Earth Science Europe the next steps: Towards an Earth Science Board and a voice in Europe for Earth Science

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Vicky Hards

British Geological Survey, United Kingdom

The EPOS Newsletter issue 01
July 2016 | Article 05

People like to dream: about the origin of the Earth, the universe and life itself People need to be safe: from natural hazards especially catastrophic events People want to be comfortable: to have a secure supply of energy, water and raw materials

Earth science research helps underpin all of this.

Earth Science Europe (ESE) is a grass-roots initiative. Through the process, begun in October 2012 and subsequent actions, the solid-Earth science community has begun to self-organize behind some key science initiatives and to define the infrastructure needs and overarching vision for solid-Earth science in Europe. ESE aims to provide a voice for the community in Europe, to promote collaboration across the spectrum of research and the translation of geological data and knowledge delivery. The community includes representatives of many European organizations and associations including EGU, EAGE, EuroGeoSurveys, EAG, EFG, European projects and programmes and research infrastructures (including as a key proponent, EPOS), cutting-edge scientists in our field including ERC award-holders, and industry representatives.

The community has already identified the key themes for the next 20 years:

  • Integration of research and monitoring efforts
  • Harmonisation of methodologies – sharing best practice
  • Data and sample sharing – and storage/archiving
  • Sharing/establish shared facilities - greater integration

And the drivers:

  • Earth Science to underpin resource security
  • Earth Science for a safer society

Engaging with users of Earth science will drive the agenda.

This most recent ESE meeting at EGU 2016 sought to take the process forward, and represented the first step toward the formation of a platform to represent Earth Science and Scientists in Europe, to ensure our voice is heard and our influence felt.

An Earth Science Board (ESB)
It was agreed that the overarching aim was to have a platform for which the Earth-science community can publish statements on relevant topics as one voice, which will carry more weight than statements made by individual organisations. It should give “official” recognition to publication of position papers.

The current European Marine Board ( is cited as an example of how a broad range of organisations can be brought together. An Earth Science Board (ESB) should not be limited to earth sciences, but should also include “interface” sciences such as hydrology, soil science, etc. It was proposed that members should include major organisations from academia, national academies, professional organisations, industrial associations etc., but not private companies.

The Board should be a platform to explore novel ideas and concepts requiring joint research effort and that might also have far reaching socio-economic impacts.

Proposed Mandate: 
To provide a pan-European platform for its member organisations to develop common priorities, to advance solid earth science research and to bridge the gap between science and policy, in order to meet future earth science challenges and opportunities. It should be a platform for European engagement in international science programmes and provides strategic science policy advice to the European Commission, National Governments and international bodies.

The preparation of a formal White Paper outlining the (solid) Earth Science Board for, including its composition is now ongoing and will include:

  • Membership
  • Funding model
  • Statutes
  • Activities

Membership of c.10-20 proposed.


  • Sectors to represent
  • Organisations
  • People
  • Geographic spread

If you would like to contribute or comment please contact Vicky Hards, BGS, ESE Coordinator