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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/P002285/1
Title: Senior Fellowship in the Role of Digital Technology in Understanding, Mitigating and Adapting to Environmental Change
Principal Investigator: Blair, Professor G
Other Investigators:
Tawn, Professor J Ferrario, Dr MFC Watkins, Mr JW
Leeson, Dr A A
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Digital Catapult Environment Agency (Grouped) JBA Trust
JRC Microsoft NERC Grouped
The Alan Turing Institute
Department: Computing & Communications
Organisation: Lancaster University
Scheme: Standard Research - NR1
Starts: 01 July 2016 Ends: 30 June 2021 Value (£): 2,503,462
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Coastal & Waterway Engineering Information & Knowledge Mgmt
Mobile Computing Urban & Land Management
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Environment
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
16 Feb 2016 DTLEC Senior Fellow Interviews Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Digital technologies have a crucial role to play in helping scientists and other key stakeholders to more deeply understand the natural environment and its complex web of interconnected ecosystems. This deeper understanding also supports the development of more grounded mitigation and adaptation strategies in response to environmental change. This fellowship will enable myself to establish a rich, cross-disciplinary research programme at Lancaster with the goal of carrying out world leading research in the role of digital technologies in deriving such strategies. The research programme is built on three key pillars:

Digital innovation as an enabler. Technology is having a profound impact on the digital economy and many areas of society, but its role in managing environmental change is significantly under-developed. This programme will focus on three major (and complementary) areas of digital innovation, namely the Internet of Things (IoT), cloud computing and data science: IoT has the potential to provide rich, real-time data about many facets of the natural environment at a scale previously unimaginable; cloud computing offers elastic storage and computational capacity to bring together diverse data-sets from different geographical locations and at different scales and open this up to a range of stakeholders; data science provides an abundance of analysis techniques to then make sense of the data and hence to inform mitigation strategies and associated policies.

Science as a conduit. Science has a crucial role in interpreting big data but, crucially, to achieve this, science must change. The programme will investigate how technology can support a paradigm shift in science towards an approach that: i) is more intrinsically open and collaborative through a philosophy of open data, as enabled by the cloud (e.g. including support for citizen science); ii) represents a more integrative, holistic science whereby different scientific disciplines work together, alongside social, data and computer scientists, to facilitate deeper and more meaningful data-driven understanding of ecosystems and their intrinsic complexities (again supported by cloud computing); iii) embraces complex systems thinking taking input from research on ecosystem services, complexity science and systems of systems approaches; iv) recognises the importance of uncertainty and seek technological solutions that help manage uncertainty in all its dimensions and support decision making in an uncertain and complex world.

Impact as intrinsic. One major success of the Digital Economy programme was to develop a research community and set of approaches that emphasised stakeholder engagement and impact on society. This programme builds on this experience and adopts an experimental, agile and iterative methodology involving a close collaboration with a wide range of partners/stakeholders. This inherently participative approach is carefully designed to enable insights and breakthroughs in mitigation and adaptation strategies related to water/food/energy security, national infrastructure and biodiversity loss.

Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Impacts
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Summary
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Organisation Website: http://www.lancs.ac.uk