Investing in state-of-the-art community-led research infrastructure to improve the UK’s resilience to floods and droughts
The Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) has successfully secured £38 million from the UKRI Infrastructure Fund towards the establishment of a UK-wide, digitally enabled Floods and Droughts Research Infrastructure (FDRI).
The investment will facilitate the hydrological science and innovation needed to make the UK more adaptable and resilient to floods and droughts. It will include urgently needed UK-wide deployments of instruments for observing our water environment, novel digital solutions to support data use, and testbeds for technological innovations. FDRI will ensure that the UK continues to provide global leadership for hydrological research and innovation, driving solutions worldwide.
Why is UKRI investing in FDRI?
Floods and droughts cause significant economic, social and environmental impacts. These extreme weather events are predicted to increase in intensity, frequency, and duration due to future climate change and human activity, including land-use change. This change in climate risk is outpacing progress in adaptation policy and its implementation.
Without a significant investment in whole-system, hydrological research 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. Through the consultation 749 members of the hydrological research community were contacted, including representatives from academia, regulatory authorities and industry.