Understanding the Mediterranean Salinity Crisis (SALTGIANT)

As society moves into an era where environmental change has an ever-growing place in the political agenda, the demand for a new generation of scientists working at the interface between the natural and social sciences is growing. SALTGIANT contributes to satisfy this demand within a rare cross-disciplinary network of natural and social scientists dedicated to understanding the formation of the Mediterranean Salt Giant, one of the largest salt deposits on Earth, and its implications for sub-seafloor microbial life, risk assessment in the oil industry, geo-economics of the Mediterranean region and the history of oceanography.

SALTGIANT will bring together 22 academic organizations (11 beneficiaries, 11 partners), 2 private sector Oil&Gas companies and 1 specialist in transferable skills training from 8 European countries to stimulate interdisciplinary and intersectorial knowledge exchange between geologists, geophysicists, geochemists, microbiologist, geographers and historians in a network with PhD students at its core. SALTGIANT combines geological and geochemical field work; laboratory measurements and experiments; numerical modeling at a wide range of spatial and temporal scales; empirical social sciences data collection and analysis, guaranteeing exposure of the research fellows to state-of-the-art scientific knowledge and hands-on practical training in a field rich in applications of both intellectual and societal relevance.

The scientist in charge of this project at CERI is Eric Verdeil. The tasks to be carried out by him in this project are the following:

- supervise a PhD student for 3 years

- organise a workshop with a focus on economic, social, historical, and philosophical aspects of MSG science, in order to : (i) provide basic knowledge on methodological perspectives and current debates in human and social sciences, which can serve as a basis for informed interdisciplinary debates; (ii) analyse detailed historical and contemporary case studies in order to understand the main political, social and epistemological challenges faced by researchers on contemporary geosciences; (iii) promote critical reflection and discussion about economic, environmental and ethical challenges associated with research and development in geosciences; (iv) promote discussion about visualization techniques.

- write a monograph on the geo-economic and geo-political impact of recent natural gas discoveries on the Mediterranean region