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Optimising flood risk management interventions in catchments and cities (OP2211)

   Faculty of Science, Agriculture and Engineering

  Prof Chris Kilsby  Monday, January 24, 2022  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Newcastle United Kingdom Built Environment Climate Science Environmental Engineering Fluid Mechanics Hydrogeology Hydrology Mathematical Modelling Environmental Sciences Urban Planning

About the Project

Detailed flood models are used to assess increased future flood risk in cities and catchments, and to design flood attenuation features including green infrastructure (GI) or natural flood management (NFM). It is important that the limited funding available for flood management is spent wisely, locating GI or NFM features optimally so they reduce flows and storm sewer spills, rather than increasing them if e.g. flood wave timings are not understood and storage overflows at the wrong time. The advanced flood model CityCAT [1] is used to simulate surface and sewer flows and can represent GI and NFM features. Design using CityCAT and other models has to date followed “expert” ad hoc methods, and only a limited number of the very large range of options is followed due to computational expense. First steps to better understand this complex problem have recently used a source-receptor analysis to identify critical areas for intervention by capturing rainfall at source [2].

The aim of this project is to develop an automated framework for optimal design of flood risk management options using a range of NFM or GI in catchments and cities under future climate scenarios. The framework will provide the capability to optimise the location, type, size and number of features, achieved by an optimisation tool based on genetic algorithms (GA) to minimise risk to life and property for a given investment for a range of climate scenarios. Multiple simulations of the impact of different “populations” of features will be made, controlled by GA, and iterated until an optimal solution is obtained. This process provides a new level of understanding of catchment dynamics under different flood scenarios, resulting in a robust design solution for use by the lead flood authority. The project is aligned with the OpenClim project, collaborations with insurance industry, water companies and local authorities in the drive to keeping our rivers clean.

Funding Notes

This project is part of the NERC ONE Planet DTP. Each of our studentship awards include 3.5 years of fees (Home/EU), an annual living allowance (£15,650) and a Research Training Support Grant (for travel, consumables, etc).
Home and International applicants (inc. EU) are welcome to apply. Following the UKRI announcement regarding their new 30% UKRI international recruitment policy (to take effect from September 2021) both Newcastle University, and Northumbria University, have agreed to pay the international fee difference for all International applicants (inc. EU) who are awarded a DTP studentship. Interviews will take place in February 2022.
How to apply: View Website


[1] Glenis V et al., 2018 A fully hydrodynamic urban flood modelling system representing buildings, green space and interventions 10.1016/j.envsoft.2018.07.018 [2] Vercruysse et al, 2019 Developing spatial prioritization criteria for integrated urban flood management based on a source-to-impact flood analysis, 10.1016/j.jhydrol.2019.124038

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