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Bristol academic leads multi-million pound consortium to fight flooding

Press release issued: 6 April 2004

A £5.5 million Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) initiative to combat the growing threat of flooding in the UK will be launched this week.

A £5.5 million Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) initiative to combat the growing threat of flooding in the UK will be launched this week.  Professor Ian Cluckie, Director of Bristol University's Water and Environmental Management Research Centre, will lead the consortium.

The Flood-Risk Management Research Consortium (FRMRC) will generate new science and innovative policy to predict and manage the risk of flooding. These measures are urgently needed because of the increasing risk of flooding from climate change.  It is also estimated that more than two million homes are already at risk from river, coastal or sewer flooding in the UK.

The consortium will be launched at an event on Wednesday April 7 at the Institution of Civil Engineers, London, hosted by the Minister for Environment and Agri-Environment, Elliot Morley MP, who will also deliver the keynote speech.

Professor Cluckie, one of the University's leading experts on flooding and a Professor in the Department of Civil Engineering, will be supported by colleagues, Dr Dawei Han and Dr Jim Hall.  Professor Paul Bates, Professor Malcolm Anderson and Dr Matt Horritt from the School of Geographical Sciences and Dr Jonathan Lawry from Engineering Mathematics will also be part of the key group who will lead Bristol's contribution to the consortium.  The consortium will include over 20 other organisations in pursuing the research identified during the establishment of this highly integrated programme.

The consortium will focus its efforts on six key priority areas: land-use management; real-time flood forecasting; flood defence infrastructure; towards whole systems modeling; urban flood management and stakeholders and policy.  These areas will be supported by two main cross-cutting themes: morphology, sediments and habitats; and risk and uncertainty.

Professor Cluckie said: "Flood risk management is one of the key areas of research in the water sector at present and Bristol University is playing a leading role both nationally and internationally with the largest concentration of flood researchers in the UK.

"The new consortium offers great potential to provide a strategic input to this area and in the context of the potential impact of future climate change on the United Kingdom will provide a highly visible input to sustainable flood management."

The research will be carried out by the partner universities, consultancy companies and research institutes, in collaboration with the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), water companies, the Welsh Assembly, the Met Office, the US Army Corps of Engineers and other high-profile organisations nationally and internationally.  A key aim is to promote a multidisciplinary approach to meeting the research challenges that will be faced.

The research will strengthen the UK's science and engineering base in flood research and provide a significant contribution to European and International efforts to mitigate some of the increasingly negative impacts of climate change.

The event, which will be attended by representatives of government agencies, local authorities, industry, academia, the service sector and those affected by flooding, will include a question and answer session and will provide a forum for debate between those involved in undertaking, using and funding flood-related research.

The Flood-Risk Management Research Consortium is a collaborative initiative between the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), the Defra/Environment Agency Joint R&D Programme on Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management, the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), the Scottish Executive, and UK Water Industry Research (UKWIR). Together the partners will provide more than £5.5 million in funding to establish and support the work of the consortium over the next four years.

The core team of researchers involved in the consortium include:
Professor Ian Cluckie (University of Bristol)
Professor Garry Pender (Heriot-Watt University)
Professor Colin Thorne (University of Nottingham)
Dr Joe Howe (University of Manchester)
Professor Adrian Saul (University of Sheffield)
Professor Howard Wheater (Imperial College)
Dr Paul Sayers (HR Wallingford)
Professor Stephen Huntington (HR Wallingford)
Professor Keith Beven (University of Lancaster)

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