Environmental Policy News

NERC Impact Awards Finalists Include National Oceanography Centre

NERC's inaugural impact awards intend to recognize and reward the contribution of NERC science to the UK's economy, society, wellbeing and international reputation. The winners will be announced at a prize-giving ceremony in London on 27 January 2015, kicking off NERC’s 50th anniversary. The winner in each category will receive a prize of £10,000 to further the impact of their research, with the runners-up receiving £5,000. A further £30,000 will be awarded to one overall winner.

Among the finalists was a research project focussed on protecting homes and lives from coastal flooding. It's estimated that four million people and £150B of assets are at risk from coastal flooding in the UK. Science conducted by Professor Kevin Horsburgh and the extreme sea levels team at the National Oceanography Centre in the areas of storm surge, wave and tsunami modeling, and the statistics of sea-level extremes, underpins many aspects of government policy on coastal defense and the mitigation of flood risk.

In 1953 a North Sea storm surge breached defenses and led to the loss of 326 lives in England and Scotland. The storms of last winter marked some of the most extreme weather of recent years: on 5 and 6 December 2013 sea levels along most of the North Sea coastline were higher than in 1953. Although minor flooding occurred, it is thanks to sustained improvements in forecasting systems, as well as investment in coastal defenses, that there were no fatalities, and that there was a timely evacuation of some 10,000 properties.

To read about the rest of the finalists, visit www.nerc.ac.uk/latest/events/impact/finalists/.

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