Understanding Geohazard Processes and Their Impacts Across India

Closing Date: 03/10/2023

Grant scheme for interdisciplinary research to increase understanding of geohazard events in India and surrounding countries through partnership working between the UK and India.

This Understanding Geohazard Processes and Their Impacts Across India call is providing support for projects to improve understanding of geohazard events in India and its neighbouring countries through collaborative studies between the UK and India. It is jointly funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), with co-funding from the Ministry of Earth Sciences, India (MoES). The call is led by NERC.

The vast majority of deaths from geohazards (such as earthquakes and related landslides) occur in low and middle-income countries, where the resulting mass displacements of people and damage to infrastructure and local economies can have long-lasting impacts. Building resilience to geohazards presents a major challenge that requires collaborative international action by researchers, policymakers, governments, private sectors and civil societies.

This call will fund essential interdisciplinary research that:

  • Seeks to understand the contextual fundamental physics of earthquake and landslide processes (eg fault plane mechanics, crustal deformation mechanisms and rainfall thresholds) behind geohazard events in India and its neighbouring countries.
  • Develops and tests new technologies and techniques for low-cost solutions to monitoring, identifying and quantifying geohazards over vast regions, including addressing barriers to uptake and implementation by local communities.
  • Explores the social, cultural and environmental impacts of cascading geohazards within India and its neighbouring countries in order to enhance environmental, structural and community resilience at the local, regional and national scale by devising novel risk reduction and mitigation strategies.

It is expected that project teams will incorporate researchers from a range of disciplines in order to fully address the aims of the programme. On the UK side, all proposals should include researchers working within the NERC remit and must cover at least two UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) council remits. Applicants must ensure that all three of the following essential project components of the scope are addressed:

  • Projects should further understanding of and address knowledge gaps in the fundamental properties and physics of earthquake and landslide processes through appropriate methods such as (but not limited to):
    • Experimental rock mechanics.
    • Borehole data and characterisation.
    • Earth observation, monitoring and mapping.
    • Scaling up laboratory experiments to field and/or regional scale.
    • The development of new artificial intelligence/machine learning tools to advance the field of earthquake and landslide analysis, prediction and understanding.
    • Creation of new low-cost sensing technologies and tools.
    • Earthquake early warning systems.
    • Data assimilation.
    • Palaeo-reconstructions.
    • Seismic tomography.
  • New understanding should then be applied to improving risk and vulnerability maps and models to refine short and long term hazard forecasting and early warning systems of earthquakes and any subsequent cascading hazards. These hazards could include (but are not limited to):
    • Aftershocks.
    • Liquefaction.
    • Landslides.
    • Tsunamis.
    • Flooding.
    • Damage to the built environment.
    • Damage to critical infrastructure.
  • Projects should also propose novel mitigation strategies in order to enhance resilience to geohazards. This could include (but is not limited to):
    • Structural mitigation measures to improve resilience, and how buildings and communities should be designed to improve shock resistance.
    • Understanding the ability of local communities to manage and respond to geohazard risks, identifying solutions to improve community knowledge and capability, and addressing barriers to community uptake and implementation.
    • The use of nature based and nature inspired solutions.

Projects must demonstrate the robust solutions required to minimise risk and enhance community knowledge in order to create safer, more resilient societies that are well equipped to manage and respond to geohazards in and around India now and in the future.

Research should be informed by local knowledge and understanding of disaster events. Projects should therefore employ a participatory approach from the outset in order to co-develop tools and approaches with local communities that will have direct impact on the ground.

Projects should focus on geohazards in India and its neighbouring countries, but can choose to research events that occur at any type of plate boundary, including the previously understudied intraplate regions. Additionally, projects could concentrate on marine earthquakes and tsunamis, including within the Andaman subduction zone. Where appropriate, projects should also outline where their research will have broader global applicability.

Funding body Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES)
Maximum value £1,000,000
Reference ID S25404
Category Natural Environment
Fund or call Fund