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Research Impacts



Many of our research groups and major projects (e.g., research cruises, IODP Expeditions) engage collaborations with different disciplines. The School has two principal interdisciplinary projects formally within its research structure:

  • Climate Change Consortium for Wales (C3W) is a £4 million initiative (£1M to Cardiff) financed by the Welsh Assembly Government through HEFCW, together with additional support from the Countryside Council for Wales and substantial investment from the four largest Welsh universities. A distinctive feature is that its goal is to evaluate not just the impact of climate change on the Earth but also its social consequences: for example we work with the School of Psychology on understanding risk perception and communication.
  • The Severn Estuary Project (SEP) is linked to the Severn Estuary Partnership an independent initiative that was set up in 1995 and is based in the School. It works with all those involved in the management of the estuary, from planners to port authorities and fishermen to farmers. The School has long collaborated on marine policy, but is now also conducting scientific projects, for example in environmental microbiology and (with Engineering) in geotechnical surveys in the Bristol Channel.
  • Additionally, Prof Ian Hall is an executive board member of the University's Sustainable Places Research Institute, a £2M project which aims to find 'innovative solutions to the problems of climate change and resource depletion, which take in to account the unique relationships between economic, ecological and social processes at local levels'. Various members of School faculty are Research Affiliates with the Institute.


The School has long-standing recognition for conducting internationally excellent research, including in marine and petroleum geology, metal deposits, climate change, and environmental hazards and integrated management, which have direct and significant global impacts. The outputs from our research, therefore, are fundamental to many challenges in society, including economic, environmental and societal impacts.

The established School strategy for frontier research includes a vibrant and innovative environment, which encourages, facilitates and optimizes applied research potential. Mostly funded by the UK Research Councils and EU, the School also attracts significant additional support from commercial, agency and Government funding. Our links with a range of end-users drives a strategy that generates impacts from our research, enables access to unique samples and data, and encourages links between researchers and stakeholders. Key beneficiaries include the petroleum exploration and metal mining industries, coastal engineers, managers and practitioners in coastal and marine resource management.

We have strong relationships with the geographically close Welsh Government (e.g. Climate Change Knowledge Exchange Advisor Secondment), National Museum of Wales and BGS Wales, and are involved in the leadership of the Climate Change Consortium for Wales (C3W), Sustainable Places Research Institute, and the Severn Estuary Partnership.  We are active participants in the Low Carbon Research Institute, Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, and National Oceanography Centre Association. Our academics actively engage in mass media outreach of science to the public through television, radio, and newspaper interviews, including such diverse topics as human evolution and climate change, Icelandic volcanic ash and human health, the deep biosphere, and the evolution of the first forests in the Palaeozoic.

For more information about Cardiff Unversity's BUSINESS GATEWAY, please email (tel: +44 029208 76584).


  • The understanding of the mechanisms and behaviour of polygonal faults is on-going research, and crucial findings have been made that impact strongly on the hydrocarbons industry. This is evidenced by the industry’s continued logistical, provision of seismic data, and financial support to the Caprocks Consortium. This case study is an exemplar of how important high-impact research was recognised within the School and the appropriate logistics and teaching support to researchers was put in place to facilitate its successful development. On Earth the intense heat, fracturing and inward collapse caused by large extra-terrestrial impacts may lead to the eventual development of enormous mineral or hydrocarbon deposits, such as platinum mineralization.
  • Dr Hazel Pritchard researches platinum-group element mineralisation in mafic igneous rock deposits, and Dr Iain MacDonald has researched ancient terrestrial impact sites. Their case study shows the School’s and individual researcher’s ability to identify complimentary research pathways, and adapt accordingly. A critical component of this research has been the state-of-the-art geochemical analyses facilities in the School, including the laser-ablation ICP-MS. 
  • Applied Environmental Geoscience research has lead to mitigation of the serious health and environmental risks posed by municipal waste landfills, with toxic emissions being linked to various cancers, respiratory disease, congenital birth defects, low birth weight rates and still births. Outputs from this research have been successfully applied to sixteen landfills during the assessment period, including Nant-y-Gwyddon where links with birth defects provoked international opposition. Cardiff’s research was instrumental in decisions concerning gas and leachate management, and ensuring a safer environment for the local community. 
  • Dr Rhoda Ballinger and other coastal management experts in the School have significantly influenced professional practice at UK and international level. The impacts include the development of tools to engage communities and inform practitioners in managing coastal environments. Performance indicators have been identified for the formal reporting of environmental trends in the European port sector, and developing the World’s only recognized port-specific Environmental Management Standard. Ballinger leads actions within the SEP.