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Practical solutions to challenges posed by global anthropogenic climate change are non-global: in national and regional regulatory frameworks, in devolved implementation of policy, in behavioural acceptance and desire for change, and in process-level understanding underpinning systems science research.

Scotland is at the forefront of Climate Planning, with world-leading aspirations to shape a new way of living in the face of high-paced environmental change: land use for food and carbon stabilization, fresh water for energy and life, marine environment for energy and food. Aspirational plans need practical working solutions, which need underpinning evidence.


The book of Abstracts is now available to download by clicking here

Registration is closed.
If you have any queries, please email
We look forward to welcoming delegates.

The conference registration and dinner are free (paid by SAGES)  Attendees are requested to arrange and pay for their own accommodation. A limited number of travel and accommodation support grants can be applied for here.

Opening address


Roseanna Cunningham MSP

Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform

This symposium will focus on three challenge areas:

Gathering Evidence: mosaic of underpinning research advancing earth system forecasting
Assessing Relevance: issue-dependent evidence base needed for policy and regulation
Designing Solutions: design and implementation of targeted solutions to achieve Climate Planning aspirations

Keynote speakers

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Professor Bob Furness

Chair of SNH Scientific Advisory Committee


Professor Andrew Millar

Chief Scientific Advisor, Scottish Government

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Dr Emily Shuckburgh, OBE

Cambridge Centre for Climate Change Mitigation Research

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Professor Gabi Hegerl

Professor of Climate System Science, The University of Edinburgh

These challenges will be viewed through FIVE topical ‘prisms’:

A) Water – supported by Scottish Government Water Industry Division

B) Carbon – supported by ClimateXChange

C) Planetary Wellbeing – sponsored by SEFARI Gateway

D) The Fragile Cryosphere – supported by NERC Arctic Office

E) Whole Earth Systems – sponsored by Geoverbund ABC/J

Invited session leaders: Water


Douglas Millican

Chief Executive at Scottish water

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Terry A’Hearn

Chief Executive at Scottish Environment Protection Agency

Invited speakers: Carbon

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Katriona Edlmann

Chancellor's Fellow in Energy, The University of Edinburgh

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Dr Maxine Akhurst

Principal Geologist and Project Leader, British Geological Survey

Invited session leaders: Planetary Wellbeing


Professor Lorna Dawson

Principal Soil Scientist, James Hutton Institute

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Dr Katherine Trebeck

Policy and Knowledge Lead at the Wellbeing Economy Alliance


Professor Anna Jorgensen

Chair in Urban Natural Environments, Health and Wellbeing, University of Sheffield

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Dr Martin Valenti

Head of Climate Enterprise at Scottish Enterprise


The Scottish Government has developed a Hydro Nation Strategy to ensure that Scotland’s abundant water resources are developed in a way that brings maximum benefit to all.  They are also working internationally to support the achievement of United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 6 (SDG6) – to ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.  This session is supported by Scottish Water and will address key challenges in the sustainable management of the water cycle.

1) How can we create and maintain an evidence base that will allow effective multi-stakeholder decisions to be taken at river basin and catchment levels?  What data is required? How might it be collected? What decision support tools are available to support the complex decision making processes?

2) How can we maintain and improve water quality throughout the water cycle? How can we control substances that enter the system, both established and emergent pollutants? Are there new and emerging water treatment technologies and natural process that can be applied at a range of scales?

3) How can we ensure the availability of water now and in the future? How do we deal with the sometimes conflicting demands of water users including, for example, the water/food/energy nexus? How is the sustainability of water supply affected by changing land use patterns (deforestation and urbanisation) and climate changes?


Following the COP21 and IPCC 2018 agreements, Scotland continues to take world-leading action on Climate Change (net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2045) with increased investment in low-carbon energy. Our Theme 2 ‘Carbon’ sessions seek to address:

1) What more is needed to accurately predict carbon cycling in natural and industrialised environments?

2) What actions need to be taken to arrive at Scotland's target of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2045?

3) What evidence is needed to make decisions that work positively towards net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2045?

4) What are the solutions to create the government’s 20 ‘electric towns’ and low-carbon farming and forestry.

We therefore seek abstracts from the theme members to be presented at the SAGES 2019 Annual Science Meeting in a form of poster and/or presentation.

Planetary Wellbeing

How can we use wellbeing of people and planet as a concept to address global climate change?

Evidence:  What do we know about links between wellbeing of people, nature and climate?

Relevance: We know that we need to act quickly, and adapt policy and practice. How do we act effectively?

Solutions: Moving forward, we need to use this understanding of the links between nature and wellbeing to change systems, narratives, mind-sets and behaviour

The Fragile Cryosphere

Our Cryosphere comprises all the frozen water on Earth that is primarily stored in the ice sheets and ice caps of the Arctic and Antarctic, the sea ice that surrounds the poles, and the glaciers of high-mountain regions across the world. Its widespread shrinkage is arguably the most apparent manifestation of our changing global climate, and will lead to rising sea levels and enhanced coastal inundation, modified marine and terrestrial ecosystem functions, and significant changes to freshwater water resources. This session welcomes contributions focussed around:

- How good are our projections for future changes in the cryosphere and their global impacts?
- What are the environmental and socioeconomic impacts to Scotland and the world of reductions in glacial and marine ice cover?
- What data and/or improved understanding are needed to be able to equip the science community and decision-makers with constraints on rising sea levels and changes to marine and freshwater resources arising from shrinking ice?
- How can cryospheric change and/or its impacts be mitigated and/or exploited in an adapting world?

Whole Earth Systems

Changes in the Earth systems are shaped by interactions among its various components, as well as by life and human activities. Earth System Models are essential tools to predict future changes in the Earth system and their impacts, to understand the underpinning mechanisms, and to inform adaptation strategies. The session welcomes contributions focused on using Earth System models, possibly combined with GIS and Artificial Intelligence geospatial analyses, to address the following questions:

1) What are key interactions and mechanisms/feedbacks driving changes in the Earth system?

2) How can these be conceptualized, modelled, and quantified?

3) How can we develop predictions to regional/global changes and quantify the impacts for human activities and future Earth system management?

Conference Programme

27 - 28 November 2019

The book of Abstracts is now available to download by clicking here

Abstract submissions are now welcome for consideration for SAGES19 which will be held in Edinburgh on the 27th & 28th November 2019.

Key Dates:
Call for Abstracts Opens: 6 May, 2019

Abstract Submission Deadline: 30 September, 2019

Notification of Review Outcome: End of October 2019

Deadline for accepted authors to confirm attendance: 8th November 2019

Submission Process
Abstracts from award winners, invited plenary and keynote speakers, and any submitters wishing to make a contributed oral or poster presentation must be uploaded via the online portal.

Presenting Authors are requested to create an account and submit an abstract for review according to the guidelines set out below.
Should you require any assistance or have a query about online submission please contact

Upon successful submission of the abstract a confirmation email will be sent to the Presenting Author.

You do not need to register for the Conference prior to submitting an abstract however following acceptance into the programme you must register by 8th November 2019.

Important Information:

  • It is ESSENTIAL that you read the instructions below before you submit.
  • The Presenting Author must submit the abstract as a PDF and is required to be the corresponding author for that abstract
  • Abstracts must be in English
  • The PDF abstract including author names and affiliations will be published on the conference website and book of abstracts, please ensure that this will not raise any copyright issues.
  • Please note that you can save your submission as a draft and return to edit the submission, but once it has been submitted the abstract cannot be edited after the close of submission deadline.

If you require any assistance regarding the submission of your abstract, contact

Presentation Type:
An abstract can be submitted for presentation at the conference as one of the following categories:

  • Oral Presentation (including invited Plenary and Keynote presentations)
  • Poster Presentation

At the review stage, the Programme Committee may change the presentation type submitted by the author to ensure the continuity of the conference programme i.e. oral presentation may be changed to poster presentation OR poster presentation to oral presentation. The presenting Author will be informed of any change to their submitted presentation type at the acceptance notification stage.

Oral Format:
Contributed Oral presentations will be 20 minutes long and linked to one or more of the five themes.


A) Water - supported by Scottish Government

B) Carbon

C) Planetary Wellbeing - supported by SEFARI Gateway

D) Fragile Cryosphere

E) Whole Earth System

Poster Format:

Posters can be on any SAGES-related topic, or relevant to the theme of Climate change challenges

Accepted posters will be asked to produce a poster for display at the conference. Presenters are asked to take note of the following guidelines when producing their poster:

  • Maximum poster size is A0 (0.84 x 1.19 m) in portrait orientation
  • Keep text to a minimum
  • Ensure any text is in large font
  • Use graphs, charts, and/or tables
  • Ensure contents have a logical flow
  • Use the Velcro provided to affix your poster to the display board
  • Make it colourful
  • Removal and collection of posters at the end of the display period remains the responsibility of the presenter. Posters not removed by the indicated take down time will be removed and disposed of.

Abstracts must be formatted using the SAGES Template. Abstracts must be submitted in English and only PDF files will be accepted for upload.

Template Abstract


SAGES pools world-leading expertise in geoscience and environmental science from across Scotland’s research base, creating a multi-disciplinary alliance at the forefront of earth and environmental research. SAGES is a funded geoscience network – for mutual benefit of members and the ultimate beneficiaries of research. 

Supported by


         Scottish Blue Carbon Forum  
Our Partners


The John McIntyre Conference Centre is located at the Pollock Halls Campus of The University of Edinburgh, situated at the foot of the royal Holyrood Park and Arthur's Seat, and a short walk to all the main tourist attractions.

Map key: Venue Accomodation Map Icon Accomodation Drinks / dinner venue Map Icon Drinks / dinner venue Place of interest Map Icon Place of interest

If you are interested in exhibiting with us, please contact

Scottish Blue Carbon Forum

Student award

A student award will be given for the best presentation and poster, if you'd like more details about this, please contact

SAGES membership

SAGES is a multi-disciplinary alliance at the forefront of earth and environmental science research and education.  We are a partnership between the Universities of Aberdeen, Abertay Dundee, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Highlands & Islands (through SAMS), St Andrews, Stirling and West of Scotland, the British Geological Survey and SUERC, the Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre.  A powerful voice in Earth and Environmental Science. The REF2014 combined research power in Earth and Environmental Sciences of SAGES exceeded by 60% that of Oxbridge and London.

We offer three types of membership:

1) Research & Academic Staff membership (open to partner institute members only)

2) Associate & SAGES Funded Post Graduate Associate membership (open to non-SAGES funded & SAGES funded PhD’s from partner institutes only)

3) Affiliate membership (open to individuals who are not members of partner institutes for an annual fee)

Membership criteria and application process for all membership types can be found here

Steering Committee

Professor Des Thompson, Principal Advisor on Science & Evidence, SNH

Dr Andy Kerr, Director, UK and Ireland, Climate-KIC

Miss Gillian Docherty, CEO, Datalab

Professor Mark Inall, Director, SAGES/SAMS

Professor Brice Rea, Excom Chair, SAGES/Aberdeen

Organising committee

Dr. Rebecca Wade, Landscape form, Use & Change, Abertay

Professor Emrys Phillips, Landscape form, use & change, BGS

Dr. Philippa Ascough, Carbon & Biochemical Cycles, SUERC

Dr. Ehsan Jorat, Carbon & Biochemical Cycles, Abertay

Professor Finlo Cottier, Atmosphere, Oceans & Climate, SAMS

Dr. Sian Henley, Atmosphere, Oceans & Climate, Edinburgh

Dr. Daniel Gilmour, Transformations in Society & Environmental policy, Abertay

Dr. Massimo Bollasina, Centre for Earth Systems Dynamics, Edinburgh

Dr. Matteo Spagnolo, Centre for Earth Systems Dynamics, Aberdeen

Dr. John Howe, Sages Graduate Programme, SAMS

Professor Mark Inall, Sages Director, SAMS

Professor David Blackwood, Water Forum, Abertay

Dr. Beverley Searle, Pollinating Wellbeing Forum, Dundee

Dr Christian Schroeder, Carbon Forum, Stirling