School of GeoSciences

School of GeoSciences

GradSchool Conference 2014

Friday 31 January – Sunday 2 February 2014

[GradSchool Conference 2014 Attendees]

The GradSchool Conference 2014 took place from January 31st to February 2nd 2014 at the spectacular Macdonald Marine Hotel & Spa in North Berwick. It marked the 23nd year of the School of Geoscience's Graduate School. Students, staff, and industry representatives indulged themselves in a weekend of academic presentations and posters, discussion, night entertainment, and relaxation in the spa! The weekend provided a highly fertile environment for networking and raising the profile of current research and relevant industry.

General Information

North Berwick

[View over North Berwick]

The seaside town of North Berwick is located approximately 25 miles east from Edinburgh in East Lothian. It is located at the Firth of Forth and got is name from the Old English words for barley ("bere") and farmstead ("wic"). The word North was added to distinguish North Berwick from Berwick-upon-Tweed which was called South Berwick in the Middle Ages. For over 500 years there was a ferry crossing from North Berwick to Earlsferry in Fife, making the town popular with pilgrims to St. Andrews. In the late 19th century it developed more and more golfing and holiday facilities and continues to attract holiday makers to this day. Major attractions are the Scottish Seabird Centre, the islands of Bass Rock and Fidra, the volcanic hill of North Berwick Law and the many golden beaches of the area.

The Macdonald Marine Hotel & Spa

The Marine Hotel & Spa is renowned for its beautiful coastal setting and glorious 19th century Victorian architecture and is located in the outskirts of North Berwick, offering a quiet and relaxing atmosphere for the conference.

Conference Format

  • The conference runs from Friday (31st) midday (lunch provided) to Sunday (2nd) afternoon.
  • Travel arrangements (included in the conference fee) will be departing from Edinburgh on Friday morning and returning early Sunday evening (or late afternoon).
  • All meals will be provided throughout the conference - and coffee breaks!
  • Oral presentation sessions will take place on Friday afternoon, Saturday morning and Sunday morning.
  • There will be entertainment (in the form of a quiz!) on Friday evening
  • There is an optional fieldtrip on Saturday afternoon, followed by a formal black tie dinner and Ceilidh.


  • Casual wear is appropriate for the conference with the exception of the black tie dinner. If you wish to go on the Saturday afternoon field trip you may wish to bring suitable outdoor clothing. Bring your bathing suits if you plan on taking advantage of the pool and sauna or the lovely beaches nearby (wetsuit required)!

Hotel Admin details

  • Check in at the hotel will be available once the rooms are ready. This will be 14:00 at the latest for rooms that have been used the night before. When you arrive please check-in at reception to get a keycard and you will be informed if your room is ready. If you would like to buy anything from the main bar after the function bar has closed then you will need to put a credit or debit card onto your room booking. This must be done at check-in.
  • The function bar is CASH ONLY and there is no cash machine on site. The nearest is 15 minutes walk away in North Berwick.
  • The Spa is available to all those staying at the conference. Please see a member of staff about access. Massages and treatments are extra and will need to be booked with the hotel staff.
  • Check out will be at 11am on the Sunday. If you bring your luggage down to reception when you check out this will be labelled and stored in the library for the day.
  • The buses will be leaving at 15:30 - 15:45 on the Sunday.

Extra Costs

  • While there will be some free drinks with your evening meals you may need money to pay for additional beverages on the Friday and Saturday night!

Registration and Payment

How Do I Register?

If you would like to attend the GradSchool Conference 2014 please fill in the Registration Form.

First and second year PhD students are required to present their research, 1st year students by giving an oral presentation and 2nd year students by giving a poster presentation. For both kind of presentations an abstract has to be submitted by using the abstract abstract submission form. You can find guidelines on your presentation and the abstract here.

Payment details

The conference fee of the GradSchool Conference 2014 is 240 for members of the School of Geosciences and 250 for industry delegates. However, thanks to our sponsors, we are able to offer a reduced conference fee of 95 to members of the School of Geosciences. Please indicate on the registration form if you want to take advantage of the discounted conference fee or not. As in past years you can choose if you want to pay the conference fee from your research grant account (RTSG for students, expenses account for staff members) or if you want to be charged directly. To do so please tick the appropriate box on the registration form.

Travel Details

North Berwick is located about 45min east of Edinburgh.

Location Map

View Larger Map


There will be travel arrangements from Edinburgh to the conference venue. More details will follow closer to the date. Please indicate on the registration form if you want to use organised transport or wish to make your own travel arrangements (e.g. your own car).

Field Trip

[Aikengall Windfarm] As every year there will be a field trip on Saturday afternoon and this year we will be visiting Aikengall Windfarm near Dunbar and receiving a technical tour from the Operations Manager. The windfarm is a community windpower venture and has been operational since 2009. We will travel to and from the windfarm by minibuses aiming to be back in North Berwick by 17.00ish and the whole trip is included in the conference fee.

Please note that we cannot conduct the field trip if the weather is very bad or the windfarm has heavy snow cover. The tour will be outside on the hills near Dunbar so if you sign up for it please make sure that you bring appropriate clothing. As the There are 30 spaces for the fieldtrip and they are allocated on a first come first serve basis, make sure you register for it on the registration page!

Sponsors of the GradSchool Conference 2014

Please find a list of our generous sponsors below.

If your company is interested in sponsoring this event, please get in touch

[Badley] Badley Geoscience are experts in the application of structural-geological and geophysical methods to the investigation and analysis of (i) fault-related geological problems and (ii) problems of basin-scale geodynamics. Badleys have developed innovative modelling and analysis software for use by the oil-and-gas industry, including their flagship product TrapTester, which is used within the Edinburgh School of Geosciences.
[BP] BP is one of the world's largest energy companies, providing its customers with fuel for transportation, energy for heat and light, retail services and petrochemicals products for everyday items. BP are longstanding sponsors of the Edinburgh Geosciences GradSchool Conference and this year are sponsoring the awards for the best poster and best presentation of the weekend!
BGS The British Geological Survey is the UK's premier provider of objective and authoritative geoscientific data, information and knowledge for wealth creation, sustainable use of natural resources, reducing risk and living with the impacts of environmental change. The University of Edinburgh has close ties with both the BGS centres in Keyworth (Notts) and Edinburgh through joint studentships, research collaboration and consortiums.
[Cairn Energy] Cairn Energy is one of Europe's largest independent oil and gas exploration and production companies. With headquarters in Edinburgh, Cairn's exploration focus divides into two key units: developing the Rajasthan resource base in India; and exploring frontier basins in Greenland. Cairn have kindly sponsored the GradSchool for almost a decade.
[Centrica] Centrica is the largest supplier of gas to domestic costumers in the UK, operating under the trading names Scottish Gas and British Gas. It also one of the largest suppliers of electricity and active in the exploration and production of natural gas. We are proud to have won Centrica as a sponsor for the first time!
Aikengall Community Windfarm Community windpower is an independent, UK based renewable energy company who specialise in the design, development, construction and operation of wind farms. They have a total of 750 MW in operation, under construction and in development in the UK and are experienced in designing wind farms that are sympathetic to local landscapes and can provide local generation to meet local energy needs. Community Windpower have a dedicated team of professional staff who are committed to renewable energy to help reduce the serious threat that Climate Change now poses. We are very happy to have Community Windpower sponsoring our fieldtrip!
[Landmark] Halliburton's Landmark software package is one of the world's most advanced solutions for the exploration and production of oil and gas reserves. Landmark changed exploration and production more than 30 years ago when it introduced the first 3D seismic interpretation workstation. Their software Permedia is used for modelling of complex fluid oriented processes at reservoir and basin scale by PhD students of the School of Geosciences.
[Ikon] Ikon Science are a geoscience technology company in the upstream oil and gas industry with a global outreach. The lively team at Ikon science specialise in subsurface workflows and have developed the RokDoc software system, which excels in rock physics modelling capabilities, delivering quantitative prediction and reservoir characterisation to oil companies.
[Maptek] Maptek is an international consortium of companies that has been at the forefront of mining technology for almost 30 years. Maptek provides both mining services and products globally, with the Maptek Vulcan™ software being widely used around the world across all types of resources and operations. Other products include Maptek I-Site™ – a combination of laser imaging hardware and software products – and Maptek MineSuite™. Maptek employ a diverse range of professionals, from geological and mining experts, to highly-skilled computer scientists and marketers.
[Neftex] Neftex is a dynamic Earth science research company and leading provider of geoscience products and services to the Earth resource exploration industries. They are experts in the worldwide search, discovery and analysis of geoscience information. Their integrated global geological database – the Neftex Earth Model - delivers data, knowledge and insight to help our clients reduce geological risk in their exploration and investment activities. Neftex also provide geoscience and information management consultancy services.
[Ordnance Survey] Ordnance Survey is the national mapping agency for Great Britain and is one of the world's largest producers of maps. It offers a free digital maps to educational institutions by the data centre EDINA which is used by many students in the School of Geosciences. Thus we are happy to announce that the Ordnance Survey decided to sponsor the GradSchool Conference for the first time!
[PGS] Petroleum Geo-Services (PGS) offers a broad range of exploration products to help oil companies to find oil and gas reserves offshore worldwide. These products include seismic and electromagnetic services, data acquisition, processing, reservoir analysis/interpretation and multi-client library data. GeoStreamer GS™, launched in 2011, is a totally unique solution for acquiring towed streamer marine seismic data. PGS also launched Towed Streamer EM in 2012, allowing EM acquisition at the speed of seismic acquisition. PGS have strong links with Edinburgh University, since the MTEM technology was developed and commercialised at the University of Edinburgh, and later bought by PGS. PGS/MTEM are long-standing sponsors of the Edinburgh GeoSciences GradSchool Conference.
[QGESS] QGESS is a consulting company based in central Queensland, Australia which provides services to the coal mining industry. It is a small consultancy with less than 10 employees, but has been successfully operating since 1981. QGESS offers both coal exploration and coal mine development expertise in the fields of geology, engineering and surveying. In 2010 QGESS hosted its first intern from Edinburgh University. QGESS has developed a sound reputation on providing high quality field data acquisition personnel which provides the basis for accurate resource estimation and mine planning. QGESS has been a sponsor of the Graduate school Conference since 2008 and looks forward to continuing the relationship for many years.
[RiderFrench] Malcolm Rider of Rider-French was an Honorary Fellow at the University of Edinburgh (and an active participant in GradSchool activities) until recently when he decided that he wants to enjoy a retirement and hang up his laptop! Rider-French presented courses to the industry for over 20 years and authored the very successful, ‘Geological Interpretation of Well Logs’.
[Senergy] Senergy delivers high performance energy services and solutions, applying the skills of their workforce to supply energy affordably and sustainably, and to play their part in addressing the world's energy challenges. Senergy operates across the globe in many energy sectors. They have more than 500 professionals delivering technical and operational solutions to help clients realise the value from their asset, be that a wind farm development or mature oilfield. One of Senergy's key objectives is to consistently deliver technical excellence to their clients and their employees. At the highest level, Senergy are capturing knowledge and creating an environment where best practice is the norm.
[WesternGeco] WesternGeco, a business segment of Schlumberger, is the a leading geophysical services company, providing a full range of services to the oil and gas industry. The WesternGeco sector at Schlumberger Cambridge Research Centre who sponsor the GradSchool Conference have close association with many PhD students at Edinburgh which contribute to their collaborative research with universities in the UK and Europe - and as such are longstanding sponsors of the Edinburgh Geosciences GradSchool Conference. At the research centre the goal is to improve the performance of existing technologies as well as develop new ones through a combination of theoretical and experimental work.