The project – running until June 2026 - will improve knowledge about processes around the formation of REE deposits in weathered carbonatites, raise awareness of the resource requirements of decarbonisation and explore potential routes to increasingly efficient extraction with reduced impact.
Professor Martin Smith, Associate Dean for Research and Knowledge Exchange in the School of Applied Sciences, said: “We will conduct investigations to link climate, geomorphology and geochemistry to predict the resource potential of weather rock. Crucially, this project provides us with the opportunity to enhance understanding of the geology underpinning the supply of elements critical to the decarbonisation of the economy.”
SCREED is one of 44 projects funded by NERC, representing a £25m investment to tackle critical environment challenges.
Professor Sir Duncan Wingham, Executive Chair of NERC, said “This investment supports researchers’ curiosity and imagination to enable discoveries that unlock new knowledge. The studies will tackle some of the most critical unanswered questions about our planet.
By supporting high risk, high reward environmental science, we are harnessing the full power of the UK’s research and innovation system to tackle large-scale, complex challenges.”