A collaborative project between the National Oceanography Centre (NOC), the University of Liverpool, the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research and Sun Yat-sen University in China, has been shortlisted for the Newton Prize 2019.
This £1 million prize celebrates outstanding international research partnerships and will be divided between four winning research projects.
The ‘Applying Nature-based COastal DEfence to the world’s largest urban area’ (ANCODE) project aims to investigate the potential of wetlands as a natural defence against rising sea-levels. The project will specifically look at the potential of this technique in the Chinese cities of Guangzhou and Shenzhen in the Pearl River Delta, which are ranked as first and ninth cities in the world in terms of annual losses due to flooding.
Human activities have led to wide-spread decline of coastal ecosystems, including mangroves, saltmarshes and coral reefs. Nature-based coastal defences are being developed to simultaneously mitigate flood risks and conserve valuable coastal ecosystems. This innovative approach creates coastal ecosystems that attenuate waves, reduce storm surge impacts and stabilise shorelines in a way that is adaptable to environmental change, and so is robust and cost-effective. Nature-based coastal defences have great potential value for Chinese deltas, where large coastal populations are at high risk of flooding and wetlands have been lost at a high rate due to land-reclamation, although new afforestation has led to mangrove forests increasing in area in recent years.
The Newton Prize enables international research partners to continue working together on solutions to some of the world’s key challenges such as human health, food security and climate change. Research and innovation is a highly effective way to achieve international development goals, tackle global challenges and improve quality of life for people in developing countries as well as the UK. The shortlisted projects tackle a range of Sustainable Development Goals.
The shortlisted projects have been peer reviewed and will be judged by the Newton Prize Committee, chaired by Professor Alice Gast, President of Imperial College. Professor Gast said: “I am very impressed by the pioneering ideas, collaborative research and potential impact of the shortlisted applications for the Newton Prize 2019. I look forward to working with my fellow committee members to select the overall winners, it will not be an easy decision.”