UK-China Urban Flooding Research Impact Programme

Under its remit as a Delivery Partner in the UK-China Newton Fund, the Academy is partnering with the Chinese Academy of Engineering to implement the UK-China Urban Flooding Research Impact Programme. This Programme aims to support impactful research and enhance the impact of existing research in Urban Flooding in both countries by encouraging bilateral collaboration between academics and government as well as wider industry. 

Request for proposals

Our overall objective for the programme is to strengthen the impact of Chinese and UK researchers to contribute to better, evidence-based policymaking on Urban Flooding issues in China and globally, through deeper collaboration and strategic partnership with governments and industry.
Through this Programme the Academy aims to support impactful research and enhance the impact of existing research in Urban Flooding in both countries by encouraging bilateral collaboration between academics and government as well as wider industry. The Programme is based upon the premise that more strategic linkages between academics, policymakers and industry can boost the impact of existing flood systems research, inform future research priorities, and strengthen evidence-based policymaking to enhance urban resilience to extreme weather and flooding events.
The call for proposals for this programme is now closed.

 Types of activities supported

This call offers financial support for travel, subsistence and salary support costs related to visits and exchanges that support collaborative activities amongst academic and government partners in China and the UK. Under this call we will support proposals that fit with one or more of the following identified outcome areas:
  1. Build strategic linkages between researchers, public sector and industry in China and UK to research the intersection amongst - and combination of - weather systems and pluvial, fluvial and coastal factors to urban flooding and enhance the impact and uptake of its applications in China and in developing countries globally.
  2. Promote sharing of inter-disciplinary knowledge/ best practice between academia, government and industry to improve decision making under uncertainty, promote co-definition of urban flooding problems to inform future research, innovation and policy collaborations in China and in developing countries globally.
  3. Improve research-policy-industry interface to help systemically foster deeper engagement amongst actors in the innovation eco-systems of both countries and create different models of cross-sector engagement on pressing policy issues on urban flooding prevention for wider sharing and adoption in China and in developing countries globally.
The lead applicant will be an individual at a Chinese or UK university which must propose a means of collaboration with co-applicants that meet the above-identified Programme outcome areas. The application must have at least the following partnerships:
  • One Chinese university or research institute (either as lead or as co-applicant)
  • One UK university or research institute (either as lead or as co-applicant)
  • at least one Chinese business (Spin out or SME encouraged); 
  • at least one UK business (Spin out or SME encouraged); 
  • Applications must also have strong support from a Chinese regional or local government affected by urban flooding who will be actively engaged through the course of the project. The strength of this engagement will be a key criteria for assessment
Additionally, support from a UK governmental agency is not required but is encouraged. Further partners are welcome.
As a result of the call, a series of grants up to £70,000 each have been issued. The project duration will not exceed 24 months, including all project activities and final reporting. The proposed start date for the project must be within April 2018 and all projects, including submission of reports, must be completed by end of April 30th 2020. The following projects were supported:
Project Name Chinese Partner (Academia and Industry) Chinese Government Partner Lead UK Partners
Early warning system for urban flooding in Chinese mega cities using advanced active phased array radar (APAR) Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology, Nanjing Hydraulic Research Institute, Naruida Technology Ltd. Guangzhou Meteorological Observatory Swansea University,  H.R. Wallingford; 
ESPRIT Embedding Strategic Planning In flood Resilient ciTies Tsinghua University, NCMEDRI, Suzhou University of Science & Technology Co Ltd. Local authorities of Doumen (Zhuhai), Ningbo, Pingxiang, Qingdao and Suzhou University of Exeter, Jacobs, Sweco, Torbay Council
Studies on disaster-causing mechanisms and disaster reduction countermeasures of urban flooding in China and the UK Wuhan University, Beijing Tepia Technology Company Limited Hubei Provincial Department of Water Resources Cardiff University, Wallingford Hydro Solutions
Developing Engineering Options for Mitigating Future Compound Flooding Risks in Shanghai by Transferring the Expertise of UK TE2100 Shanghai Climate Change Research Centre, HR  Wallingford China Shanghai Municipal Development and Reform Commission SOAS University of London, HR Wallingford
Dynamic Assessment and Intelligent Tracking of Coastal City Flood Risk Hohai University, Ningbo Hydraulic Waterpower Planning and Designing Research Institution Ningbo Municipal Water Conservancy Bureau Cardiff University, Cambridge University, Mott MacDonald Ltd
A Virtual Collaboratory for Flood Forecasting, Flood Warning and Decision-making Under Uncertainty in Urban Flood Management Nanjing Hydraulic Research Institute, Beijing Golden-Water YanyuSci&Tech Co. Ltd. Shenzhen Water Affairs Bureau, Huizhou Hydrographic Bureau Newcastle University, Environmental Measurements Limited
Enhancing China-UK technical co-operation, knowledge sharing, and business opportunities in urban flood management and intelligent urban water network monitoring Changjiang River Scientific Research Institute, Beijing Sinfotek Technology Co., Ltd.  Wuhan Water Affairs Bureau Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, Wallingford HydroSolutions, Fathom

China-UK Urban Flooding Symposium

This programme has been informed by presentations and discussions held within the China-UK Urban Flooding Symposium on 16-17th October 2017. The deliberations exposed a clear need to increase flood resilience in both the UK and China and in both cases this needs to be a cross disciplinary effort and with a need for collaborative learning across research, municipalities and governments at national, regional and local scales. The following key messages have been synthesised from the meeting:
  • It was recognised that the principles of an integrated urban flood management system must cover the intersections of the four domains 1. systems for data collection and assimilation; 2. systems modelling; 3. decision-making and planning, and; 4. evaluation of interventions and learning. 
  • Value was seen in an interdisciplinary research effort and adopting systems thinking approaches on how to engage and include urban planners, authorities and emergency responders to ensure that quality evidence reaches and improves decision-making at both urban planning and design; and flood preparedness and response stages. 
  • Ongoing work is required to develop integrated systems for sensing and measurement across the wider catchment area, including use of crowd-sourced data, and the assimilation of this into increasingly sophisticated and precise modelling. A key part of this work needs to be on linking up the meteorological system with the hydrological systems.
  • There is great potential in the use of models and simulated environments to rehearse decisions, better understand behaviours and explore their consequences – in both the short and longer term – in terms of health, epidemiology and property with all public services (police, local officials, etc.). Both UK and the Chinese meteorological services produce enough outputs that would allow this type of ‘gaming’ activity. 
  • The UK has key competencies in design standards and insurance which may be useful starting points in terms of knowledge sharing, comparative research and collaborative development.
This list is not exhaustive and further information on the Symposium deliberations may be found in the China-UK Urban Flooding Symposium Report