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A Social License to Undertake Research

The virtuous circle of geological research as an aid to development in Africa

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Mark Jessell, Geoff Batt

Modern research science is a capital-intensive industry. Scientific resources and agencies are concentrated in wealthy developed nations with the economic and infrastructure base to support such fundamental endeavours. Nature, however, respects no such distinctions - and we commonly find ourselves attracted to work in politically and culturally diverse regions of the globe. Indeed geology, perhaps more so than many fields of human enquiry, transgresses the boundaries we impose on the global landscape. The grinding tectonic engines at the heart of our active planet respect no political doctrine, and if we profess a desire to understand the nature of geological processes and trace the path of Earth history, we must be prepared to follow that intellectual path wherever it may lead us.