An outstanding reputation for excellence in teaching and research
Durham Earth Sciences comprises around 32 academic staff, 30 research staff and 90 PhD students. It is one of the very best UK Earth Science departments with an outstanding reputation for excellence in teaching, research and both the satisfaction and employability of its students. It is regularly ranked in the top 5 of UK departments and is within the global top 30.
We hope to help shape the future by providing the highest quality education for our students and by undertaking research which is intrinsically excellent and which also impacts society. We want to do this within a collegiate, collaborative and flexible working environment.
The Department is committed to providing the highest level of education to its students, giving them the knowledge, skills and confidence to contribute positively to the world beyond Durham. We provide research-led teaching with a large proportion of practical classes and a deep commitment to field-based teaching. We regularly receive > 90% satisfaction scores on the annual National Student Survey and our students are highly sought after by a range of employers.
Our external board of 10 industry, academic and government advisors helps us to understand the external factors which influence education and research. With our own vision and their guidance, we are flexible in our approach and aim to hire staff to share that vision and contribute to a successful future.
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Research is driven by around 35 academic staff, 30 research and technical staff and 90 PhD students. Our work covers a broad spectrum of the Earth Sciences around four broad themes: Solid Earth; Climate and Environmental Change; Geoenergy, Resources and Waste; Geohazards. The themes reflect our aim to not only undertake fundamental and intrinsically excellent research, but also research which is relevant to and which impacts society. We collaborate widely across the globe, and within Durham, we perform cross-disciplinary work within the Institute of Hazard, Risk and Resilience and the Durham Energy Institute Our research is underpinned by a wide range of analytical facilities which include state of the art geochemical, geophysical, rock mechanics, rheological and imaging facilities, many of which are detailed here We also work closely with other departments to provide access to a very wide range of ideas and equipment.
We are a leading Earth Science Department with researchers and teachers of the highest international calibre housed in a new, state-of-the-art building with bespoke facilities. We teach a cohort of very well-qualified students in 5 undergraduate Honours degree programmes: Geology BSc; Geoscience MSci; Earth Sciences BSc; Environmental Geosciences BSc; Geophysics with Geology BSc. Admissions to Durham are highly sought after, and we typically register 80 students each year, while also participating in the University’s prestigious Natural Sciences Programme. Major research units in the Department include: the Centre for Research in Earth Energy Systems and the Terrestrial Laser Scanning facility . The Department co-hosts the UK Ocean-Bottom Instrumentation Consortium and is a key collaborator in the University-wide the Institute for Hazard, Risk & Resilience and Durham Energy Institute.
Durham Earth Sciences is currently host to numerous large projects which are a major part of the active research being undertaken in the department.
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The Earth Sciences building is laid out in a way intended to maximise the effectiveness and delivery of research. Academic staff, PDRAs and PhD students) are located on Level 3 of the Earth Sciences building. Academic staff are assigned individual, glass-fronted offices which open onto two large open plan areas where their postgraduate students have desks, whilst postdoctoral researchers are housed in three spacious multi-occupancy offices at either end of the building. The co-location of staff, postdocs and students, ranging from professors to first year PhD students, lends itself naturally to the development of a collegial and mutually-supportive research environment. Research support and administrative staff are accommodated on Level 2, which includes four large teaching and seminar spaces, whilst technical staff are housed on Level 1 where the main research equipment facilities are located in purpose-built laboratories.
Our community is around 35 academic staff, 30 research & technical staff, and 10 professional service staff who work together to provide a vibrant atmosphere in which to teach and to undertake research. We want colleagues to develop their full potential in both education and research and thus provide both formal and informal support through mentors, research groups and professional service staff; many of our full Professors have been promoted through the ranks. We also provide support by responding sensitively and supportively to requests for flexible working, fractional contracts, shared parental leave, reasonable adjustments to work on health grounds and so forth. We are a member of the Athena SWAN Charter, currently holding a departmental Bronze Athena SWAN award.