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Photo of Dr Nick Harper

Dr Nick Harper

Impact Fellow - Deep Digital Cornwall



  • Deep Digital Cornwall (DDC):

    • Helping to build a 3D model of Cornwall to be projected in the newly installed 3D Visualisation Suite within CSM, in collaboration with Met4Tech

    • Undertaking collaborative projects using my geological knowledge and data science skills to assist Cornish SMEs with regional exploration (i.e., deep geothermal energy, mine water heat, hydrogeology, surface heat flow, metal exploration) and mining/geochemical analyses (i.e., microscopic images and granite geochemistry).

  • Research + Knowledge Transfer

    • My fascination in SW England geology has continued since undertaking my PhD research, studying the chevron folds in the Bude Formation outcrops of north Cornwall and Devon. This PhD research developed geometric methods to distinguish when folded layers were still sediment (i.e., soft / non-Newtonian / plastic) and when they were rock (i.e., hard / Newtonian / elastic).

    • My collaborative work within DDC has broadened my research areas by applying data science methods to better understand geological problems involved in deep geothermal energy, mine water heat, hydrogeology, surface heat flow and metal exploration as well as provide new insights into microscopic image and granite geochemical analyses.

    • The development of the 3D Cornwall model has provided me with opportunities to access the rich, public domain data resources for Cornwall (as well as SW England). This has allowed me to undertake collaborative research with Met4Tech using spatial modelling methods into historic mine production and regional metal occurrences, together with improved understanding of the mine water heat potential for SW England (for decarbonised district heating purposes) as a crucial by-product.

    • Continued research into the geothermal favourability of the onshore Cornubian Batholith (Cornwall and south Devon) using an unsupervised machine learning method applied to multiple geological and geophysical spatial datasets.



  • BSc (Hons) Geology, 2006 (University of Edinburgh

  • MSc Geoscience of Subsurface Exploration, Appraisal and Development, 2007 (Heriot Watt University) 

  • PhD Geology, 2013 (University of Leeds)

  • MSc Applied Data Science and Statistics, 2021 (University of Exeter)



  • 2011-2018 – Halliburton – Landmark (formerly Neftex), Geoscience Analyst
  • 2018-2020 – Science (Physics and Chemistry) Teacher
  • 2021-present – University of Exeter, Geology Imnpact Fellow in Deep Digital Cornwall



  • Fellow of the Geological Society of London