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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/T015462/1
Title: Innovative data services for aquaculture, seismic resilience and drought adaptation in East Africa
Principal Investigator: Canagarajah, Professor N
Other Investigators:
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Research and Enterprise Development
Organisation: University of Bristol
Scheme: UKRI
Starts: 01 October 2019 Ends: 31 March 2021 Value (£): 809,142
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Animal organisms Climate & Climate Change
Development Studies Nat Resources, Env & Rural Dev
Regional & Extreme Weather
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
14 Aug 2019 GCRF GRTA Panel19 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
In this GCTA we propose three projects to tackle significant environmental challenges; earthquakes, droughts and food security in DAC countries in the East African region.

Project 1 will focus on seismic risk mitigation in Malawi. In DAC countries, the lack of resources hinders effective seismic mitigation strategies and as a result, earthquakes can result in devastating human and school infrastructure loss. Malawi is one of the countries in the East African region that suffer greatly from this challenge. This is because traditional masonry structures are unreinforced and seismically vulnerable, there is rapid population growth and urbanization, and large earthquakes of M7.0 or greater can occur in the East African Rift (EAR). In Malawi Schools are often the only community buildings in a village and are used as refuges post-disaster. In addition to that, Malawi lack the means to predict seismic risk. To tackle this challenge, we will employ a two-pronged approach. First, we will deploy the seismic risk assessment tools developed as part of the PREPARE project in Malawi. This will enable the reliable assessment of seismic hazard (i.e., the probability that an earthquake will occur in a given geographic area, within a given window of time, and with certain ground motion intensity). Second, we will translate and contextualise the simple, low cost, easy to use tool developed as part of the SAFER project in Nepal for the pre-earthquake assessment of school buildings and the informed prioritization of school strengthening in Malawi.

PROJECT 2 will focus on adaptation to droughts in Kenya. Severe water shortage is one of the most pressing development challenges in the East African region, having been struck by 10 droughts since 2000 which led to three severe famines affecting millions of East Africans. As such there is a pressing need for relevant, timely, and practical information about water resources, particularly for rural agro-pastoral populations which are distant from decision-making centres. We propose to develop an App for this purpose. The App will provide users with seasonal forecasts of water scarcity (in the soil and groundwater) with uncertainty estimates at their location, allowing farmers to take appropriate decisions about crop variety for that season for example.

PROJECT 3 will focus on improving aquaculture production in Tanzania. The population of Tanzania is projected to increase from 56 million in 2018 to 129 million by 2050, resulting in unprecedented demand for fish protein. Tilapia aquaculture is proposed as an important solution to meet the increased demand. However, it has not yet expanded in line with demand, with access to appropriate broodstock and education cited as key concerns limiting expansion. A key issue is the widespread contamination of ponds by an invasive small-bodied tilapia species (the blue-spotted tilapia), which is indistinguishable as young fish from large bodied species (e.g. Nile tilapia). Elimination of this contamination has been recognised by the Tanzanian Government as a critical step to improve food production as the industry expands. This project will provide environmental DNA-based surveillance information to focus the developing aquaculture sector on large-bodied, high-yielding species, in addition to providing advice and information on where to obtain pure stock and appropriate feed and rearing conditions for favoured large-bodied species.

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