Cobalt, one of the minerals needed for a green energy revolution. © Trustees of the Natural History Museum

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The Natural History Museum and iCRAG partner to Mine a Sustainable Future at the Royal Society Summer Science 2021

Researchers from the Natural History Museum (NHM), London and the SFI Research Centre for Applied Geosciences (iCRAG ) have formed an international collaboration to exhibit their ground-breaking research at the Royal Society’s Summer Science 2021

Building on their essential research into the minerals and metals that are crucial to the technologies that society is reliant on for a green economy, the collaboration from the NHM and iCRAG will challenge visitors to consider “How do we mine a sustainable future?”. Visitors will be able to experience exclusive digital content, inspiring talks and interactive workshops as well as chances to meet the researchers working on these important topics that will help them to answer this question.

Professor Richard Herrington, Head of Earth Sciences at the Natural History Museum, London, commented, ‘The full implications of the green revolution aren’t well understood by the public at the moment. Our part in Summer Science will seek to address this.’

‘What we have to accept is that everything has a cost. Green technologies need to be built and to do this we have to mine minerals. Until we’ve built a truly circular economy so that most if not all of what we need can come from metals that have been recycled, we’ll need to continue to mine.’

Professor Murray Hitzman, iCRAG director added, ‘We are delighted to be working with the Natural History Museum to build our online showcase, ‘Mining a Sustainable Future’.’

‘We all know that our society needs to become more sustainable and that switching to green technologies is an important step towards this goal. However, we need to stop and think about where the resources that go into these technologies come from. Our content for Summer Science will look into this issue.’

Summer Science returns from Thursday the 8th to Sunday the 11th of July 2021 with a packed programme of inspiring talks, fascinating interactive workshops, fun science from home activities and exciting digital content, there is something for all ages. Join in to explore the research that is shaping our future and discover the people looking to answer some of life’s big questions.

Notes to editors

Natural History Media contact: Tel: +44 (0)20 7942 5654 / 07799690151 Email:  

Images available to download here.

More information can be found on the Royal Society Summer Science website.

The Natural History Museum is both a world-leading science research centre and the most-visited natural history museum in Europe. With a vision of a future in which both people and the planet thrive, it is uniquely positioned to be a powerful champion for balancing humanity’s needs with those of the natural world.

It is custodian of one of the world’s most important scientific collections comprising over 80 million specimens. The scale of this collection enables researchers from all over the world to document how species have and continue to respond to environmental changes - which is vital in helping predict what might happen in the future and informing future policies and plans to help the planet.

The Museum’s 300 scientists continue to represent one of the largest groups in the world studying and enabling research into every aspect of the natural world. Their science is contributing critical data to help the global fight to save the future of the planet from the major threats of climate change and biodiversity loss through to finding solutions such as the sustainable extraction of natural resources.

The Museum uses its enormous global reach and influence to meet its mission to create advocates for the planet - to inform, inspire and empower everyone to make a difference for nature. We welcome over five million visitors each year; our digital output reaches hundreds of thousands of people in over 200 countries each month and our touring exhibitions have been seen by around 30 million people in the last 10 years.

iCRAG is the SFI Research Centre for Applied Geosciences. We are a team of researchers creating solutions for a sustainable society. We develop innovative science and technologies to better understand the Earth’s past, present, and future and how people are connected to it. 

We drive research in areas that are critical to society and the economy, including: 

  • Sustainable   discovery   of   energy   resources   and   raw   materials required for decarbonisation.
  • Securing and protecting groundwater and marine resources.
  • Protecting society from Earth’s hazards such as flood and landslides.

iCRAG, the world leading SFI Research Centre in applied geosciences hosted by UCD, comprises 150 researchers across eight universities and institutions including NUI Galway. iCRAG is supported by Science Foundation Ireland, Geological Survey Ireland and industry partners.