Heavy rain

Flood research

Our online resource is designed to support business, and those working with business, identify research to support their projects and decision-making in preparing for and responding to flood events. It includes current and completed UK Research Council-funded research from the past decade, as well as new projects to watch for results in the coming years.

The projects are assigned to categories titled before, during and after a flood, or  can be filtered using the following broad classifications:

Particular thanks to Dr Paola Hernandez Montes de Oca (University of Leeds and Professor Bingunath Ingirige (University of Huddersfield) for their assistance in reviewing this resource. Thanks also to Graham Brogden (Aviva) for his time and advice, as well as all speakers and participants at the ARCC flooding and business workshop held in Leeds in October 2017.

A decision framework for integrated green grey infrastructure (IGGIframe) 

University of Glasgow

April 2016 – December 2017

Using this framework can help understand the costs and benefits of applying green infrastructure principles to hard infrastructure like bridges and estuary walls. As businesses operate as part of a community, communities can also benefit from these investments in GI

Research Council: NERC

ADAPT: smart approaches to influencing sustainable behaviour change.

University of Leeds

June 2016 – June 2021

WATCH THIS SPACE: It is likely that 80% of the world’s population will live in urban centres by 2050. As transport is a very significant contributor to global carbon emissions, as well as road congestion and urban air quality problems, it is important that everyone is encouraged to rethink their personal mobility behaviour.

Research Council: EPSRC

Adaptation and resilience of coastal energy supply

University of Liverpool

November 2011 – October 2017

Here is a decision-support tool that will enable sustainable coastal energy; this online map viewer can be used for exploring potential future flooding to identify how coastal power stations, substations and distribution grid can be adapted to future climate change impacts and thus become more resilient.

Research Council: EPSRC

Adaptive mesh simulation of different scale flood inundation

Newcastle University

October 2008 – March 2012

This project assessed and improved the computer modelling of flood flows that can adapt to local topography and obstruction, efficiently generating accurate solution even where the flow is very complex. This will mean that very accurate simulation can be applied at a range of different scales (from small to very large), including broad scale interactions of flood flow. This adaptive model is applied simulate large-scale real world flood scenarios. Particularly, the model will allow simulation of very large scale flood inundation (e.g. the whole Thames Estuary area) whilst also resolving the effect of local flows at flood defences. This research is for the benefit of engineering consultants and insurance business involving assessment and management of flood risk. The Environment Agency and local authorities will benefit in that larger scale flood simulation and related risk analysis resulting from this work will provide further information for better flood risk management and alleviation. This will in turn benefit the general public in terms of flood risk reduction and improved communication of flood risk.

Research Council: EPSRC

Aquatic Micro Aerial Vehicles (AquaMAV): Bio-inspired air-water mobility for robotics

Imperial College London

2014 – 2018

Water-monitoring flying robots to help rapidly respond to accidents and improve management of water resources. The AquaMAV has sufficient battery capacity for 14 minutes of flight in air at 10m/s, which corresponds to a 5km range at which the robot can dive into water and return to base with a collected water sample.

Research Council: EPSRC

Assessing the contribution of domestic gardens to urban ecosystem services

Manchester Metropolitan University

January 2016 – April 2017

Domestic gardens offer a valuable source of green infrastructure (GI) within an urban environment. They are important patches of greenspace that can provide connectivity between larger areas of GI (parks, recreation grounds etc), therefore improving the functioning of ecosystems and the services they provide, such as reducing surface water runoff thereby reducing flood risk, and lowering urban temperatures. While individually, a domestic garden may appear insignificant, collectively domestic gardens contribute up to 30% of greenspace within the urban matrix, which becomes especially important at the city scale. Furthermore, the general public are often unaware of the environmental value of their own private garden and how they can improve it.

Research Council: NERC

Blue-Green Cities: Delivering and evaluating multiple flood risk benefits

University of Nottingham


Blue-Green infrastructure aimed to increase understanding of people’s perceptions and provide a methodology for the robust evaluation of the multiple functionalities of Blue-Green infrastructure which demonstrates the relative significance of benefits in context specific locations. This tool compliments CIRIA BeST (Benefits of SuDS Tool), and the team are now embarking on a new EPSRC-funded research project – Achieving Urban Flood Resilience in an Uncertain Future

Research Council: EPSRC

Can ‘Flood Re’ increase the resilience of small businesses? Investigating flood insurance and other strategies to move forward

University of Leeds

April 2016

Financial protection against flood risk has been recognised a way to protect assets and livelihoods. However, concerns exist about the affordability of cover in high risk areas. Flood Re, a scheme were premiums are subsidised, were created to help households, but excludes micro-businesses, small businesses, charities and co-operatives in high-risk flood areas. The objective of this project is to improve our understanding of flood insurance for SMEs, and to establish if SMEs have flood insurance problems, and if so, how they could be overcome and which other risk management strategies could be available for SMEs. By doing so, the project will contribute to the development of a flood protection policy framework that increase the resilience of this backbone of the economy.

Research Council: ESRC

Community resilience to extreme weather

Cranfield University

February 2008 – November 2011

Flooding is recognised as a critical business threat, though seldom sufficiently prioritised for developing a coping strategy. It was perceived as an unavoidable risk that required community level engagement (structural protection, better drainage system, proper drainage maintenance). Nearly half of SMEs examined had neither considered the risks nor implemented coping strategies, those that had usually extended generic business risk strategies to deal with immediate impacts of EWEs. Supply chain impact potential was often unrecognised. As part of this project, the ‘What-If’ Scenario Portal (WISP) was developed as a series of interlinked toolkits used for mapping the projections of future weather-related hazards developed.

Research Council: EPSRC