EFG facilitates panel discussion and field trip in Edinburgh

On the 6th of September, EFG hosted an insightful panel discussion titled “Fostering Public Trust in Near Surface Industries: A Path Towards Rebuilding the Vital Talent Pipeline Required for the Green Energy Transition.” This engaging event took place at the EAGE Near Surface Conference in the picturesque city of Edinburgh, Scotland, and received the support from EuroGeoSurveys, the European Geosciences Union (EGU) and the European Association of Geoscientists and Engineers (EAGE). This collaborative effort reflects the shared vision of our four organisations, which is to strengthen bonds and enhance cooperation in addressing common challenges. Among these challenges are the anticipated shortage of talent in our field and the need to raise the visibility of geoscience.

The discussion featured four distinguished panellists and drew active participation from 26 attendees. The primary focus was on exploring practical solutions to enhance the image of the near-surface industry. Dr. Amel Barich, one of the panellists, introduced the innovative Social Licence to Operate model developed as part of the CROWDTHERMAL project– an EU-funded initiative coordinated by the European Federation of Geologists from 2019 to 2022. A key takeaway from this conversation was the recognition that improving the public perception of extractive industries could also ignite greater interest among students in the field of geoscience.

Professor Eva Hartai contributed valuable insights from her experiences with the ENGIE project. Her interventions provided the audience with a glimpse into effective communication strategies in the realm of geosciences, emphasising the importance of captivating young minds and kindling their interest in this profession.

The panel discussion was expertly facilitated by Maureen Gallagher, EFG’s Interim Director of Stakeholder Engagement, who ensured a seamless and engaging dialogue throughout the event.

Field trip facilitators Maureen Gallagher (EFG Interim Director of Stakeholder Engagement) and Aaron Johnson (AIPG Executive Director).

In tandem with the panel debate, Maureen Gallagher and Aaron Johnson, the Executive Director of the American Institute of Professional Geologists (AIPG) – a valued affiliated member of EFG – extended an invitation to a field trip on “The Interface Between Geoscience, Human Impacts, and Conservation.” This excursion provided an informal setting for the conversation to persist. Against the backdrop of Siccar Point and Dunbar- renowned as the birthplaces of modern geology and conservation – eleven participants from five continents engaged in a thoughtful discussion about the intrinsic link between geology and nature conservation.

One pivotal theme that emerged during this discourse was the apparent contrast between the acceptance of agriculture’s impact on the landscape and the reluctance to embrace other land uses crucial for the success of the green energy transition, such as the production of critical raw materials. In response, the participants made a collective commitment to actively contribute to a comprehensive solution.