This is a great opportunity to focus science research directly around the challenges faced by those managing and responding to flooding
- Dr Jenny Brown from NOC will co-direct a new flood research centre to help the UK become more resilient to flooding.
- The centre, led by the University of Southampton, will develop a talent pool of environmental experts.
- The hub will help to manage UK flooding which has caused havoc across the country this month.
- Currently one in six households in the UK are located in flood-prone areas.
Four new Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)-funded centres, will educate the next generation of PhD students who will go on to build careers in research, business and public service.
Each centre will be supported with £2.6 million funding.
The National Oceanography Centre (NOC) will play an integral role in the FLOOD Centre for Doctoral Training, that intends to better understand and manage flooding which has caused havoc across the UK this month.
The hub will work to develop a talent pool of environmental experts invested in protecting against rising river, rainfall and sea levels. It aims to make the UK more resilient to flooding.
The FLOOD centre includes experts from the universities of Southampton, Bristol, Loughborough and Newcastle, National Oceanography Centre, UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology and British Geological Survey, with an additional 37 partner organisations.
It will be led by Ivan Haigh at the University of Southampton.
He said: “Flooding is the most destructive natural hazard that humanity faces with nearly two billion people exposed to its risk. We need to act now and come together to improve the way we manage the large and growing threat of flooding in the UK and elsewhere in the world.
“We will train experts to best understand how to tackle the challenges of floods in future years, not only for the UK but countries globally who are facing extreme problems from climate change.”
Currently one in six households in the UK are located in flood-prone areas.
The biggest drivers of flooding are increased river flow, surface runoff, storm surges and waves, said Prof Haigh, which are compounded by climate change and shifting populations.
The new hub will work to combat these growing challenges said its deputy director Dr Jennifer Brown, NOC Coastal Oceanographer.
She added: “This is a great opportunity to focus science research directly around the challenges faced by those managing and responding to flooding.”
Funding for the multimillion-pound centre has been provided by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) together with the seven centres and other partners.
Scientists will work to improve their understand of flooding using advanced monitoring and new forms of computer modelling, artificial intelligence and machine learning to map and forecast future flooding risks.
It is supported by 37 organisations in the flood sector across the UK – from local authorities, national government, water, energy and infrastructure companies, environmental, engineering and management consultancies, regulators, finance and (re)insurance companies and charities.
News of the centre has been welcomed by industry.
Applications for students to enrol onto the centre open in February – read more at www.southampton.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-research/ocean-earth-science.