Four new FLOOD Centres have been launched to educate the next generation of PhD students to better understand and manage the flooding which has caused havoc across the UK in recent months.
Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)-funded centres will instruct 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 from NERC. The National Oceanography Centre (NOC) will also play an integral role in the FLOOD Centre for Doctoral Training.
The hub will work to develop a talent pool of environmental experts invested in protecting against rising river, rainfall, and sea levels, aiming 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,
It is supported by an additional 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.
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.
Currently one in six households in the UK are located in flood-prone areas, with the biggest drivers of flooding being increased river flow, surface runoff, storm surges and waves, which are compounded by climate change and shifting populations.
Deputy Director Dr Jennifer Brown, NOC Coastal Oceanographer, explained that the new hub will work to combat these growing challenges; “This is a great opportunity to focus science research directly around the challenges faced by those managing and responding to flooding.”
Ivan Haigh, leader of the FLOOD Centre, 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.”
Details of applying for positions at the FLOOD Centres can be found on Southampton University’s website, or on the NOC’s website.