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Funding boost for research into use of AI to combat coastal flooding

19 Dec 2023 2 minute read
Across the Cleddau estuary. Photo by joysaphine is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0.

Swansea University research into how artificial intelligence could be used to help tackle coastal erosion and flooding has secured a major funding boost.

The three-year interdisciplinary project, which will see academics from the Faculty of Science and Engineering working together, has been awarded a grant of £307,445 from the Leverhulme Trust.

It is estimated that coastal and estuarine flooding will affect at least 15 per cent of the global population and cost approximately £50 billion annually by 2050.

Some coastal communities and infrastructure are likely to be unviable unless urgent measures are taken to defend them from flooding and erosion.

AI techniques

The project, Artificial Intelligence-assisted saltmarsh flood mitigation assessment, will use emerging AI techniques to support the design and development of sustainable nature-based coastal flood mitigation solutions (NbS) which can offer significant benefits to the environment and residents in at risk locations.

The research will be directed by Professor Harshinie Karunarathna, from the university’s Department of Civil Engineering, in association with Dr Alma Rahat, of the Department of Computer Science, and Dr John Griffin, Department of Biosciences.

Professor Karunarathna said: ‘’I am delighted to direct this truly interdisciplinary project funded by a prestigious Leverhulme Trust research grant.

“Nature-based solutions are the future of coastal defence. We must work with nature, not against it, when finding solutions to mitigate the impacts of coastal hazards in this age of extreme climate change.

“It is especially exciting to work with data scientists and bioscientists within the University, and stakeholders outside academia, to find innovative and sustainable approaches for coastal flood mitigation.’’


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