29 Nov 2021

Strengthening partnerships between science and practice for anticipatory action

Good news for anticipatory action: the Water@Reading research group has received an Earth Observations for the Sustainable Development Goals 2021 award. This award, for the ‘Testimonial/story’ category, recognises “efforts in the use of state-of-the-art, global-scale flood forecasting models for humanitarian organizations to take early action ahead of flood events, and for showcasing a concrete example that clearly demonstrates the impact of Earth observations on the Government of Bangladesh”. 

Accepting this award on behalf of Water@Reading, Dr Liz Stephens acknowledged the importance of other actors in this field. “The successful use of these forecasting systems goes well beyond just us,” she said. “The German Federal Foreign Office has been the driving force for anticipatory action through funding to the German Red Cross, IFRC and the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre (RCCC), and the UK's Science for Humanitarian Emergencies and Resilience research programme has funded this research to ensure that these aid investments are based on robust science.”

We hope that this award recognises not just our role, but the importance of sustainable partnerships between scientists and decision-makers.

Dr Liz Stephens University of Reading and RCCC

Professor Hannah Cloke, co-director of Water@Reading, said: “Utilising scientific knowledge can keep us one step ahead of natural hazards. This research can identify which regions are in the path of a potential flooding disasters before the rain even starts to fall - something that is increasingly important as floods and other natural hazards become a bigger problem under climate change.” 

These awards are run by the Group on Earth Observations. You can watch the award ceremony online

Liz has also been appointed as associate professor in climate risks and resilience. This is a joint appointment by the Department of Meteorology at the University of Reading, and the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre (RCCC).

I am pleased that Dr Stephens is taking on this new joint role. This appointment will extend our ability to bring through the latest scientific research, evidence and understanding into anticipatory action, as well as supporting learning and development within the growing anticipatory action community.

Professor Maarten van Aalst Director of RCCC