Oxford researchers bridge the gap between flood risk science and management

Paul Sayers and Professor Jim Hall at the Environmental Change Institute have been awarded a grant from the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) to capture current knowledge of methods for assessing flood risk and determining future infrastructure investments.

The past decade has seen significant developments in the approaches to assessing and managing flood risk, with both research and industry-led innovations. This has, however, led to a great number of methods that are difficult for practitioners and researchers to access and build upon. It is not always clear what best practice is, or how credible results are from different approaches.

The project ‘Flood risk: Building Infrastructure Resilience through better Understanding and Management choices ‘ (FoRUM) which is funded by NERC’s Environmental Risks to Infrastructure Innovation Projects call, will gather the current state-of-the-art knowledge on flood risk assessment and long-term investment planning.

The researchers will develop a common understanding of alternative methods and the uncertainties associated with each. This knowledge will be then be shared with stakeholders in the research, private and public sectors. Through the dialogue between researchers and stakeholders, FoRUM will establish the foundation for future advances in this field and collaboration between business and academia, ensuring that scientific developments have relevance to real-world needs.

The research team is led by Professor Jim Hall and Paul Sayers in the Environmental Change Institute at Oxford University with support from Professor Rob Nicholls (Southampton University) and Professor Edmund Penning-Rowsell (Oxford University). They are working closely with leading practitioners with an interest in flood risk and ability to make use of innovative science, including from the Environment Agency, Network Rail, Thames Water, JBA, CHM2HILL, AIR and HR Wallingford.

For further information, contact paul.sayers@ouce.ox.ac.uk