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Increasing Resilience to Natural Hazards in Earthquake-prone & Volcanic Regions

Photo: earthquake damage

Earthquakes and volcanoes cause enormous human suffering and economic damage, accounting for the loss of millions of lives, and at a cost of billions of dollars. Further research effort is needed to enhance the understanding of the physical processes behind such natural hazards, but also their effects and implications for their prediction and mitigation.

This interdisciplinary programme aims to build resilience in earthquake-prone and volcanic regions by reducing risks from multiple natural hazards, increasing population resilience to high impact events, particularly as they increase in severity and frequency.

A strong interdisciplinary approach to research throughout this programme aims to improve forecasting and uptake of scientific advice and increase understanding of vulnerability and risk.

UK and Chinese scientists partner on earthquake research programme

5 May 2016

A research partnership between the UK and China will develop new expertise on increasing resilience to natural disasters.


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Earthquakes and volcanoes cause enormous human suffering and economic damage, accounting for the loss of millions of lives, and at a cost of billions of dollars. Further research effort is needed to enhance the understanding of the physical processes behind such natural hazards, but also their effects and implications for their prediction and mitigation.

This interdisciplinary programme aims to build resilience in earthquake-prone and volcanic regions by reducing risks from multiple natural hazards, increasing population resilience to high impact events, particularly as they increase in severity and frequency.

A strong interdisciplinary approach to research throughout this programme aims to improve forecasting and uptake of scientific advice and increase understanding of vulnerability and risk.

The longer-term economic and social costs of disasters resulting from earthquakes, volcanoes and associated hazards (eg landslides and mudflows), through damage to local or regional economies, impacts on long-term health, well-being, business, housing and education are immense, particularly in the developing world.

Many scientists believe that the potential for a one million death disaster is accelerating and may be realised soon.

Natural hazard-related losses are expanding rapidly, due to the increasing exposure and vulnerability of human populations in affected regions.

This is partly explained by population growth and urbanisation, but is also as the result of the poor utilisation of available natural hazard science, during regional development planning as well as in emergency decision-making processes during a crisis.

Society places increasing emphasis on mitigating these risks and building societal resilience, for instance through capacity building and emergency preparation. Every dollar spent in preparing for a natural disaster saves seven in response.

This programme aims to combine and build on the strengths of natural and social sciences and has the potential to significantly reduce losses over time, help preparation and post-event management, and help minimise vulnerability and long-term damage.

Timing

2010 - 2018

Can I apply for a grant?

No, the call for proposals to Increasing Resilience to Natural Hazards in Earthquake-prone Regions of China programme is now closed.

Budget

This programme has an existing budget of £5·8m over five years.

NERC and ESRC have recently committed a further £2·5m of Newton funding for a new call in 2015 and NSFC will provide matched funding. NERC/ESRC funds will be used to support the UK research community whilst NSFC funding will support Chinese researchers.

Programme awards

Award details are shown in our online grants browser - Grants on the Web.

View details of funded applications for scoping studies November 2010 and consortium grants November 2011 - external link

View details of funded applications for IRNH KE Fellowships March 2013 - external link

Management

Programme Executive Board (PEB)

The Increasing Resilience to Natural Hazards (IRNH) programme will be governed by the Programme Executive Board, which is responsible for the strategic direction and management of the programme and delivery of the programme's objectives. The Programme Executive Board will be chaired by NERC and ESRC.

IRNH Advisory Group

The role of the Advisory Group is to advise the Programme Executive Board on the strategic direction of the programme and integration of the programme's physical and social science. The Programme Executive Board will retain responsibility for how such advice is used.

The Advisory Group is made up of the following members:

  • Professor Peter Sammonds, University College London
  • Miss Jessica Camburn, Save the Children and ELHRA
  • Dr Edward Clay, Overseas Development Institute (retired)
  • Professor Virginia Murray, Health Protection Agency
  • Professor Andrew Stirling, University of Sussex
  • Professor Massimo Cocco, INGV, Italy
  • Professor Warner Marzocchi, INGV, Italy

The following documents and links are related to or give more information about this programme.

Scoping Workshop for China-UK Cooperation: Developing Collaborations in the Natural and Social Sciences in the area of Geohazards
19-22 November 2014, Sofis Jinyuan Hotel, Chengdu, Sichuan Province, China

This workshop was hosted by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC), the UK Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and the UK Social and Economic Research Council (ESRC), with support from the Research Council UK China office (RCUK China).

The primary objective of the workshop was to design a new UK/China interdisciplinary call, supported by the Newton Fund, with a focus on increasing social and economic resilience to disasters resulting from earthquakes and associated hazards (eg landslides and mudflows) as part of the NERC/ESRC funded Increasing Resilience to Natural Hazards (IRNH) programme.

Over fifty participants from China and the UK, shared ideas and discussed the key science challenges, research effort needed and best routes for delivery. The workshop facilitated networking and discussion enabling researchers to consider key research questions relevant to this call.

Recommendations were made for an integrated programme call, incorporating five themes:

  1. Resilience, Recovery and Reconstruction
  2. Understanding Vulnerabilities
  3. Hazard Cycles and Impacts: Monitoring and Measurements
  4. Hazard Cycles and Impacts: Mechanisms and Processes
  5. Risk Management and Uncertainty

The three funders (NSFC, NERC and ESRC) with the support of RCUK China, are now incorporating this advice into developing the scope of a call for research proposals.

The workshop agenda and a synopsis of the main recommendations from the workshop plus notes of the discussions of the themes can be downloaded below:

Chengdu workshop agenda (PDF, 477KB)

Chengdu workshop synopsis (PDF, 227KB)

Scoping Study Final Reports

Building rural resilience in seismically active regions (PDF, 82KB)
PI - Dr Alexander Densmore

Increasing Resilience to Icelandic Volcanic Eruptions (PDF, 177KB)
PI - Professor James Haywood

Volcanoscope: Scoping study for increasing resilience to hazards in volcanic regions (PDF, 101KB)
PI - Dr Christopher Kilburn

Resilience to Volcanic and Tsunami Hazards within Indigenous Communities: Savo Volcano Solomon Islands and applications to other archipelago nations (PDF, 169KB)
PI - Professor Michael Petterson

CARIBRISK: Increasing resilience to volcanic eruptions in the eastern Caribbean, Northern Andes and Central America (PDF, 135KB)
PI - Professor Robert Sparks

Increasing Community Resilience through Integrated Earthquake Science (PDF, 223KB)
PI - Professor John McCloskey

Other Relevant Documents

What Works and Does not Work in the Science and Social Science of Earthquake Vulnerability? (PDF, 356KB)
Report from a workshop held on 28 and 29 January 2011, at University of Oxford, Department of Earth Sciences

Resilience thinking in health protection (PDF, 243KB)

Town Meeting Presentations

Presentation by Massimo Cocco (PDF, 2.9MB)

Presentation by Gemma Harper (PDF, 179KB)