Defra Launches a Competition on Flood Risk Management in Cumbria

A competition to encourage innovative and practical approaches to flood risk management in Cumbria following the winter’s flooding has been launched by the UK Government.

Building on the work of the Cumbria Floods Partnership, the aim of the competition is to create an opportunity for a wide range of interested parties to apply their expertise to a specific flood risk management challenge. The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) says the competition will focus on the following question:

If you were responsible for managing the Eden catchment in Cumbria, what flood risk management approaches would you recommend, and why?

Imaginative approaches

Entrants will be asked to focus on this practical overall policy question while demonstrating imaginative new approaches to at least one part of the problem. Entries need to be submitted by 30 September 2016 and will take the form of a briefing paper of up to 5,000 words.

The entries will be judged by an experienced and multi-disciplinary panel of experts and prizes will be awarded for both the overall quality of the analysis and for innovative thinking or modelling in specific areas. The prize fund has been supported by United Utilities, Aviva and the Natural Environment Research Council.

During the course of the Government’s National Flood Resilience Review, a wide variety of potential approaches to flood risk management have been highlighted, including new techniques and models for assessing land use, water flow, natural flood management, meteorological sensitivities, property-level resilience and economic impacts. At the same time, Defra’s accelerated Open Data programme is bringing over 8,000 environmental data sets into the public domain for the first time, many of which are relevant to the assessment of optimal catchment-wide flood risk management strategies.

Defra expects the competition to appeal to academics specialising in hydrology, geomorphology, land use, catchment management and environmental economics; to earth observation, modelling and consultancy companies; to the water and insurance sectors, and to a wide range of environmentally-focused NGOs and individuals with an interest in the topic.

Inter-disciplinary teams

The Department says it is keen to encourage the formation of new inter-disciplinary teams to support a broad analysis. The launch event included a presentation of previous research on the Eden catchment, provision of a data pack including recently released data under the Defra Open Data programme and technology demonstrations.

Judging led by an experienced and multi-disciplinary panel of experts.

For more information, visit



Comment on this item

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

I have agreed to the terms & conditions