Geology for Global Development

Dr Joel C. Gill

Joel is the Founder/Director of Geology for Global Development (@Geo_Dev) an organisation working to support geologists to make a sustainable contribution to the fight against global poverty. He is an interdisciplinary researcher, with a PhD in geography (natural hazards), and research interests in multi-hazard frameworks, disaster risk reduction, rural water projects, and sustainable development. This work has taken him to Chile, China, Guatemala, India, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda. Joel is currently based at the British Geological Survey, and tweets at @JoelCGill.

35th International Geological Congress (Cape Town, South Africa)

35th International Geological Congress (Cape Town, South Africa)

The past few months have been busy with other work, and unfortunately I’ve not been able to post much on here. I’m hoping to get back to regular posts over the coming weeks, starting with a note on GfGD involvement in the 35th International Geological Congress (IGC) in Cape Town later this month. The IGC takes place every four years, and is a flagship event of the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS).

The 35th IGC, taking place in Cape Town (South Africa) from 27th August 2016 to 4th September 2016, is an exciting opportunity for geoscientists from around the world to meet, share research and exchange ideas. The event will include sessions on geoscience for society, geoscience in the economy and fundamental geoscience – recognising that there are many interactions between these three themes. This is only the third time in the history of the IGC that it has been held in Africa. In 1929, the event was held in Pretoria (South Africa) and in 1952 the event was held in Algeria. It’s an exciting opportunity for South Africa to profile it’s spectacular geology (including Table Mountain in Cape Town), as well as consider the role of geology in supporting development across sub-Saharan Africa.

Geology for Global Development will be playing an active role in the IGC, our first engagement in this international event. Through a successful application to the IGC geohost funding programme, I will be attending to represent GfGD, deliver a workshop, and contribute to sessions on geoethics, geoeducation and natural hazards.

  1. Workshop: Social Responsibility and Sustainability: Education and PracticeThis one-day workshop, run in collaboration with established mineral development expert Mike Katz, will explore ways to introduce socially responsible programs into university education (and other training programmes). It will also discuss skills for sustainability, and consider practical ways by which they can be nurtured.
  2. Talk and Paper Dissemination: Geology and the Sustainable Development Goals. This talk, part of a symposia on geoethics, will outline the importance of geoscientists contributing to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Read the paper (in press in the IUGS journal Episodes) online here.
  3. Talk and Paper Dissemination: Building Good Foundations. This talk, part of a symposia on geoeducation, will share a paper recently published in the Geological Society of America Special Publication 520 on ‘Building Good Foundations: Equipping geoscientists with the skills to engage in international development’.
  4. Talk and Paper Dissemination: Multi-Hazard Interactions. This talk, part of a symposia on geohazards, will present PhD research on the interactions of natural hazards (read more in this open-access Reviews of Geophysics paper) while also highlighting the Young Scientists Platform on DRR to a geoscience audience.

We’ll aim to get as many resources from these events on our website as soon as possible after the IGC.

As a member of the Geological Society of London External Relations Committee I will also be a part of the UK delegation to the IUGS-IGC Council Meetings, examining the work of IUGS initiatives such as Resourcing Future Generations, and groups working on Geoscience Education, Training and Technology Transfer, and Global Geoscience Professionalism.

Where possible I’ll be tweeting from the event (@Geo_Dev and/or @JoelCGill), and sharing more about relevant sessions and events on the blog after I return. If any of our readers will also be attending, and would like to talk more about geology and international development, the UN Sustainable Development Goals, or other relevant geo-topics then please do get in touch.

GfGD at EGU16 – Summary Poster


Attending #EGU16? Come along to one of the events in the image above to find out more about our work, and the role of geoscience in global development frameworks!

Not attending EGU16? 

We’ll be posting slides/poster downloads from all GfGD contributions on our website after the event.

You can see some commentary throughout the week on both the GfGD Twitter feed (@Geo_Dev) and my personal account (@JoelCGill). The main conference tag is #EGU16.

GfGD at the EGU General Assembly 2016

BANNER (1)The EGU General Assembly is an annual gathering of thousands of geoscientists from all over the world, taking place this year in Vienna from 17-22nd April. It has been a regular feature of my personal research calendar since 2012, becoming a great opportunity to also talk about GfGD and learn from others engaged in development activities.

The EGU Programme includes 10,000+ abstracts, covering all disciplines of the Earth, planetary and space sciences, and great debates, press conferences, and multiple short courses. It is an important opportunity for research dissemination, learning and networking.

Here are a few sessions that we are involved in together with others that may be of interest…

Monday 18th April

  • Natural Hazards Education, Communications and Science-Policy-Practice Interface [Details] >> GfGD will be supporting this session through a PICO presentation on ‘Mobilising and equipping young geologists to engage in disaster risk reduction’. Come join the session from 8.30-10.00 in PICO Spot 1. Following this PICO session there will be a splinter meeting for further discussion on relevant topics, details here
  • Geoethics: theoretical and practical aspects from research integrity to relationships between geosciences and society [Details] >> GfGD will be supporting this session through a poster on ‘Increasing the Engagement of Geoscientists in Global Development Frameworks’. Come see it and meet the GfGD team from 13.30-15.00 in Poster Hall D (Poster D32).  
  • Promoting and supporting equality of opportunities in geosciences [Details].
  • Meeting the water needs of a growing global population: groundwater contamination, monitoring, mitigation and adaptation in developing countries [Details].
  • Energy, Resources and the Environment [Details].

Tuesday 19th April

  • Geosciences in the Anthropocene [Details].
  • Plan it Earth: is there enough resource for all? Is it just a matter of planning for the future? [Details]
  • Splinter Meeting for Early Career Scientists working on Natural Hazards [Details]. I’ll be giving a short introductory talk about the work of GfGD in this splinter meeting.

Wednesday 20th April

  • Is global economic growth compatible with a habitable climate? [Details]

Thursday 21st April

  • Working at the science policy interface [Details].
  • Geoscience and the Sustainable Development Goals: Strategies for Eradicating Global Poverty [Details]. We are organising this splinter meeting in cooperation with others from University of Tübingen. This will be an interactive session and we’d love to have your input and ideas.
  • Sergey Soloviev Medal Lecture by Irasema Alcántara-Ayala [Details] >> Landslide risk assessment and landslide disaster risk management: on the missing link between scientific knowledge, decision making and practice.
  • Soil contributions to the UN-sustainable development goals [Details].

The following sessions are based on a preliminary look at the programme, and we’re sure there are many others worth following, depending on your interests!


We’ll be posting slides/poster downloads from all GfGD contributions on our website after the event.

You can see some commentary throughout the week on both the GfGD Twitter feed (@Geo_Dev) and on my personal account (@JoelCGill). The main conference tag is #EGU16.


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