ICRAG seminar: debating forthcoming challenges for geosciences under the next EU framework programme


iCRAG, the Irish Centre for Research in Applied Geosciences, has hosted a seminar on the theme of “Exploring Geoscience Collaboration Opportunities in EU Programmes”, on 26 February 2019 in Brussels. The event discussed how nowadays challenges regarding environmental protection and climate change impact natural resource management globally and how this will be reflected in the forthcoming Horizon Europe framework programme for research and innovation. The seminar also aimed at presenting iCRAG’s achievements to date and presenting initial concepts for future Horizon Europe projects.

In his opening speech, iCRAG Director Professor Murray Hitzman emphasised how geosciences can help to fulfil the Sustainable Development Goals, emphasising especially the need to accelerate the transition to a low-carbon economy. He identified geothermal energy as a key resource in this regard and highlighted the development of machine learning as an instrument to boost Europe’s competitiveness in clean energy technologies.  Lastly, he pointed out the need for interdisciplinary collaborations to ensure that research is driven by relevant social perspectives, not just technical challenges. The latter coincides with the need to adopt a citizen-centric approach to science and to consider social acceptance and the Social License to Operate (SLO) as key aspects.

During the first part of the morning, an overview was provided of how priorities are changing, the key importance of supplying Europe with domestic mineral raw materials, social acceptance for mineral exploration and exploitation, and how to promote these topics towards the young generations.

The panel expressed a strong invitation to the world of geosciences to consider the need for real-time monitoring networks that take into account atmosphere, ground-surface, subsurface, and even the deep ocean, considering that all these portions of the earth play a fundamental role in climate change and are intrinsically linked to keep the habitat in good health conditions.

In the following session, opportunities for new investments, market and research orientation were debated. The oil and gas industry was for example encouraged to lead the aim of zero emissions by using new technologies. The iCRAG centre introduced itself as a potential host for European researches due to their good facilities and connections among Irish partners and stakeholders.

EFG was present in the seminar with its project officers, Domenico Marchese and Alberto Sanchez. They had the chance to exchange with other attendees, and especially with the European Geologist (EurGeol) Nick O’Neil about EFG’s Panels of Experts and the Federation’s key activities.

The Federation thanks iCRAG and Intelligence in Science (ISC) for organising the seminar and inviting its staff to attend the event.

iCRAG is the Irish Centre for Research in Applied Geosciences funded by Science Foundation Ireland and co-funded under the European Regional Development Fund. Established in 2015, iCRAG is Ireland’s national geosciences research centre, comprising 150 researchers and collaborating with more than 50 industry partners. Its vision is to become a world leader in applied geosciences research, securing maximum benefit from our natural resources while protecting the environment.

For more information visit: https://www.icrag-centre.org/