School of Architecture, Planning & Landscape

News Item

Newcastle University to lead two Global Research Hubs set up to tackle world's toughest challenges.

Dr Cat Button, Maggie Roe and Dr Andy Law will be involved in two hubs tackling intractable challenges related to water

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) has announced the launch of twelve Global Research Hubs which, through a £200m investment, will lead an ambitious new approach to tackle some of the world’s most pressing challenges. Two of the 12 hubs will be led by experts at Newcastle University – addressing the most pressing issues around future water security and the safeguarding of our river deltas and their communities.

The UKRI GCRF Living Deltas and Water Security and Sustainable Development Hubs will bring together 94 organisations from 25 countries and draw on the expertise of scientists, engineers, geographers, architects and social scientists.

Water Security and Sustainable Development 

Dr Cat Button and Maggie Roe from the School of Architecture Planning and Landscape will be working alongside partners and global organisations within this hub. Dr Cat Button will be leading a Work Stream on Valuing Water. This will look particularly at the social and cultural values of water in a series of work packages. The hub will investigate what water means to people and communities; water is often reduced to the biological and hygienic necessity and the economic cost of providing this, but water has greater significance to many. 

This short podcast introduces the hub and provides some background. 

Living Deltas

Both Cat Button and Maggie Roe are also involved in the Living Deltas hub, alongside Dr Andy Law from our School. When discussing the creation of the hub, Andy Law said:

"My involvement started in 2017 when, using seed corn funding, Dr Large asked me to go to Canada to meet Dr Nga Dao (York University, Toronto) with the intention of asking her whether she would like to be part of the project.  Given that Dr Dao is now a significant partner in the Living Deltas project – and a partner who runs her own NGO warecod – I feel pleased to have taken part in bringing partners on board and making suggestions regarding the development of the first work package – WP1."

Cat Button's involvement in this hub will build on on previous research in Bangladesh and Vietnam as part of the GCRF NERC Resilience funded project REMATCH, which looked at issues of flooding in the deltas. Cat said:

"It will be good to work with some of those research partners again to develop stronger ties and a deeper understanding of people’s relationships with the landscapes they live in. I hope to be involved in participatory research as part of Work Package 1."

Read full University press release.

published on: 22 January 2019