“Are weather forecasts still for wimps?” asks Steve Rayner

Professor Steve Rayner questioned the usefulness of long-range weather forecasting as a tool to improve water resource management in a lecture at Flinders University, Australia on 26 November.

The lecture ‘Are weather forecasts still for wimps?’ discussed the historic problems with using long-term weather modelling. However, Professor Rayner suggested that recent improvements in the accuracy of forecasts and the capacity of staff means that this tool holds greater potential for improving water resource management around the world.

Steve Rayner is James Martin Professor of Science and Civilization at Oxford University’s School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography and Director of the Institute for Science, Innovation and Society.

Read more on the Flinders University blog.

Nick Hankins appointed editor-in-chief of new Elsevier water journal

Dr Nick Hankins of the Department of Engineering Science has been appointed as editor-in-chief of the Journal of Water Process Engineering.

The Journal of Water Process Engineering is a new journal which will publish refereed, high-quality research papers with significant novelty and impact in all areas of the engineering of water and wastewater processing. The journal will particularly focus on contributions involving environmentally, economically and socially sustainable technology for water treatment.

The first issue of the Journal of Water Process Engineering, comprising of invited papers, will be published towards the end of March 2014. Dr Hankins will co-edit the journal with  Professor Abdul Wahab Mohammed  of the Universiti Kebangsaan, Malaysia.

Oxford awarded Doctoral Training Partnership in Environmental Research

Oxford University has been awarded funding for a Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP) – a 4-year D.Phil. programme which offers a world-class, multidisciplinary training environment for the next generation of leaders working at the frontiers of environmental research.

Oxford is one of 15 universities to receive a share of a £10 million investment from the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC). The DTP will provide full funding for 120 students over the next five years.

The new DTP programme is designed to promote and facilitate interdisciplinary research, that will provide students with skills, expertise and knowledge relevant to future careers in academia and industry. The course will start with a broad interdisciplinary training spanning the departments of Earth Sciences, Zoology, Geography, Archaeology, Physics, and Plant Sciences.

The programme will draw on collaborations with many partner institutions, including the British Geological Survey, the Royal Botanic Gardens, the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory and the Met Office.

An open day for potential applicants will be held at the Department of Zoology on Wednesday 27 November. Applications close on 24 January 2014.

Read the Oxford University press release

Read the NERC press release

Visit the Oxford University Doctoral Training Partnership in Environmental Research website


Grant won to investigate the resilience of water infrastructures

A team of Oxford researchers have been awarded funding to study how resilient water infrastructures are to natural and man-made threats. The project is a collaboration with the University of Massachusetts and Sandia National Laboratory in the United States.

The Oxford team is led by Professor Jim Hall and includes the researchers Drs Dustin Garrick and Raghav Pant, and DPhil candidates Edoardo Borgomeo and Scott Thacker.

Together with engineers in the United States, the team will develop methodologies for assessing risks to water security and modelling the resilience of piped water networks at a national scale. This research will provide new knowledge to inform the planning and design of water supply systems. It help target measures to increase the resilience of water infrastructures.

The project has been awarded funding from ‘Clean Water for All’, a new trans-Atlantic collaboration which brings leading water engineers from the United States and the UK together to tackle problems of providing clean, sustainable water supplies. Five projects have been funded, with support from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) in the USA.

Read the EPSRC Press Release