CESER academics in @lwec_uk #flooding film

One year after the #ToonMonsoon, the film is released at the Tyneside Cinema.  The film is the result of a winning idea submitted to the first LWEC short film competition by Northumbrian Water and Newcastle University.

‘Flood Force: finding solutions in good company’, features Northumbrian Water staff and CESER academics Professor Chris Kilsby and Professor Hayley Fowler. The film uses the North East’s experience of flooding from extreme rainfall in June 2012 to show how leading UK research can contribute to better decision-making, with a particular emphasis on how business can take action to reduce the risk and therefore the costs of flooding.

The film describes the actions that have been taken by local businesses at large and small scales, whilst calling for more collective action by putting in ponds, green roofs, water butts, permeable paving and other measures which slow down runoff to avoid inundating roads, storm drains, sewers and water courses.

CESER’s experience of crowd-sourcing information on flood risk, city-wide flood modelling and high resolution climate modelling has been central to understanding the convective summer rainfall that inundated Newcastle in 2012.

You can watch the film on youtube.

North East Sustainability Roundtable

Oliver Heidrich and Jane Gibbon participated in an expert group (North East Sustainability Roundtable) for the Insider magazine, the UK’s leading regional business publication which is distributed to around 8,000 businesses in the North east, discussing challenges of Sustainability and business.

The challenge for businesses, especially large ones, is to embed sustainable processes and systems into the business, within tight timescales and often with reduced budgets. Innovation is the key to this and the North East has many examples of how techniques, systems and processes that are having a major impact.

The benefits of creating sustainable solutions within businesses are numerous and the North East Sustainability Roundtable discussed these alongside some of the challenges too. The panel brought together experts from academia, trade organisations and businesses, and explored a number of key sustainability issues.


Resilient Futures final event on #infrastructure interdependency

Over 100 stakeholders attended the event to hear the findings and “play” with the computer demonstrator to explore infrastructure interdependency issues.  The Resilient Futures project which emerged from an EPSRC/ESRC sandpit in 2010 has been studying interdependencies between infrastructure and risks from natural and manmade hazards.  A final dissemination event was held on Friday 31st May which included a series of multi-track workshops that provided attendees with an opportunity to play through a futures hazard event using our interactive demonstrator system. Sir David Omand, Visiting Professor in the Department of War Studies, King’s College London, formerly the first UK Security and Intelligence Coordinator and Government’s chief crisis manager for civil contingencies delivered an insightful keynote speech highlighting the changing nature of infrastructure and natural and human threats.   

For more information on the project, and presentations from the event please visit:


Newcastle University’s Best Environmental Initiative of 2013

The U-Café initiative has been awarded the Newcastle University, Best Environmental Initiative of 2013. 

U-Café was designed to gauge a range of possible perceptions around notions of waste, value and utility. The interdisciplinary team of researchers and students from CESER, School of Civil Engineering and GeosciencesSchool of Architecture Planning and LandscapeCentre for Urban and Regional DevelopmentSchool of Arts and CulturesSchool of Mechanical and Systems Engineering and Newcastle Institute for Research on Sustainability constructed a Café made from materials described as rubbish or waste.


The café was designed as a means to challenge perceptions around defining waste, the structure created from materials normally discarded into landfill or a recycling stream.  Central to up-cycling is a notion of adding value to materials and objects.  This process acts to encourage people to question whether items have actually reached the end of their useful life.  Defining the quality of this added value is complex and ambiguous, as people can have very different ideas of why to keep an object out of the bin.  The central question for the U-Tec team was how to promote up-cycling as a way to encourage people to behave differently towards food and product packaging?  Would it be possible, for example, by releasing the hidden value of product packaging (milk cartons, plastic drinks bottles and tin cans) to encourage people to live in a more environmentally sustainable way?

The Cafe was ‘open for business’ between Tuesday 16 and Thursday 18 April and attracted over 150 customers who participated in the research and were entertained by recitals from Hadrian Primary School’s upcycled orchestra and by ‘Junk Agency’, a group of Newcastle University musicians who will perform a concert with music made from sampling CDs and cassettes found in rubbish bins and skips.