New £21m Lyell Centre ‘to spearhead new energy evolution’ is opened in Edinburgh by Scotland’s deputy first minster

John Swinney, Deputy Scottish First Minister, with Dr Heidi Burdett at the Lyell Centre aquarium.
John Swinney, Deputy Scottish First Minister, with Dr Heidi Burdett at the Lyell Centre aquarium.

A new £21 million global research centre for earth and marine science and technology based at Edinburgh’s Heriot-Watt University has been opened officially by the Scotland’s Deputy First Minister John Swinney. 

Bringing together the expertise of the British Geological Survey with the academic innovation of Heriot-Watt, the Lyell Centre will tackle some of the major issues of natural resource and energy supply and security in a sustainable way.

Work underway at Lyell by world leading academics and scientists is already looking at solutions to critical global problems – from protecting coastal ecosystems, to understanding how our inland waterways will cope with future needs; from tackling the effects of climate change in Sub-Saharan Africa to finding deep-sea mining solutions that work within our global environment. 

With Heriot-Watt being the first university in the UK to make a financial investment in tackling energy issues of this nature, the merger with BGS has brought to Edinburgh the only facility in Scotland where actual deep ocean floor drilling is mirrored within the research laboratories of the campus, supported by new, cutting edge analytical facilities including the largest, most advanced research aquarium in the UK.

Swinney said: “By bringing environmental scientists and technologists together, the Lyell Centre sets itself apart as a leading centre for research and expertise with a bold vision to spearhead the new energy evolution and breed a new era of multi-disciplinary collaboration in land and marine conservation, geology and geoscience.

“It provides Scotland with a strong platform for solving complex challenges and aims to be at the frontline of delivering future energy needs. That is why I am proud the Scot-Government, through the Scottish Funding Council, has provided £3.5 million towards the Centre which will contribute not just to Scotland’s needs but those of the wider world as well.”

The purpose-built £21 million Lyell Centre enables Heriot-Watt University and BGS to fully integrate their individual capabilities and combined inter-disciplinary expertise in land and marine conservation, geology and geoscience. Joint funders of the facility include the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), the Scottish Funding Council (SFC) and Heriot-Watt University.

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