University of Plymouth Iain Stewart is Professor of Geoscience Communication at the University of Plymouth, UK, and Director of its Sustainable Earth Institute. His academic interests in applying Earth science to pressing societal concerns - climate change, geo-resources, geo-energy, disaster risk reduction - form the basis of his 2018 recognition as UNESCO Chair in ‘Geoscience and Society’.

Iain’s academic roots are in active tectonics and geohazards. After completing a BSc in Geography and Geology at Strathclyde University (1986), and a PhD in earthquake geology at the University of Bristol (1990), he taught Earth sciences at Brunel University, west London, until 2002. In 2004, he joined the University of Plymouth, where he developed his interdisciplinary interests in ‘geo-communication’. 

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Sustainable Earth Institute  An active research programme coordinated by Iain at the Sustainable Earth Institute explores how complex and contested Earth science issues can most effectively be shared with non-technical (public) audiences.

Working with a team of doctoral students, Iain has forged novel research alliances with human geographers, psychologists, sociologists and anthropologists to apply social and cognitive science perspectives on communicating risk and uncertainty around tricky geoscience problems.

The research programme includes understanding cultural responses to geo-hazard threats, examining how popular media (film and video games) can enhance disaster risk awareness, appreciating how lay publics ‘see’ the geological subsurface, and analyzing community and media attitudes to emerging geo-energy developments (geothermal and shale gas).

With an increasing emphasis on actionable risk communication, Iain is currently Communications Lead for the UKRI Global Challenges Research Fund Hub “Tomorrow’s Cities” ( targeting disaster risk reduction in rapidly urbanising environments. He is Executive Editor of the EGU Copernicus journal, Geoscience Communication. 



University of Plymouth  The Sustainable Earth Institute is about promoting a new way of thinking about the future of our world.

We bring researchers together with businesses, community groups and individuals to develop cutting-edge research and innovative approaches that build resilience to global challenges. We link diverse research areas across the University including science, engineering, arts, humanities, health and business.

If you’re an academic looking for a connection to industry, an organisation looking for academic research support or an individual who is inspired to work towards a sustainable future then contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to find out how we can help.

We need to celebrate and recognise our complex, dynamic, and unique world – after all, good planets are hard to find. 


Devon Wildlife Trust The eminent geologist Professor Iain Stewart MBE, Director of the Sustainable Earth Institute at Plymouth University, became our President in 2017. 


Wikipedia Iain Simpson Stewart MBE FGS FRSE (born 1964) is a Scottish geologist, UNESCO Chair in Geoscience and Society, and Professor of Geoscience Communication at the University of Plymouth and also a member of the Scientific Board of UNESCO's International Geoscience Programme. Described as geology's "rock star", Stewart is best known to the public as the presenter of a number of science programmes for the BBC, notably the BAFTA nominated Earth: The Power of the Planet (2007).

He is a Fellow of the Geological Society of London, the Royal Society of Edinburgh, and President of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society. 

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