About Our Research

In the School of GeoSciences we explore the factors and forces that shape our world and the environments in which we live.

Who we are

We aim to develop a better understanding of the coupled Earth System, that is, the interactions between the Earth’s geology, atmosphere, oceans, biosphere and cryosphere, the drivers of variability and change, and the roles and responses of humans in this complex interplay. With over 400 academics, researchers and research students, we are the largest grouping of geoscientists in the UK.

Distinctive features

A distinguishing, possibly unique, feature of the School is the combination of breadth, relevance and strength of our research. For example, our research embraces issues relating to equality and vulnerability, development and sustainability, climate and environmental change, energy, food and water security, mitigation of anthropogenic environmental change, natural resources, waste management, and natural disasters.

By creating and supporting an intellectual environment that explicitly strives to remove barriers between disciplines, engenders ambition, and encourages internal and external collaboration, we are ideally placed to help lead in addressing some of the most compelling issues of our time.

We are able to address the ‘grand challenges’ effectively though: building on strong core disciplines that include ecology, environmental sciences, geography, geology, geophysics, meteorology and oceanography; utilising approaches that range from whole-system-scale modelling to process studies and critical analysis; and actively fostering collaboration with academic and non-academic stakeholders within and beyond the University.

We are dedicated to conducting research that seeks to understand the interconnected processes that shape our planet. Through sharing this understanding with others, we strive to help humanity find a path to a shared sustainable future in a changing world.

Top ranking

The School of GeoSciences has been identified by the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014 assessment as having the UK's greatest concentration of excellent researchers in its subject areas. Some 78 per cent of the School’s research activity is in the highest categories - 4* and 3*- which are classified as ‘world leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’, with 100% of our research environment in these categories.

The School’s submission to Unit of Assessment B7 - spanning the range of geography, earth systems and environmental sciences - reflects the exceptional breadth and strength of the School.

Research Excellence Framework 2014

Rankings reaffirm Edinburgh's place as global leader

Research Centres and Consortia




Research Impact

Selected examples of the impact of our research


Our staff are involved in many different research centres and project consortia involving universities and other institutions around the globe. Our research centres facilitate research programmes across disciplines and between institutions.


We are exceptionally well-equipped with the latest technologies to enable our researchers to stay at the forefront of their fields.