Professor Sara Benetti

Head of School of Geography and Environmental Sciences

School of Geog & Environmental Scs

Coleraine campus

Room G270,
Cromore Road,
Co. Londonderry,
BT52 1SA,

Environmental Sciences Research

Head of School of Geography and Environmental Sciences

Professor Sara Benetti


Research Interests

  • Abrupt and long-term climatic change and its effects on sedimentological processes.
  • Marine record of climate change.
  • Marine sediments and geomorphology.
  • Seafloor mapping.
  • Submarine geohazards.

Teaching Interests

Current teaching at Ulster University includes:

  • BSc - The Hydrosphere; Environmental Change; Coastal and Marine Processes; ES Research Methods and Field School.
  • MSc - Environmental Management Research Project.

As part of her teaching responsibilities, she is the School’s Study Abroad / exchange coordinator  and is in charge of engaging with new partner universities. Her practice has been highlighted as best practice at University level and she works closely with the University’s International Department to improve the students’ experience and variety of placements abroad.

She has completed her Postgraduate degree in Higher Education practice in 2011 and she is Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (UK) and of the Ulster University Centre for Higher Education Practice


Dr Sara Benetti is a marine geoscientist, with an interest in sedimentary processes and geomorphology. She has gained experience in marine research through her work at the National Oceanography Centre (UK), Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (USA), Bedford Institute of Oceanography (Canada), British Antarctic Survey (UK) and the Advanced Mapping Section at the Marine Institute of Ireland. She works extensively with datasets obtained from marine coring and drilling, multibeam echo-sounder bathymetric and backscatter and sub-bottom data.

She is involved in several Europe-wide research collaborations, funded at European and UK level, with emphasis on the reconstruction of the extent and dynamics of the British-Irish Ice Sheet (BIIS) using geophysical and sedimentological datasets (BRITICE-CHRONO and GLANAM). For this research, she also succeeded in securing funding and acting as chief scientist or co-investigator on ten research cruises on the Irish continental margin, as well as on other collaborative projects.

More recently, she obtained funding from the European Commission for the investigation of the submarine record of volcanic eruptions in the Strait of Sicily in the Mediterranean Sea through the PANTHER project.

Her external activities include:

  • Expert evaluator for European Union FP7 R&D programme “New and renewable sources of energy, Energy efficiency & innovation” (ongoing)
  • Expert reviewer (2011) and vice-chair (since 2013) for the FP7 Marie Curie IEF/IIF/IOF fellowship evaluation panels and vice-chair for H2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship evaluations (ongoing).
  • Member of the E-MARSHAL (IGCP-585) project (Earth’s continental MARgins: aSessing the geoHazard from submarine Landslides) and project S4SLIDE (Significance of Modern and Ancient Submarine Slope LandSLIDEs) (IGCP-640)
  • Reviewer for leading journals in the field: Nature (top 5%; IF 42.351); Cryosphere (top 10%; IF 5.5); Marine Geology (top 20%, IF 2.7); J. Quaternary Science (top 15%, IF 3.4) and Sedimentary Geology (top 25%, IF 1.8).