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Group of windmills for electric power production in the green field of wheat

Durham University has partnered with universities in Twente (Netherlands), Barcelona (Spain) and Trieste (Italy) to form the EarthSafe Doctoral Network, which launched last month. This €2.7 million project will develop cutting-edge technology to support the transition to green energy. EarthSafe is funded by the European Commission via the Marie Sklodowska-Curie programme and UK Research and Innovation.

EarthSafe will support ten PhD researchers, and benefits from a global network of partner organisations drawn from academia and industry. 

Professor Jeroen van Hunen, Dr Andrew Valentine and Professor Claire Horwell from the Department of Earth Sciences are leading Durham’s participation in the Network.

Supporting the rapid transition to green energy

Demand for green energy has grown enormously in recent years, and it lies at the heart of plans to tackle the climate crisis and support a strong, sustainable economic future.

EarthSafe will develop cutting-edge data-fusion platforms, artificial intelligence technology and computational simulations to help discover and exploit new deep geothermal resources, and find the ‘critical metals’ that are essential for high-capacity batteries for electric cars. Social research is also central to the project, ensuring that resources can be harnessed in a socially-responsible, sustainable manner.

Collaboration with partners

Led by the University of Twente, the Network forms a partnership with our Department of Earth Sciences, the Polytechnic University of Catalonia in Barcelona and SISSA (the International School for Advanced Studies) in Trieste.

The Network also benefits from the collaboration and expertise from many associated partners.

Three fully-funded Marie Curie PhD Fellow positions
Durham University is involved in three of the PhD positions. The Department of Earth Sciences will host two Marie Curie PhD Fellow positions. The third project is hosted by the University of Twente with a co-supervisor at Durham University.

The Durham Fellows will  benefit from a range of training and networking activities, as well as opportunities for secondments at other partner organisations. The three PhD Fellow positions are:

  • “Physics-informed super-resolution imaging of the Earth’s interior” working with Dr Andrew Valentine.
  • “Investigating Craton Dynamics and Ore Deposit Formation for Sustainable Critical Minerals Supply” working with Professor Jeroen van Hunen.
  • “Social attitudes to geothermal energy" working with Professor Claire Horwell and led by Dr Heather Handley at University of Twente.

Applications for these roles are open now and close on 19 November 2023.

More information