as well as for the US Geological Survey, the British Antarctic Survey and the US Antarctic Program. Julie’s current work at the UKCDS involves works with UN agencies, governmental and non-governmental stakeholders to enhance the role of science in disaster risk reduction, both within the UK and globally.

Read more about Julie’s work here:

julia-hallJulia Hall (Senior Consultant, Risk Management Solutions)

Julia Hall is a senior consultant at RMS where she advises on the use of catastrophe modelling techniques and solutions. Although based in London, she has worked with many global (re)insurance companies and public and academic partners on disaster risk management. Recently, Julia applied learnings from insurance industry techniques and made recommendations for the post-2015 UN frameworks on setting, measuring and monitoring targets for Disaster Risk Reduction. During the World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Sendai earlier this year, she presented on ‘The Challenges of Measuring Disaster Risk’ and was involved in a panel discussion on ‘Measuring Disaster Resilience’. Julia holds a MSci in Natural Sciences, with a specialism in geology, from the University of Cambridge.

We recommend this background reading, co-authored by Julia: Setting, Measuring and Monitoring Targets for DRR

Emma Visman (Visiting Senior Research Fellow, Department of Geography, King’s College London)

Emma has been working with humanitarian and development operational and policy research organisations for more than twenty years, including with Save the Children programmes in Iraq, Somalia, Angola, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. From 2005-2014 she worked with the Humanitarian Futures Programme, King’s College London. Between 2011-14 she was awarded a Knowledge Exchange Fellowship with the UK Natural Environment Research Council to support strengthened dialogue between the providers and users of science for strengthening resilience amongst at risk groups. Emma has a BA in Swahili and African Art and Archaeology from the School of Oriental and African Studies and an MA in the Theory and Practice of Human Rights from the University of Essex.

Read more about Emma’s work:

Register Now:

(Please note that many of our speakers are involved in work that requires them to travel overseas at short notice. The programme/speakers may change at short notice).

GfGD Annual Conference 2015 – Speaker Introductions (Session 2)

Our 3rd Annual Conference, with the theme Fighting Global Poverty – Geology and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) takes place on Friday 30th October, hosted by the Geological Society of London. Here we introduce the speakers taking part in Session 2, a panel discussion on ‘Geology and the SDGs’…

KateRoyseBGSDr Katherine Royse (Science Director – Environmental Modelling, British Geological Survey)

Dr Katherine Royse’s work takes a multidisciplinary approach to model the environment and better understand Earth’s response to environmental change. She has held a number of other roles at the BGS, including Team Leader for Urban Development. She was recently elected to the council (Trustees) of the Geological Society of London. Katherine will bring an important expertise in urban geoscience for sustainable development. We recommend this background reading: Royse et al., 2013, Can sustainable development be achieved if geology is ignored?

Read more about Katherine’s work:

724Roger Calow (Head of Water Policy, Overseas Development Institute)

In addition to Roger’s work at the ODI, he is an Honorary Research Associate at the British Geological Survey. He has over 20 years’ experience on international research and development projects in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Roger will bring a detailed knowledge of water resource management, service delivery and water and poverty issues in developing countries.

Read more about Roger’s work:

4583Dr Michael Watts (Environmental Chemist, British Geological Survey)

Dr Michael Watts is head of the inorganic geochemistry laboratories at the BGS. He has a specific interest in geochemistry relating to human health and food security, such as assessing risk & routes of exposure to elements such as arsenic, and micronutrient deficiencies, linked to malnutrition and food security. Given the importance of food security, ending malnutrition and improving public health, Michael’s contribution to this panel discussion will be very valuable.

Read more about Michael’s work:

31af0b8Hannah Mottram (Climate Science Adviser, Department for Energy and Climate Change)

Hannah Mottram is currently a Climate Science Adviser at the UK Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC), and will soon be starting a new position at CAFOD as their Sustainable Energy Policy Analyst. Hannah brings to this discussion an expertise in energy and climate issues relevant to geoscientists.

Read more about DECC:

Read more about CAFOD’s Energy/Climate Change Work:

Register Now:

(Please note that many of our speakers are involved in work that requires them to travel overseas at short notice. The programme/speakers may change at short notice).

Guest Blog: Micronutrients, Malnutrition and Geology

DSC_0494In January 2015, GfGD took a small group of members to a discussion event hosted by the British Geological Survey, on best practice in international development. Ben Clarke and Eleri Simpson, then final year undergraduates at the University of Leicester (UK) joined the event to share about their fantastic work in Vanuatu. Here they write a guest blog about one presentation that caught their interest… 

Mélanges, magmas and micrites are all familiar terms in geology, but what have micronutrients got do with anything? Quite a lot it appears. This is one of the least known aspects of study that the British Geological Survey (BGS) undertakes, and formed one of many fascinating discussions held between BGS and GfGD on a rainy day in January.

Micronutrients are the substances we all need, in small amounts, to develop properly; from Vitamin A to Zinc they decide whether we develop and maintain an immune system, a fully functioning brain and even whether we can see or not. It seems imperative therefore, that we get enough of them. This isn’t the always the case, in fact it’s estimated that in excess of two billion people on Earth don’t receive enough 1. What’s more is the effect can be measured economically: economic loss associated with micronutrient malnutrition is thought to amount to 2.5% of India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) 2; to bring this into perspective this amounts to about £15 billion in 2007. But why? If children don’t receive enough Iron or Iodine, their cognitive development is impaired, they don’t achieve academically at school and they don’t become the scientists, doctors and business-people that the country needs to flourish. If adults don’t get enough Iron or Vitamin A, they become tired and are ill more regularly, straining any medical system that may exist and reducing productivity. It seems not just because of the day-to-day effects of such malnutrition on humans, but also the economic effects on entire countries to be in everyone’s interest to tackle the problem.

Picture5So where do we get these substances from? This is where geology comes in. We receive micronutrients from the foods we eat, but the concentration of them in food depends on the soil it’s grown in. If you want to understand the soil, speak to a soil scientist. Dr Michael Watts, a geochemist at the BGS works in partnership with scientists from universities in Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe to study the problem and to find simple solutions that can be easily implemented on a local level. Methods such as using enriched fertilizers and planting crops that more readily absorb micronutrients in the soil have the potential to vastly change lives on a local level, and if scaled up may produce enormous regional impacts. But for such schemes to be sustainable, it requires local initiative, and because of this the BGS aims to fund doctoral training programmes and PhD exchange schemes for African students so that in time these countries have the expertise to tackle the problems themselves.

It’s great to see that research like this is being so thoughtfully and effectively undertaken by the BGS but we can’t sit on our laurels, micronutrient deficiency isn’t just a problem in Africa: Bangladesh, Honduras, India and many other countries also suffer. Far more work is still required by the next generation of geologists, biologists, chemists and anthropologists to enrich our diets. It’s surprising what you might learn on a rainy day in January.

1 Kennedy, G., Nantel, G., Shetty, P. 2003. The scourge of “hidden hunger”: global dimensions of micronutrient deficiencies. Food, Nutrition and Agriculture (FAO). 1014-806X, (no.32) p. 8-16.

2 Stein, A., Qaim, M. 2007. The human and economic cost of hidden hunger. Food and Nutrition Bulletin, vol. 28, no. 2, p. 125-134

Dr Michael Watts will be joining the 3rd GfGD Annual Conference (Friday 30th October 2015, The Geological Society, Burlington House, London). He will be joining a panel discussion on geology and the Sustainable Development Goals. Information and registration details here.

Editors Note (3:10pm, 4th Sept 2015): There is an excellent blog on the BGS website also discussing this theme.


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