Important research directions and innovations include:
- Subduction zone dynamics, arc initiation, ophiolite generation, and lithosphere-asthenosphere interactions in these zones, including volatile mobility and cycling (Deep Volatiles Consortium); Collisional orogens through time and the significance of hot and ultrahot orogens relative to cold orogens in Earth history;
- Hallmark events in Earth evolution – such as the onset of plate tectonics in the mid-late Achaean, the Cryogenian epoch(s), oxygenation of the atmosphere, core separation, emergence of the first crust, and major extinction events, supercontinents;
- Deep Earth processes from core formation to volatile mobility and recycling in the deep mantle, with linkage to Deep Volatiles Consortium;
- The tempo of magmatic processes in rift, subduction and intra-plate settings; linking present observations to past events using quantitative flow models (RiftVolc)
- Past climate variability and its consequences at various times scales ranging from tens of million years to centuries or even shorter.
- Real-time, dynamic, seismic tomography of the Earth's interior.
Ethiopian Main Rift Volcanism (NERC)
This NERC funded project aims to research past and current volcanism and volcanic hazards in the central Main Ethiopian Rift. The five year long project started in September 2014 and includes the British Geological Survey (BGS), the Universities of Edinburgh, Bristol, Oxford, Cambridge and Leeds as well as Addis Ababa University and the Geological Survey of Ethiopia.
Deep Volatiles - Mantle volatiles Consortium (NERC)
This NERC funded project has the key objective of providing a new process based understanding of volatile element fluxes into the deep mantle at subduction zones and out of the mantle at mid ocean ridges and ocean island settings. The five year long project started in September 2014 and includes the Universities of Edinburgh, Durham, Bristol, Oxford, Cambridge and Leeds.