This research program aims to understand the roles of carbon, water and nitrogen as drivers of mantle evolution and in the development of plate tectonics. It expects to transform our understanding of the deep cycles of C, H and N, by combining novel techniques in high-pressure experiments and nanoscale chemical analysis to quantify their storage and exchange rates. We expect to decrypt mantle evolution, and provide dependable, budgeted cycles of C, H and N in the Earth’s interior. Benefits include knowledge of how key economic elements are enriched, and developing international leadership in experimental and analytical techniques. This program will pave the way for the eventual unification of the plate tectonic and climate systems.