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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/G013403/1
Title: PLATFORM GRANT: Earth Systems Engineering: Sustainable systems engineering for adapting to global change
Principal Investigator: Kilsby, Professor C
Other Investigators:
Dawson, Professor RJ Fowler, Professor H Wilkinson, Dr S
Mills, Professor JP Barr, Professor S Oconnell, Professor PE
Glendinning, Professor S
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Civil Engineering and Geosciences
Organisation: Newcastle University
Scheme: Platform Grants
Starts: 01 December 2008 Ends: 30 May 2014 Value (£): 1,324,300
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Coastal & Waterway Engineering Ground Engineering
Urban & Land Management
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Construction Environment
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
28 Aug 2008 Platforms Panel August 2008 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
In August 2003, in the midst of the hottest European summer on record, the journal Nature entitled an editorial Welcome to the Anthropocene . The editors explained how the Earth has become an 'anthropogenic planet' in which its natural systems are marked by, and often profoundly influenced by, human activity. Management of the 'anthropogenic planet' presents enormous challenges to engineers. For example, to plan and design water resource systems require a capacity to analyse the behaviour of whole river basins over timescales of decades, to simulate and test the effectiveness of alternative management options and to monitor and modify the system performance. This process of rationally 'engineering' coupled technological, human and natural systems is referred to as Earth Systems Engineering. In Newcastle we have established a pioneering research programme in Earth Systems Engineering dedicated to understanding and modelling of processes of change within coupled technological, human and natural systems. We use our knowledge to inform the sustainable management of these complex systems, often through the development of computer-based decision support tools. Our research programme in Earth Systems Engineering is structure around six interacting themes. In Theme A we are developing detailed scenarios of future climate change. Theme B combines cutting edge field monitoring data with satellite datasets, to provide inputs to the computer models of technological, natural and human systems that we are pioneering in Theme C. In Theme D we are applying novel methods for dealing with the uncertainty that pervades complex systems management problems. Theme E brings the preceding knowledge together to inform engineers and policy makers in choice of management options, primarily through the development of visualisation and decision support tools. These methods are tested and demonstrated in Theme F in major integrated case studies, which currently encompass integrated assessment of whole cities, and catchment management. We will over the next five years work towards a major regional-scale demonstration. We seek Platform Grant funding to orchestrate this complex endeavour and realise our vision for the new era in analysis and decision making that is required for engineers to respond to the challenges of intensifying global change. This will be achieved through targeted research activities and strategic investment in the success of our team. We will use Platform Grant funding to: 1. Test and pilot new high risk methods that may hold the key to the problems we are trying to solve.2. Enhance the computer modelling systems upon which we depend.3. Join up our research in order to deliver integrated systems approaches.4. Safeguard monitoring programmes at our field sites. 5. Enable research staff to take increased responsibility for research projects, by providing opportunities to pilot ideas, write proposals and see projects through to fruition. 6. Train the junior researchers and postgraduates who represent the next generation of high-flyers. 7. Support interdisciplinary working, by running an interdisciplinary seminar programme and supporting discipline-hopping activities by our researchers. 8. Build international partnerships and secure the international profile of our research. 9. Deepen relationships with industry and government through collaborative work with industrial partners and secondments by researchers. 10. Engage with schools and the public to build understanding of the solutions that engineers can offer to the challenges of global change, and to motivate the next generation of potential Earth Systems Engineers. By enabling our talented team of researchers to realise their potential and by funding initiatives to integrate and grow our Earth Systems Engineering research programme, a Platform Grant will help us to deliver the engineering systems responses to global change that are so urgently needed.
Key Findings
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Organisation Website: http://www.ncl.ac.uk