School of GeoSciences Research

Global Change Institute

The Global Change Research Institute is a grouping of over 200 researchers whose overarching mission is to understand past, present and future changes in the Earth system, and to inform mitigation strategies for future change.

We host longstanding programmes in understanding how the atmosphere, biosphere, cryosphere, land surface and oceans have interacted in the past, in monitoring their current behaviour, and in developing predictions of their future dynamics. 

Building on these scientific foundations, we further engage in interdisciplinary research focussed on mitigating the many challenges posed by the global climate emergency, environmental hazards, inequalities, conservation and sustainability.

Our research extends throughout the world, over the seven continents, across all the oceans, from the poles to the equator,  and from the deep Earth to the upper atmosphere. 

Our members comprise around 100 academic and research staff, and around 130 postgraduate researchers. We research and teach across all GeoSciences disciplines including ecology, environmental science, geography, geology, geophysics and meteorology.   Due to the interdisciplinary nature of our research, our academic staff may belong to one or more groups across other institutes at the School.

Our research programmes typically involve field work, remote sensing, in situ monitoring, laboratory experimentation and analysis, theory, modelling and stakeholder engagement. 

Within the Institute, we exchange knowledge regularly in weekly seminar programmes and smaller research group discussions.  Twice-yearly, the Institute also comes together for the Global Change Symposia, where our students, staff and stakeholders discuss their latest developments and outline new grand challenges.

Our research groups

Due to the interdisciplinary nature of our research, academic staff may belong to one or more groups across our School institutes.

Atmospheric Chemistry and Climate of the Anthropocene

The Atmospheric Chemistry and Climate of the Anthropocene research group investigates key processes and drivers in the atmosphere and climate system, and predicts present-day and future changes in climate, atmospheric composition and air quality.


The Biosphere research group represents all life on Earth and the interface between the physical earth and the atmosphere. We push the frontiers of research on soils, freshwater, microbes and plants, their interactions and their role in the entire Earth system.


The Cryosphere research group combines field, satellite remote sensing, geophysical, geochronological and numerical modelling techniques to investigate how the cryosphere will be affected by predicted climate change, and to inform possible consequences on our society with respect to sea-level rise and water resources.

Land Surface Dynamics

The Land Surface Dynamics research group is focused on determining the Earth surface response to climatic and tectonic forcing in terms of erosional and sedimentary fluxes and the consequent geomorphology of the continents.

Oceans and Past Climate

The Oceans and Past Climate research group consists of researchers from a diverse range of backgrounds (oceanography, ecology, geochemistry, geology), who share an interest in developing an understanding of the oceans and their role in modulating and driving global environmental variability and change.

Environmental Change and Societal Transitions Research Group

We also form part of the Environmental Change and Societal Transitions research group within the Geography and Lived Environment Institute.

Environmental Change and Societal Transitions is an interdisciplinary group that explores the relationship between people, the environment and technology.  Our group consist of ecologists, human geographers, geographical information systems (GIS) specialists, political scientists, remote sensing scientists and anthropologists.

Visit the Environmental Change and Societal Transitions research group