The Institute of Earth and Planetary Sciences (IEPS) research culture is committed to staff engagement in knowledge transfer and exchange, and enterprise to promote, communicate, share and transfer the specialist knowledge and expertise resulting from our research.

We proactively engage with a wide range of user organisations and stakeholders from policy-making, local governmental, industry, educational and community forums.

Case Studies:
Case Studies

Fostering sustainable relationships with industry partners is a vital strand of our approach to delivering knowledge exchange

Within the IEPS, the Aon Benfield UCL Hazard Centre (ABUHC), sponsored by Aon Benfield, provides a direct conduit for the transmission of hazard research findings to the insurance industry

Data and expert knowledge from the University- and Industry-funded Deep-Water Research Group are used by oil companies for training and to produce improved reservoir models, which allows them to better manage and develop their reservoirs, leading to improved company performance.

Our research on deserts to determine the movements of sand dunes are used by engineering and petroleum companies to plan pipeline, road and rail routes and production facilities in sandy deserts where migrating sand dunes are a problem. Pipeline projects are expensive, typically costing $500 million per 100km thus understanding where dunes are most active, predicting sand flux and dune migration to inform planning locations minimises damage caused by blown sand.

Our links with industry includes consultancy and commercialization supported by UCL Business and UCL Consultants (IP, contracting services,   liability insurance and use of institutional resources). Since 2008 the Unit has undertaken 21 commissioned research projects worth a total of £2.1 million.

Spin-off companies include the commercialisation of wind research sponsored in 2008 by Aon Benfield, RSA and Crawford & Company produced the public web-based 'Tropical Storm Risk warning service ( - 9 million web hits since 2008).  This has provided continuous storm alert feeds to Reuters AlertNet, the global humanitarian news portal, and 21,000 other subscribers. 

Community teaching and training activities are extensive and diverse. Since 2008 members of the Unit have given over 140 public lectures, as well as delivering keynotes at major science festivals including the British Science Festival (2009 and 2011), Edinburgh International Science Festival (2012), Hay Festival (June 2012) and Rome International Science Festival (2010).

We participate in UCL-led science weeks, organise taster courses, and run summer schools for students in years 11 and 12 on subjects such as "Understanding the Earth" and “Mars in the Classroom”, from which we developed a web-based learning resource targeted at 13-16 year olds.

We are the London partner in the UK Schools Seismology project, which links to schools worldwide.

Collaboration between Unit staff and the Italian energy company ENI, whose Energy Efficiency Campaign and Global Children’s Programme we have led since 2008, include Presentations to audiences of teachers, students and schoolchildren in urban and rural India and Ghana with Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, Angola, Congo and Pakistan to follow. In 2010 the Children’s Programme won the prestigious Getenergy Award for excellence.

The benefits of our work on natural disaster risks are also realised through our provision of expert advice to policy-making bodies, advisory boards and panels

In 2010 the cross-disciplinary Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction (IRDR) was created to enhance interdisciplinary collaboration and cooperation, essential to increase resilience and reduce the risk of disasters in natural, environmental, health and technological hazards. Workshops and postgraduate programmes are directed at employees from NGOs and industry.

Our provision of expert advice to policy- and other decision-making bodies has been central to our capacity to deliver environmental benefits both in the UK and abroad

Our research into arsenic pollution of groundwater has enabled training and policy guidance and development on arsenic-safe, sustainable groundwater supplies and water management to government policy and donor agency programmes directed at safeguarding of public health.

In Bangladesh workshops on strategies for mitigation and monitoring programmes advised government agencies and NGOs including the Department for Public Health Engineering, Bangladesh Agricultural Development Corporation, Bangladesh Water Development Board, the Water Resources Planning Organization and UNICEF.

In South America our research in Argentina has helped to identify arsenic pollution and provide local training for its mitigation. In 2011 this led to a partnership with the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (CAFOD) on understanding the controls on water cycling in the Bolivian Altiplano and developing management schemes for water usage.

The EPS Institute has three primary areas of Impact: