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OVERCOME project success

CWS and ECEHH project success - OVERCOME

The University of Exeter has been awarded £150,000 to establish a transnational research network for creating digital innovations to strengthen community resilience in coping with climate hazards and preventing the outbreaks of associated diseases.

The Centre for Water Systems (CWS), CEMPS and the European Centre for Environment and Human Health (ECEHH), Medical School have teamed up with interdisciplinary experts from 7 institutions across 4 countries for the 'OVERCOME' (digital innOVation in climatE hazaRd early warning and related disease prevention for COMmunity capacity building and rEsilience) project, supported by the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) Digital Innovation for Development in Africa (DIDA) fund.

In partnership with the University College of London (UCL), the University of West London (UWL) and Aquobex Technologies (AT) in the UK, as well the University of Malawi (UNIMA), Malawi, the National Institute of Meteorology (INAM), Mozambique, and the Chinhoyi University of Technology (CUT) in Zimbabwe, OVERCOME will build a cross-sectoral consortium in creating a holistic framework with innovative technological methodologies and applications to support strategic planning and decision making to enhance societal resilience to climatic hazards.

Dr Albert Chen, a Senior Research Fellow in CWS will coordinate the OVERCOME project, supported by Dr Kath Maguire, Prof Karyn Morrissey and Prof Slobodan Djordjevic. Within the next 12 months, OVERCOME will engage with stakeholders working in the natural environment, health care, environment-economic, urban planning, utility services, disaster management, policy making and local communities to co-shape the research questions and targeted outcomes for future studies.

Dr Chen said: “OVERCOME will strengthen the capacity of vulnerable communities in minimising the negative impact of climate disasters and associated health risks, which will improve the countries progress in addressing Sustainable Development Goals (SGDs).”

Prof Krasimira Tsaneva-Atanasova, Associate Dean for International Development is looking forward to expanding CEMPS network with new collaborators in Africa. Prof Tsaneva-Atanasova said: “The excellent opportunity will enable us to work with key intuitions in Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe. OVERCOME will enhance the University of Exeter’s links with Global South countries in developing novel solutions for smart communities to safeguard public safety and health during climate disasters.”

Prof Karyn Morrissey, Associate Professor for Population Health at the ECEHH and an Alan Turing Fellow, said: "digital solutions are increasingly offering low cost, accessible solutions to the health-environment-climate nexus. Thinking about digital technology with communities, offers real scope to build community-based resilience for future generations.”

Dr Kath Maguire, National Institute for Health Research Knowledge Mobilisation Research Fellow agreed, adding “It is important for academics and communities to work together in designing systems that can be implemented in practice.”

Date: 24 March 2020

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