Work starts on world-leading new Lyell Centre

Published: 21 January 2015

The Centre will be the Scottish headquarters for the British Geological Survey (BGS) as well as a major joint BGS/Heriot-Watt University research centre for geological, petroleum and marine sciences.

Scheduled for completion in early 2016, the Centre will establish in Scotland a global centre of excellence based on research synergies and collaboration. It will bring together key expertise from both institutions as well as an £8.5m investment in top-level academic recruitment from around the world, providing a huge opportunity for earth and marine science in general and for Scotland in particular.

The emphasis of the Centre’s work will be at the intersection of the earth and marine sciences. Research in the Lyell Centre will play a key role in finding pragmatic solutions and providing evidence-based informed and reliable opinions in areas of energy supply, environmental impact and global climate change, where inputs have traditionally been polarised. Its work will be both socially and industrially relevant at national and international scales.

Professor Steve Chapman, Principal of Heriot-Watt University, said, “This is the physical start of a tremendous project, and is the result of many months of dedicated work behind the scenes.

“The Lyell Centre will provide a huge opportunity for earth and marine science in Scotland and globally, commensurate with Heriot-Watt’s international standing and global reach.”

John Ludden, Executive Director BGS, said, “It is a pleasure to see work begin on the British Geological Survey’s new home in Scotland. Our facilities and our staff, currently at several sites across Edinburgh, will be united here at The Lyell Centre alongside research teams from Heriot-Watt University. This tremendous opportunity will broaden our science base and create an innovative hub of world-leading research in the geosciences in Scotland. ”

The Lyell Centre is funded by Heriot-Watt University, BGS, the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and Scottish Funding Council (SFC). Additional funding of £8.5m will also underpin investment in top-level academic staff recruitment and student research positions. The global recruitment campaign for the Lyell Centre was launched in December 2014.

The Centre will house the British Geological Survey (Scotland) and staff from the University’s Schools of Energy, Geoscience, Infrastructure & Society and Life Sciences. As well as providing new office and laboratory facilities the Lyell Centre will incorporate a new 50,000 litre climate change research aquarium, the UK NERC Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Oil and Gas, a high level industry engagement and training initiative for the oil and gas sector, and the Shell Centre for Exploration Geoscience.


Source: Heriot-Watt University


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