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Applied Volcanology


Reducing risks associated with volcanic hazards has been classified as an increasing international priority requiring urgent and interdisciplinary action in the recent United Nations Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction. Three main strands of action were specified to combat this in an accompanying summary paper: (i) identifying risk areas and quantifying the hazard, (ii) strengthening local to national coping capacity and improving mitigation measures, and (iii) strengthening national to international capacity and cooperation. Across the GW4, we have the expertise and experience to tackle all three, and thus promote the welfare of people in DAC countries by improving their resilience to volcanic eruptions.

Volcanoes are also an important source of renewable energy and mineral resources. Magma-sourced geothermal energy, in particular, has the potential to provide a 10-fold improvement on conventional geothermal energy in volcanically-active countries, and the industry is growing by 4-5% each year (Geothermal Energy Association). Research, including scientists from Bristol, is currently underway in Ethiopia, and the results could be rolled out to numerous other DAC countries with volcanic regions to promote their economic development.

This project will promote the economic development and welfare of DAC countries through timely research to improve renewable geothermal energy (GCRF priority area 5) and social and economic resilience to volcanic hazards (‘short-term environmental shocks’; GCRF priority area 7). The possibilities for targeted research are huge given that 41% of the countries on the DAC list have active or potentially active volcanoes, that could both threaten local populations and provide clean, secure and cost-efficient energy.


Project summary

The funds were used to host a successful 2-day project workshop in Bristol on the 25th and 26th October. The workshop was attended by researchers from multiple disciplines across all four GW4 partners. Researchers from national research bodies (MET Office, Natural History Museum), other European universities (Plymouth, Aberystwyth, Zurich) and DAC list countries (Turkey, Ethiopia, Ecuador, Trinidad/Montserrat) also attended. Various sessions were held to initially introduce the different research expertise and then brainstorm ideas for future collaborative research projects. The brainstorming sessions included focussing on topics of particular interest to our group members from DAC listed countries, to ensure we maintained a GCRF focus.

The workshop allowed our community to come together and formalise links between the different institutions. Collaboration continues, with the community progressing grant applications and publications together.

University of Bath
University of Bristol
Cardiff University
University of Exeter