MEDGATE combines the expertise of 29 geoscientists from both the oil industry and academia in the training of 10 researchers. It aims to equip these researchers for successful careers in either sector through interdisciplinary projects focussing on an intriguing problem which has implications for both environmental change and hydrocarbon exploration.
The research aim of MEDGATE is to reconstruct the evolution of the marine corridors that linked the Atlantic and Mediterranean prior to the formation of the Gibraltar Straits about five million years ago. Closure of these gateways led to catastrophic changes in Mediterranean sea-level and salinity and to the formation of hydrocarbon accummulations. Despite decades of research, the exact timing of closure, the geometry of the corridors and the pattern of exchange through them, remains uncertain. Previous work has been conducted mainly using single research methodologies. The MEDGATE project provides a unique opportunity to undertake a suite of ten interdisciplinary projects that integrate state-of-the-art technologies, surface and subsurface datasets and expertise supplied by both academic and industrial partners. These new data will clarify the environmental impact of gateway exchange and help assess the petroleum potential of the region.
MEDGATE network-training programme will support the skill requirements of each project and foster interdisciplinary collaboration. It also emphasises training in advanced field geology and biostratigraphy, to address the declining skill levels in geoscience graduates reported by MEDGATE’s industrial partners. All eleven participating institutions will contribute substantially to network-wide technical and complementary skills training and each institution has committed to seconding one or more researchers. This will provide them with access to the expertise, facilities and experience they require to carryout their project and launch them on a successful geoscience career.