skip to content

Department of Earth Sciences


Dr Joel Gill

BA 2008

International Development Geoscientist—British Geological Survey

Which subject did you want to study when you applied to Cambridge NatSci?
Having done a GCSE and an A-Level in geology, I came to Cambridge expecting to study and specialise in Earth Sciences. I really valued the opportunity that the Natural Sciences Tripos offered me to strengthen other skills and explore areas of interest (such as the history and philosophy of science).

What made you stay?
I really enjoyed the combination of lectures, interactive practical classes, and fieldwork during 1A Earth Sciences, giving me significant interaction with teaching and research staff, and helping to build strong, long-lasting friendships. I loved being part of this community, while growing in my understanding of the natural environment and being encouraged to develop a broad skill set (e.g., helping to coordinate a geological mapping expedition to Chile).

How has doing Earth Sciences shaped your career?
The decision to study Earth Sciences gave me a broad skill set of significant relevance to the tackling of global sustainability challenges (from disaster risk reduction to climate change and water security).

After graduating in 2008, I did an MSc in Engineering Geology (Leeds), a PhD in Multi-Hazards (King’s College London), set up a geoscience for international development charity (Geology for Global Development) and joined the British Geological Survey as International Development Geoscientist.

My work has taken me across the globe, including working with hazard professionals in Guatemala, exploring water point functionality in rural Tanzania, coordinating science-for-development workshops across eastern Africa, and advocating for Earth science at the United Nations. I’ve visited some wonderful places, and met some remarkable people, on a professional adventure that still has a long way to run.