Probability, Uncertainty & Risk in the Environment
Call for NERC PURE Associates
Closing date: 30 September 2013
Looking for a business, policy or NGO to work with? These organisations are looking for academic collaborators with research expertise in a number of areas: flooding, heatwaves, cold weather, climate-resilient agriculture and tools to visualise and communicate risk:
Harnessing science for improved risk assessment and decision-making
It is vital that the knowledge and expertise arising from science funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) is harnessed for the benefit of a wide range of end users. To facilitate this, NERC wishes to fund scientists to work with business, policy-makers and NGOs to apply their knowledge and skills to improve assessments of natural hazard risk and enhance decision-making.
The world is becoming increasingly susceptible to risks arising from natural hazards. Impacts can be identified at the individual, community or business level through to global society. Business is beginning to recognise the need to understand and reduce the risks to infrastructure, operations and supply chains arising from natural hazards and extreme weather events. A parallel culture in international disaster risk reduction has taken longer to develop, however two recent UK-led reports have emphasised the need for humanitarian and development organisations to make better use of science to reduce the risks to communities from natural hazards.
The NERC-funded community has considerable expertise in natural hazard modelling and prediction - science that is essential in developing robust methodologies for assessing and managing risk and uncertainty. Most of this has been developed around individual hazards and the processes that govern them, but increasingly decision-makers are looking to assess risk from multiple hazards or connected hazards, so robust approaches to multi-hazard assessment are required.
To increase its value to decision-makers, however, hazard science, whether based around a separate decision or multiple hazards, needs to be integrated with measures or models of vulnerability and exposure to provide better assessments of risk. There is an urgent need for tools to better communicate risk and enable decision-making under uncertainty.
NERC invites applications for projects of between three to six months that will transfer existing knowledge, models and expertise into business, policy or NGOs. Each Associate will be jointly supervised by a senior academic and a user organisation representative. NERC funding will cover the Associates' salary or stipend, university fees (where applicable), the academic supervisors' time, travel and subsistence.
The aim of the projects should be either:
- to produce robust risk assessments based upon single or multiple natural hazards that integrate measures or models of exposure and vulnerability; this will enable decision-makers to take action to manage risk;
- to develop tools to support decision-making under environmental uncertainty.
NERC would particularly encourage applications for projects which:
- develop robust assessments of risk to infrastructure, business operations and supply chains from natural hazards, including extreme weather;
- develop risk models around multi-hazard assessments;
- develop tools to visualise and communicate risk and uncertainty;
- develop tools to inform planning for long-term investment such as infrastructure or business interruption, including risks to the supply chain;
- develop tools to help emergency planning and responses, and build community resilience through humanitarian and development organisations;
- adapt tools developed in other application areas for managing risk and uncertainty to natural hazards.
All projects must address real business, policy or NGO problems that arise due to uncertainty and risk in relation to natural hazards. NERC will also consider applications for two or more Associates working with the same organisation on a multidisciplinary problem.
A workshop to initiate collaborations between academics and business, policy or NGOs will be held in Oxford on 10 September 2013. Please email Vera Hazelwood for more details on the workshop or to discuss a project idea.
Closing date for applications is 30 September 2013, awards will be made by mid October 2013 with projects starting by 1 December 2013. NERC is looking to fund around ten projects.
NERC is operating this call in conjunction with the Probability, Uncertainty and Risk in the Environment (PURE) Programme. Successful applicants will become one of a cohort of approximately ten NERC PURE Associates. Risk Management is a priority area for impact and NERC are currently developing a programme of work in this area. For more information contact Ruth Hughes.
Full details of this call are provided in the information and guidance for applicants.