A new 5-year capital investment by the UK Government enabling essential science and innovation to improve the country’s resilience to hydrological extremes.
In June 2022, the UK Research and Innovation department announced their intention to invest £38M towards the establishment of a nationwide, digitally enabled Floods and Droughts Research Infrastructure.
Led by the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, the FDRI will facilitate the hydrological science and innovation needed to make the country more adaptable and resilient to floods and droughts. It will include: urgently needed nationwide deployments of instruments for observing our water environment; novel digital solutions to support data -discovery, -access, and -integration; an innovation programme to support and catalyse research and development, and a capacity building programme to support collaborative working and skills sharing.
FDRI will advance our understanding of how, when and where floods and droughts occur, enabling improved predictions, robust assessment of impacts and implementation of appropriate mitigation measures. It will help ensure that the UK continues to play a leading role in hydrological research and innovation, driving solutions worldwide.
Why is UKRI investing in FDRI?
Floods and droughts cause significant economic, social and environmental impacts and they are predicted to increase in intensity, frequency, and duration in response to changes in climate and human activity. The need for new science to underpin the UK’s preparedness and resilience to these extreme events has never been more pressing.
Without a significant investment in whole-system, hydrological infrastructure, evidence to underpin the UK's resilience to increasingly intense and frequent flood and drought events will be limited, and the costs and damages to society and the environment will spiral upwards.
This significant infrastructure investment was made possible by a 21-month-long NERC- and UKRI-funded scoping study that determined research community requirements for an FDRI that identified and prioritised research community requirements for and FDRI.