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Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

Agency: GTR | Branch: NERC | Program: | Phase: Research Grant | Award Amount: 99.15K | Year: 2010

The Water Framework Directive (WFD) is an important piece of legislation for the management and protection of natural water resources. Its implementation is at river basin level with a requirement to achieve good status for water bodies by 2015. Published River Basin Management Plans e.g. for the Thames, describe the catchment, the pressures that affect it, the risks these pose to achieving good status, and the measures needed to achieve the environmental objectives. Just 26% of water bodies in the Thames are predicted to meet good status by 2015. The reason for a failure of good ecological status is often uncertain or unknown. The potential for scientists to improve this understanding is high. However, academics have been identified by the Environment Agency (EA) as not having been engaged in the development of the Thames Plan. The EA has identified specific knowledge gaps regarding implementation of the Plan, which are directly relevant to NERC and the wider scientific community. The Better Thames Network will provide a knowledge exchange mechanism between stakeholders e.g. the EA and the Thames River Basin District Liaison Panel, and scientists to help address the knowledge gaps. Network working groups will focus on specific issues in the Plan which, if addressed show the greatest promise to improve the prognosis for the Thames. It will act as a point of contact advisory service for stakeholders to help refine, and attempt to answer specific questions and for scientists to identify stakeholder needs in order to frame research programmes. The Network will provide access to expertise and act as a conduit for knowledge transfer between scientists in institutions in and around the Thames river basin, and through them to contacts with appropriate expertise beyond the river basin. In addition the Network will provide advice and expertise to stakeholders relevant to local delivery of the plan. The Network will not focus on national policy, but on implementation of WFD within the Thames district. It will connect NERC scientists local to the river basin with local stakeholders tasked with operational delivery of the basin plan. The objectives for the Network are to: (1) define knowledge gaps in the Thames Plan where knowledge exchange can make a contribution; (2) map the research community with relevant expertise in the Thames region; (3) run workshops with stakeholders and scientists focused on key knowledge gaps; (4) facilitate multidisciplinary collaboration within the workshops to refine questions, highlight relevant data and literature, and when necessary identify what new research is needed; (5) provide a mechanism for stakeholder access to academics to address specific local questions relevant to the implementation of the Plan, and allow academics access to stakeholders in order to frame research activities; (6) use the workshops and research community mapping to develop a web based portal and database that provides access for stakeholders to expertise. Specific outputs will include a database containing outcomes from the mapping of academic expertise within (and as necessary beyond) the Thames region held on an open access web portal. The web portal will also provide access to a bibliography focused on identified knowledge gaps; links to other information portals for the EA and stakeholders; and information on the Thames Basin Management Plan and linked data from the EA. Outputs from the workshops will be a tailored briefing document for the EA and Thames Liaison Panel focused on either filling the identified knowledge gap or framing research questions to address the knowledge gap, as well as articles in a peer reviewed journal. The ultimate measure of success of the Network will be achieving improved implementation of the Thames Plan i.e. above the 26% predicted good status by 2015. Equally important outcomes include facilitating engagement between the EA, stakeholders and the NERC scientific community.

Agency: GTR | Branch: EPSRC | Program: | Phase: Research Grant | Award Amount: 634.73K | Year: 2015

Recent flooding events such as those of winter 2013/14 in the South West of UK have highlighted the importance of having greater resilience in our transport infrastructure. The failure of bridges or even a reduction in service during and in the aftermath of floods can lead to significant direct and indirect costs to the economy and society, and hamper rescue and recovery efforts. For example, 29 bridges collapsed or were severely damaged during the 2009 floods in Cumbria leading to nearly £34m in repair and replacement costs, and significantly larger economic and societal costs. This research aims to enhance the resilience of our transport infrastructure by enabling practitioners to assess the risks to bridges from debris accumulation in the watercourse, a leading cause of bridge failure or damage during floods both in the UK and world-wide. It will address an important industry need as there is currently no guidance available for practitioners to evaluate the hydrodynamic effects of debris blockage at bridges and in particular, at masonry bridges, which are most susceptible to debris blockage. Floating debris underneath or upstream of a bridge can significantly increase downstream flow velocities, which can worsen scour around piers and abutments. It can also increase water levels on the bridge and thereby cause large lateral and uplift pressures, which are especially problematic for masonry bridges since they rely on self-weight of masonry and fill to transfer load. This project will aim to understand and characterize the hydrodynamic effects of debris blockage through a combination of laboratory experiments in flumes and computational fluid dynamics (CFD) modelling. It will then develop a risk-based approach for assessing the scour, and uplift and lateral forces at individual bridges due to debris blockage during flood conditions, and incorporate this approach within existing guidance for the assessment of bridges under hydraulic action. The project will be arried out by a multi-disciplinary research team with a strong track record of generating impact, and assisted by an industry consortium composed of major stakeholders involved in UK bridge management.

Agency: Cordis | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-IP | Phase: ENV.2011.2.1.2-1 | Award Amount: 8.88M | Year: 2011

REFORM is targeted towards development of guidance and tools to make river restoration and mitigation measures more cost-effective and to support the 2nd and future River Basin Management Plans (RMBPs) for the WFD. Aims of REFORM are (1) to provide a framework for improving the success of hydromorphological restoration measures and (2) to assess more effectively the state of rivers, floodplains and connected groundwater systems. The restoration framework addresses the relevance of dynamic processes at various spatial and temporal scales, the need for setting end-points, analysis of risks and benefits, integration with other societal demands (e.g. flood protection and water supply), and resilience to climate change. The consortium comprises scientists and practitioners covering a wide range of disciplines (hydrology, hydraulics and geomorphology, ecology, socio-economics). The workplan is organized in three modules: (1) natural processes, (2) degradation, (3) restoration. Data from monitoring programmes and restoration projects will be pooled and linked with landscape-scale hydromorphological and physiographic data and catchment models. Targeted field and experimental studies using common protocols will fill data gaps on the role of scale in restoration success. A wide range of statistical modeling approaches will improve indicators for hydromorphological change and factors determining restoration success. All work packages are multidisciplinary and will feed into products for application in river basin management, e.g. guidelines for successful restoration and a web-based tool for exchanging experiences with river restoration measures facilitated and enhanced through consultation with stakeholders. In addition to its impact on the RBMPs, REFORM will provide guidance to other EU directives (groundwater, floods, energy from renewable resources, habitats) to integrate their objectives into conservation and restoration of rivers as sustainable ecosystems

Agency: Cordis | Branch: FP7 | Program: CSA-CA | Phase: ENV.2007. | Award Amount: 2.42M | Year: 2008

It is estimated that around 20% of the burden of disease in industrialized countries can be attributed to environmental factors, and the magnitude of the problem is perceived by the majority of Europeans. The assessment of health impacts is based mostly on scarce exposure data and limited information on the relationship between exposure and health. There is, therefore, a need to strengthen research in this area and to develop methods and tools which will improve the comparability of data. Member States have developed skills and expertise using different mechanisms to fund environment and health research. The scientific boundaries created by the remits of different funding organisations have frequently acted as a disincentive to collaborative working. Although aims are towards relevance and efficiency, the results remain dispersed and not of actual support for policy-making. Therefore, results of the studies in ERA-ENVHEALTH will lead to the proposal of a coherent set of proposed priorities, implementation of joint activities, and common calls. ERA-ENVHEALTH, by bringing together 16 participants from 10 countries, will contribute to establish collaboration among the different funding organisations of environmental and public health research communities.

Agency: Cordis | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP | Phase: ENV.2013.6.2-1 | Award Amount: 11.66M | Year: 2014

MARS will support managers and policy makers in the practical implementation of the WFD, of related legislation and of the Blueprint to Safeguard Europes Water Resources by conducting new research and synthesising existing knowledge concerning effects and management of multiple stressors in surface water and groundwater bodies; by advising the 3rd RMBP cycle and the revision of the WFD; and by developing new integrated tools for diagnosing and predicting multiple stressors in water resource management. The consortium includes 19 research institutes and five water boards and environment agencies. MARS will engage with ongoing and finalised European initiatives addressing related topics, thus acting as an integrating project. Work will be organised at the scales of water bodies, river basins and Europe; at each scale there is a direct link to water managers and decision makers. Nested within the scale structure, we will employ a suite of methods: flume and mesocosm experiments to better understand the effects of selected stressor combinations with a focus on extremes and hydrological stress; linkage of abiotic and biotic models to predict effects of stressor combinations at a river basin scale; large-scale data analysis employing existing databases, but including additional variables, to gain a Europe-wide overview of stress, status and ecosystem services. MARS will be composed of eight workpackages (WPs). While WP1 will be responsible for overall coordination, WP2 will provide tools, concepts and scenarios for the other WPs. WPs 3-5 will analyse and predict multiple stressor-impact relationships on three scales: water bodies (WP3), river basins (WP4) and Europe (WP5); the results will be synthesised across scales by WP6. WP7 will generate a wiki information system and produce or improve tools addressing the three scales. WP8 will communicate with river basin districts and Common Implementation Strategy (CIS) groups and will advise the WFD revision.

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