€10m Horizon 2020 project to boost climate resilience in coastal areas

27 Aug 2021

Minister Simon Harris and Dr Salem Gharbia from IT Sligo. Image: IT Sligo

A project led by IT Sligo will create a European network of ‘living labs’ to develop ways of addressing coastal flooding and erosion.

A €10m Horizon 2020 project designed to boost climate resilience in European coastal cities was launched this week at IT Sligo by Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris, TD.

The four-year Smart Control of the Climate Resilience in European Coastal Cities (Score) project will create a network of 10 coastal city ‘living labs’ across Europe that aim to enhance climate resilience through an ecosystem-based approach using digital technologies.

The project is led by Dr Salem Gharbia from IT Sligo and involves 28 organisations in academia, local authorities and SMEs in six different European countries.

The initiative will draw on environmental science, climate modelling, citizen science, data management and smart sensing research to design, develop and monitor measures to protect against coastal flooding and erosion, with a view to enhancing the resilience of coastal and low-lying areas.

“Minister Harris’s support to the Score research project is a key factor in highlighting the importance of the Score approach in providing Europe with expandable and transferable solutions to increase climate resilience against extreme events in coastal cities,” said Gharbia.

“Together with our partners in Europe and Turkey, we will put every effort to mitigate the effects of climate change by providing validated co-designed solutions involving academic institutions, communities, NGOs and governmental bodies.”

While there is an increasing call to address the causes of the climate crisis, there is also a need to implement mitigation strategies to increase the resilience of coastal cities due to its consequences. A 2017 study in the Lancet Planetary Health journal said that, without action, deaths caused by extreme weather events in Europe could rise from 3,000 a year between 1981 and 2010 to as many as 152,000 a year between 2071 and 2100.

“Every sector of society will be affected by climate change in the coming years. My department’s focus on research and innovation will be key in Ireland’s response, and indeed in the wider European world we live in,” said Harris

“I am delighted to launch this really important project today – we are an island after all, and we know the kind of impact coastal flooding and erosion can have. It’s vital that we play our part in equipping and empowering our towns and cities to protect themselves.

“This work will bring together a wide range of experts, from citizen science to engineering, to solve problems, and that kind of vision is exactly what my department was established to support.”

Sam Cox was a journalist at Silicon Republic covering sci-tech news