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UK/NERC and GEM renew partnership


Jan 23, 2021

The United Kingdom through the National Environmental Research Council (NERC) has signed a new agreement as GEM Public Sponsor. NERC will continue to support GEM through 2023. Within the new sponsorship agreement, a formal GEM engagement with the COMET project has also been outlined. The renewed partnership also brings GEM, COMET, the UK science community, as well as all those vulnerable to earthquakes globally to work together to achieve a common vision: earthquake resilience through the advancement of earthquake science.


Prof. Iain Stewart will represent NERC replacing Dr. John Rees who stepped down from his role at UK Research and Innovation (of which NERC is a component) last year to take up his current Chief Scientist position at the British Geological Survey.


Dr. Rees has championed and provided various support to GEM, particularly as a member of GEM’s Sustainability Committee. John Rees has also worked closely with GEM as part of the UNDRR Global Risk Assessment Framework expert group where he and John Schneider have co-chaired the Mapping and Gap Analysis committee. John will be sorely missed, but he has promised to continue to work with GEM in the development of strategic directions.


“I have been, and remain, a great supporter of GEM – which has been outstanding in the development and supply of cutting-edge tools to tackle earthquake risk. In so many ways, it leads the world in the provision of natural hazard analytics. It will come as no surprise to many of you to know that I feel it has enormous value in multi-hazard risk analysis – beyond earthquakes - and I hope engagement here remains a broader strategic objective.” - Dr. John Rees, Chief Scientist, British Geological Survey.


Prof. Stewart’s wide-roving, science communication focus will enhance GEM’s strategic direction in promoting GEM’s scientific products and services not just to the wider science community but to various levels of DRR agencies and practitioners as well.


He is a geologist, UNESCO Chair in Geoscience and Society, and has just begun a new role as the Jordan-UK El Hassan bin Talal Research Chair in Sustainability (EHRCS). He will maintain ties with the University of Plymouth, where he has been Professor of Science Communication and is also a member of the Scientific Board of UNESCO's International Geoscience Programme.


The new NERC sponsorship features a collaborative project with the Centre for Observation and Modelling of Earthquakes, Volcanoes and Tectonics (COMET), which uses satellite and ground-based observations to develop geophysical models of earthquake and volcano hazards. COMET Director, Prof. Tim Wright of the University of Leeds, and his team will work closely with GEM in a three-year project to combine complex and detailed information about earthquake fault behaviour with GEM’s earthquake hazard modelling capability, with a focus on Central Asia.

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