Dr Rebecca Emerton from the National Centre for Atmospheric Science and Dr Andrea Ficchi have been shortlisted for the STEM Research Project of the Year as part of the Times Higher Education (THE) Awards 2019.

Dr Emerton and Dr Ficchi lead on a research project that helped mitigate the impacts of the devastating floods in Mozambique during Cyclone Idai in March 2019. They provided emergency briefings to the UK’s Department of International Development by interpreting data from GloFAS, a state of the art Copernicus Emergency Management Service Global Food Awareness System.

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Working in partnership with a range of organisations, including the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts and the University of Bristol, the researchers produced real-time flood reports that helped local authorities and humanitarian response teams to deliver aid to those most in need. 

The detailed reports pinpointed regions at risk and the likely severity and duration of floods up to 30 days in advance.

Their strategic support was also called upon two days before Cyclone Kenneth hit northern Mozambique just weeks later.

The THE Awards, widely known as the ‘Oscars of Higher Education’, recognize talent, dedication and innovation across all aspects of university life. This year, the THE Awards are spread across 23 categories and hundreds of entries were received from nearly 80 institutions across the UK. The awards will be presented at Grosvenor House Hotel in London on 28 November 2019.

Dr Emerton and Dr Ficchi are both based at the University of Reading and their work feeds into wider research on how countries can be more resilient to natural hazards and a changing climate. 

Dr Emerton is part of the FATHUM (Forecasts for Anticipatory Humanitarian Action) project, while Dr Emerton is involved with PICSEA (Predicting Impacts of Cyclones in South East Africa) which is led by fellow NCAS researcher Dr Nicholas Klingaman. Both researchers receive funding from the Department of International Development and the Natural Environment Research Council.

The shortlisted research project also recently won an award at the University of Reading’s Research Engagement and Impact Awards 2019.