Geology for Global Development

GfGD General

A Christmas Message from GfGD

We will be taking a break from blogging until the New Year, and we wanted to take this chance to wish all of our readers a very merry Christmas.

In 2012 we ran our first blog competition, expanded our university group network, organised our first GfGD placement, established a national committee and re-housed our blog within the EGU Blog network. Joel Gill, GfGD Director, wishes to end 2012 with a personal message of thanks:

As we reach the end of a busy year, I’d like to express my sincere gratitude for the help and support offered by so many people. The contributions from our Advisory Group, National Committee, University Ambassadors, guest bloggers and many others are valued so highly, and have been crucial in establishing GfGD and developing our work.

As 2013 approaches, here are some New Year’s Resolutions from our National Committee:

Joel (Director): Strong partnerships are essential to meeting each one of our objectives, and I look forward to continuing to invest in them throughout 2013.

Ellie (Secretary): My hope is that 2013 is the year GfGD is able to host their very own conference highlighting the importance of geosciences and development, through the support of private sector partnerships, university groups and general members.

Tim (Advocacy Officer):  It is my hope that through our advocacy work we can make governments, charities, NGOs and the media more aware of the many ways in which geoscientists can contribute to international development.

Jane (Communications Officer): I hope to begin a campaign for wider geoscience recognition in high impact multidisciplinary online science networks.

Rosalie (Blog Manager): I hope to encourage people from a wide range of academic backgrounds and from different places around the world to submit guest blogs to our EGU blog.

Faith (University Groups): After a very busy year, I resolve to dedicate more time to supporting and developing resources for our university groups in the new year.

Donald (Publications): In 2013 I hope to produce short publications on each of our key themes, whilst building links with various NGO’s to help them identify and understand the importance of good geoscience in their work.

Marc (Education and Careers): GfGD will strive to not only highlight existing career opportunities for young geoscientists, but to encourage people working in the development sector to provide opportunities for young geoscientists to get involved in their work.

We look forward to returning on the 7th January 2013. If there is any significant news or events that GfGD are commenting on, it will be through our website press centre –

We hope you all find some time to relax with family and friends over the coming week. From all of the GfGD team: Have a very merry Christmas and a happy new year.

Going to This Year’s AGU Meeting?

The American Geophysical Union (AGU) convenes this week for their 45th annual fall meeting – the world’s largest international gathering of Earth scientists. Geoscientists from all around the world will be sharing their latest research and catching up with colleagues from other institutions.

There will be plenty of talks relevant to GfGD. We’ve picked our highlights from the schedule:

Tuesday 4th:

U22B Communicating Geohazard Risk Assessments: Lessons Learned From the Verdicts in the L”Aquila Earthquake Case

U24A Challenges and Opportunities for Energy and Resource Recovery

Wednesday 5th:

U33A Unsolved and Emerging Problems in Water

Thursday 6th:

U41A Electricity, Water, and Climate

U42A Fossil Fuel Production, Economic Growth, and Climate Change

All of these sessions are designed to be accessible to geoscientists from all backgrounds.


We invite you to guest blog for us from AGU [email]. We would be interested to hear short summaries of relevant talks or more in depth discussions about topics that particularly interest you. Photos are also welcome!

Introducing the GfGD National Committee (2)

We have advertised a range of positions on our national committee over the past month. The positions have been filled by enthusiastic, dedicated people and the team will be working together for the year ahead. Having a national committee will increase both the capacity of GfGD to produce resources and support University groups, and also the number of opportunities for you to become involved with our work. Last week we introduced the communications team, myself (Rosalie Tostevin) and Jane Robb, and this week we are pleased to announce the rest of the committee.


Joel Gill is the Founder and Director of GfGD. Joel studied Natural Sciences at the University of Cambridge, followed by a Master’s degree in Engineering Geology at Leeds University. Joel is now researching multi-hazard models for small urban areas as part of his PhD at King’s College London.  Joel established Geology for Global Development in 2011, and is currently responsible for the overall leadership and strategic development of our work. Joel will be continuing to direct the organisation, working closely with and receiving support from our new secretary, Ellie Murtagh.

Ellie Murtagh is an Irish American, who has recently graduated with a degree in Geology and Physical Geography from the University of Edinburgh. Ellie has experience working in a hospital in Vietnam and as a climate researcher in Tajikistan. She now works as a graduate geologist for a geophysical service provider for the oil, gas and mining industries. Ellie undertook our CAFOD placement earlier this year and proved to be an excellent test case for UK-based student placements, achieving an incredible amount in a short time.

Faith Taylor will be managing our University Groups. Faith is a PhD student at King’s College London, where she is developing a model to understand the probability of landslides impacting road networks.  Faith will be offering support, advice and resources to both new and existing GfGD University Groups. We are always looking to expand our network of University groups, and Faith would be happy to provide the necessary support if you would like to establish a new group at your university.

Tim Middleton will be our Advocacy Development officer. Tim is a first year PhD student in the Department of Earth Sciences at Oxford University. He spends his time studying active tectonics in central and eastern Asia, including some rather exciting fieldwork in Kazakhstan and China! Tim will be coordinating our advocacy programme and campaigns, engaging young geoscientists in effective advocacy work – including the scrutiny of government legislation, getting involved in major campaigns, and promoting good geoscience within development work. Tim has a strong background in science communication and will be able to help us put our message across in the right places.

Donald John MacAllister will be our Publications and Resources Officer. Donald has a BSc in Geophysics from the University of Edinburgh and an MSc in Water Management from Cranfield University. He has spent three years working as a hydrologist and water engineer, both in the UK and in the international development sector. Donald will be developing the resources and publications that we make available to NGOs, after careful consideration of the requirements of NGOs.

Marc Leach will be our dedicated Education & Careers Officer. Marc is a recent graduate of the University of Manchester with a BSc in Geology, who is planning on undertaking an MSc starting in 2013. His primary interests include Hydrogeology and Engineering Geology, and he has experience working with the mining industry as well as for charities. Marc will be working to develop our education and careers resources, including highlighting and advertising relevant Master’s courses, collating careers advice from those in the development sector and helping students to understand the various career pathways that exist.

 You can hear more from each of our committee members on the dedicated area of the GfGD website. If you want to be more involved with the work of GfGD, then please don’t hesitate to get in touch with one of us.

Introducing the GfGD National Committee (1)

Geology for Global Development has now been operating for around 18 months. In such a short time, the Founder and Director, Joel Gill, has overseen vast amounts of growth. GfGD has expanded beyond its initial horizons and so we have established a national committee. These positions were advertised through the blog over the past few months and have been enthusiastically taken up by a team of dedicated people. This means a big change in the way GfGD is run, and guided by the experience that Joel has picked up over the whirlwind first 18 months, we will now be able to work together to take GfGD even further.

I have been appointed as the Deputy Communications Officer. This means I work with our Communications Officer, Jane Robb, to deliver GfGD’s communications strategy. Jane will be responsible for overseeing all aspects of our communications. This will involve managing the website, social media (Facebook and Twitter) and newsletters, and thinking strategically about how we best get our message across to various groups. Her role is very much a cross-cutting one, and she’ll work to support the whole team in improving how we communicate the GfGD vision.

The blog has been a major part of GfGD’s work, and since Joel’s first post back in February 2011, we have had over  61,000 pageviews. We have now moved the blog to a new home, in the EGU Blog Network, where we will hopefully receive an even wider readership. The blog focuses on the intersection of Earth science with human lives, and exists to inform people about GfGD’s work, to spread the word about news and opportunities for geoscientists in the development sector and to raise awareness of different ethical issues relevant to geoscience.

I will be managing the blog, continuing to publish articles and photos three times a week. As before, you are welcome to submit guest blogs, photos, interviews and book reviews to be published on our blog. You can also volunteer to be a regular columnist, alongside Dan Sharpe and Alex Stubbings. We have a wide readership and want to reflect that by having a wide variety of posts from different people and places, so please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

This is my first post in charge of the blog, and I want to take the chance to introduce the new committee over the coming week, starting with the communications team: Myself and Jane Robb.

Communications Officer: Jane Robb

Jane has a BSc (Hons) in Geology from the University of Edinburgh and an MRes in Heritage Science from The Bartlett at UCL. She has four years’ experience in science communication in science centers, museums, teaching and developing resources for formal and informal secondary education. She is a published author in several science and cultural heritage publications, a fellow of the Geological Society of London, the Science Group web editor for the Institute of Conservation and responsible for implementing student experience initiatives and improving pedagogical practice across The Bartlett at UCL as their new Student Experience Fellow.

At GfGD, Jane’s role as Communications Officer on the National Committee has her overseeing all aspects of their communications: managing the website, social media, newsletters and thinking strategically about how to most effectively communicate GfGD’s vision to the wider community.

Deputy Communications Officer: Rosalie Tostevin

 I am a PhD student at University College London (UCL). My research ranges from modelling the sulphur cycle in the modern ocean to reconstructing seawater chemistry up to a billion years ago. I did my undergraduate Master’s degree at the University of Cambridge, where I worked on ‘Timetruck’, the department’s outreach programme. I have also spent time working in industry, as part of BP’s North Africa exploration unit.

This year, I have been working to build up the GfGD group at UCL, and I’m now joining our National Committee. I will manage the blog, and aim to encourage young geologists to enter the development sector, showcase good geoscience and bring you the latest news and opportunities in development and science communication. If you want to contribute to the blog, you can contact me by emailing blog[at]