Challenge: How can digital technologies be used to inspire people to care about rivers?

Opportunity
The Water Hub launched a series of exciting challenges at our annual networking event RIPPLE. We are calling on our network of innovators to propose solutions to the National Trust to address their challenge of how they we use digital technologies to enhance existing engagement and attract new audiences to take an interest in rivers.  To see Richard Higg's presentation from RIPPLE, download his presentation here.  A contract will be made, to the value of £1,500 for a scoping study to identify a range of ideas, with the potential for one to be taken through feasibility and concept to testing and demonstration in collaboration with the National Trust.

If you have an idea or existing solution, please download our Application Form here and send to [email protected] before Thursday 2nd May at 17:00.

The Challenge Holder
National Trust is a national a charity founded in 1895 by three people who saw the importance of our nation’s heritage and open spaces and wanted to preserve them for everyone to enjoy.  More than 120 years later, these values are still at the heart of everything they do.

In partnership with the Environment Agency, the National Trust last year announced its most ambitious waterways restoration project in its history – Riverlands. Riverlands is a landscape scale programme working with a wide range of partners at several sites (off and on Trust land) across England and Wales. It is about delivering both environmental and social outcomes by working with the public – enabling greater access, inspiring action and connecting more people with the natural heritage. We would like to explore how we build on work already happening nationally and locally to help deepen and sustain public engagement with rivers. We also want to find ways of connecting with audiences which currently have no awareness or interest.

The Challenge
The health of our rivers are in decline yet the impact is often invisible - why should anyone care? It’s often only when you are directly impacted (eg. through flooding) that people see the relevance to them and think about the part they play in this. Behaviour change often comes through establishing empathy, with the situation and creating nudges to make it easier for people to care and make a difference.

As well as restoring nature, the Riverlands project is about helping communities (local to rivers as well as at a national level) enjoy their rivers more, not only as a home for wildlife but also as a space for health and wellbeing and as a cultural resource. Our ambition on the Riverlands programme is for:

  • More people to understand and be inspired by the role rivers play in their lives past, present and future.
  • More people to have the opportunity to make a difference to the long term care of rivers and catchments.

This challenge aims to identify and potentially trial how digital technologies can be used to inspire more people to care about rivers - how can we use digital technologies to enhance existing engagement and attract new audiences to take an interest in rivers?

What are we looking for?
Initially we are looking for a broad range of ideas on how we can use digital technologies to help with this challenge to give us an idea of what might be possible. We want to know what is currently available and how could we adopt or adapt these existing technologies to achieve our aims.

Applicants are asked to offer a range of ideas that they feel best meets our challenge and that include:

  • What existing technologies could we use (reference to existing technologies that could be adopted or adapted or are just comparators)?
  • What is scalable?
  • Which audiences these might work for?
  • What can be developed into a valuable test?
  • The benefits for both the intended audiences and also for Riverlands as a programme
  • Ball park costs for development and delivery

What we can offer
A contract worth £1,500 to the winning applicant for the feasibility stage to work with the National Trust on the chosen ideas, with potential for a longer term collaboration in the testing and development phases.

The Water Hub will provide all applications to National Trust after the deadline. National Trust will be responsible for reviewing applications and providing feedback to the applicants in a timely manner.

Timeline

  • 21st March 2019 – Launch of challenge and call for applications
  • National Trust will provide an opportunity for interested applicants to learn more about the Riverlands project and explore this challenge in greater detail (date and details TBC)
  • 2nd May 2019 - Deadline for applications to The Water Hub.
  • The Water Hub will collate all applications and send to National Trust within 2 days of the deadline.

For more information, get in touch at [email protected]

*Please note that data submitted in the supporting application form will be reviewed by The Water Hub, and will be handled and stored in accordance with GDPR guidelines. The applicant can withdraw their application and/or ask for their information to be updated or removed at any point.

 


Challenge: Using Augmented and Virtual Reality for enhancing householder flood preparedness and resilience

Opportunity
The Water Hub launched a series of exciting challenges at our annual networking event RIPPLE. We are calling on our network of innovators to propose solutions to Teesside University School of Science, Engineering, and Design (SSED) to address their challenge of “Using immersive technology for enhancing householder flood preparedness and resilience”.  To see Ed Rollason's presentation from RIPPLE, download his presentation here.  SSED is offering a contract, to the value of £3,000, to work with us on preparing an initial scoping study into how immersive tech can be practically applied to enhancing householder flood preparedness and resilience. Our ambition is that we will collaborate with the winning contractor, and our existing partners, to develop a larger funding proposal with InnovateUK to take this work forwards.

If you have a solution to one of the challenges below, please download our Application Form here and send to [email protected] before 16th May 2019 at 17:00.

The Challenge Holder
The School of Science, Engineering, and Design is a school of Teesside University, a centre for research and teaching based in the heart of Middlesbrough.
The School offers programmes of study across the disciplines of Design, Engineering, and Science, aiming to develop the next generation of problem solvers, innovators and leaders. Our teaching is underpinned by a diverse research portfolio which addresses complex, multi and inter-disciplinary through to highly focused discipline based research. Across five ‘Grand Challenge’ thematic areas, our research adopts a collaborative and multifaceted approach which enables our researchers to cross traditional discipline boundaries and provide the fresh thinking needed to help address some of the biggest national and global 'Grand Challenges' society today faces.  You can find out more at: http://www.tees.ac.uk/science&engineering/

The Challenge
There are over 5 million properties at risk from flooding across England, and this risk is likely to increase due to climate change with predicted increases in rainfall of up to 100% and peak river flows by 300% by the 2080s.  Property flooding in England causes £800 million worth of damage annually. Associated impacts to health include increased mortality, as well as depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Research shows that increasing householder understanding of what might happen during a flood, and what action can be taken to reduce flooding impacts, has significant positive effect on the mental and physical impacts experienced before and after a flooding event. However, Environment Agency evidence shows that current levels of preparedness are very low. Only 1/3 of the public have prepared or thought through a flood plan, and only 50% of people who receive a flood warning take any action such as moving vulnerable possessions. Existing methods of communicating flood risk information are not working effectively. Our challenge is to explore how immersive technologies might be used for enhancing how householders engage with and experience information on preparing for and responding to floods. This is situated within a wider ambition for flood authorities to transform how they deliver improved services through use of new technologies.

What we are offering
We are offering an initial contract, to the value of £3,000, to work with us and our existing partners on preparing an initial feasibility study into how immersive can be practically applied to enhancing householder flood preparedness and resilience. Our ambition is that this work will build on our existing research base and expertise in flood modelling and community resilience to support a larger funding application to InnovateUK to develop and evaluate tools and services based on immersive tech for use in the flooding sector.

The Challenge Workshop
To support challenge applicants Teesside University is hosting a challenge workshop on the 24th of April between 09.30 and 13.00. The workshop is intended to help prospective applicants to this challenge engage with researchers and other partners in discussing the challenge. The workshop will be structured around two main sessions, the first exploring our existing research and expertise and that of our partners, and the second what we hope to achieve from partnering with a business through the challenge and how we see the work developing. This will be followed by a networking lunch where applicants to discuss the challenge with researchers and our partners. Details of the workshop and how to sign up will be provided shortly, in the meantime,  if you have any queries please contact Dr Ed Rollason at Teesside University on [email protected]

Applications
Your application will be judged solely on the information you provide in the application form and any associated attachments. The Water Hub will provide all applications to Teesside University SSED after the deadline. Teesside University SSED will be responsible for reviewing applications and providing feedback to the applicants in a timely manner.

Timeline
• 21 March 2019 – Launch of challenge and call for applications
• 24 April – challenge exploration workshop, Teesside University for interested applicants to further explore the challenge and develop their proposals.
• 16 May 2019, Deadline for applications to The Water Hub.
• The Water Hub will collate all applications and send to Teesside University SSED within 2 days of the deadline.
• Teesside University SSED will review the applications by 16 June 2019.
• Teesside University SSED will provide feedback to The Water Hub on which applicant(s) has/have been successful in the review 16 June 2019. The Water Hub will pass on this feedback to the applicants with 1 week of receiving it.
• Teesside University SSED will award funding to successful applicant(s) by 16 September 2019

For more information, get in touch at [email protected]

*Please note that data submitted in the supporting application form will be reviewed by The Water Hub, and will be handled and stored in accordance with GDPR guidelines. The applicant can withdraw their application and/or ask for their information to be updated or removed at any point.

Cover Image: Flooded England by Flickr User S. Rae (image used under CC BY 2.0 License)


Challenge: Mapping Invasive and Non-Native Species - Remote Sensing Opportunities?

Opportunity
The Water Hub launched a series of exciting challenges at our annual networking event RIPPLE.  We called on our network of innovators to propose solutions to the Wear Rivers Trust to address their challenge of Mapping of Invasive and Non Native Species.  To see Paul Atkinson's presentation from RIPPLE, download his presentation here.

The Challenge Holder, Wear Rivers Trust, is a small environmental charity, juggling delivery of multiple complex catchment restoration projects which includes continual project development, funding applications, delivery, reporting etc. They conserve, protect, rehabilitate and improve the landscape and watercourses and rely on volunteer support to do this.

The Challenge
Wear Rivers Trust are currently delivering a a project which aims to produce a strategic full catchment Wear Invasive Non Native Species (WINNS) Management Plan and coordinate the treatment of invasive plant species including Giant Hogweed, Japanese Knotweed and Himalayan Balsam.  This challenge aims to trial a new approach to invasive species mapping in one priority sub-catchment called the Old Durham Beck. Their objectives are:
1. to improve the accuracy and consistency of data collection and interpretation;
2. to deliver efficiencies in the process (time and money);
3. to explore scalable solutions.

Current data collection method – Coordination of volunteer walkovers and interpretation of data requires a huge amount of resource in return for incomplete, inconsistent and often unreliable data sets. To enable data collection to happen, staff have to secure landowner permissions, carry out multiple site specific risk assessments and method statements, produce survey protocols, train volunteers, coordinate walkovers and interpret data for uploading to GIS which is often difficult to read scribbles on paper maps.

Project brief – Wear Rivers Trust need a cost effective and consistent approach to collect and interpret WINNS distribution data. The entire catchment is a large area, so the Old Durham Beck sub catchment represents the extent of this study. Using the current method, the cost to Wear Rivers Trust of mapping the Old Durham Beck will be approximately £6,750.

Award announced - Wear Rivers Trust partner with Newcastle University to develop a bespoke monitoring solution.

We are delighted to announce that the Wear Rivers Trust will be partnering with Dr Aileen Mill and Dr Clare Fitzsimmons from the Modelling, Evidence and Policy Group at Newcastle University to develop a bespoke solution for their organisation.

The collaboration will assess how easy it is to detect giant hogweed, Japanese knotweed and Himalayan balsam using three techniques:

1. walk-over survesy;
2. plane flown aerial imagery + lidar; and,
3. drone mounted cameras.

This will explore how easy it is to detect each plant species at different scales and will help the Wear Rivers Trust to develop a multi-scale remote-sensing strategy to support and direct management, while optimising costs, for the whole catchment.

Speaking after the announcement, Paul Atkinson, Project Officer at the Wear Rivers Trust said
The trust is pleased to be supporting local innovation to help solve the growing problem of invasive plants along Wear waterways. We hope that hi tech can help us detect INNS and inform our strategy to restore the ecology of our river banks’.

For updates on how the project progresses, follow the Wear Rivers Trust.


Challenge: Design of our Tyne

This Challenge has now closed. For more information on the event please follow this link.

Opportunity
The Water Hub launched a series of exciting challenges at our annual networking event RIPPLE. We called on our network of innovators to propose solutions to The Tyne Estuary Steering Group / Environment Agency (EA) to address their challenge of “Design of our Tyne”. To see Rob Carr’s presentation from RIPPLE, download his presentation here.  The Tyne Estuary Steering group has a vision for transforming the Newcastle Quayside into a green hub connecting communities and businesses with nature. As part of this vision, the EA sought inspiration to visualise what this green space could look like.

The Challenge Holder 
The Tyne Estuary Steering Group is led by Groundwork NE and Cumbria and is made up of stakeholders including Local Authorities, Rivers and wildlife Trusts, NE1 the Business Improvement District company, Newcastle and Gateshead Initiative, The Environment Agency, Natural England and Northumbrian Water.  Read more about the TEP here. The Environment Agency is a non-departmental public body sponsored by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), with responsibilities relating to the protection and enhancement of the environment to create better places for people and wildlife, and support sustainable development and one of The Water Hub’s strategic partners. www.gov.uk/government/organisations/environment-agency

The Challenge
The Tyne Estuary Steering Group are looking for ideas on how to address their challenge of transforming the Newcastle Quayside into a green hub.  NE1’s business proposal for 2019-2024  says, “Newcastle’s Quayside and its bridges deliver iconic views that are instantly recognisable... but there is a strong desire for more to be made of this asset, including the river itself”. NE1 has taken inspiration from Copenhagen, Melbourne and New York’s ‘High Line’, in demonstrating the commercial gains of this approach and viewing this area as a 1km linear park. They hope to redevelop the Quayside to increase footfall, encourage additional businesses to invest and finally, create a more appealing physical environment that encourages diverse uses, utilising both the quay and the river. Over the next five years, NE1 will make “greening” an essential element of their projects, looking at permanent and temporary landscape interventions and multi-dimensional projects which explore how buildings, their walls and rooftops can add to the city’s biodiversity.
Building on this vision, the Tyne Estuary Partnership would like to:

1. Seek inspiration on what this green space could look like
2. Connect communities with business and nature
3. Bring to life existing drawings with a 3D visualisation*

*this is left open to interpretation and can involve which ever 3D media you choose to best represent your vision.

An award of £2000 will be made to the winning solution, which best meets each of the three criteria above. This is a competitive process. Your application will be judged solely on the information you provide in the application form and any associated attachments (which can include 3D illustrations, photographs, links to videos, immersive technologies, and/or other creative ideas which support your application).

The Water Hub will provide all applications to Rob Carr at Environment Agency after the deadline. The Tyne Estuary Partnership/ EA will be responsible for reviewing applications and providing feedback to the applicants in a timely manner.

Timeline
• 21 March 2019 – Launch of challenge and call for applications
• 10 May 2019 - Deadline for applications to The Water Hub.
• 13 May - The Water Hub will collate all applications and send to The TEP / EA.
• 14 May - 3 June - The TEP/ EA will review all applications.
• 7 June - The TEP / EA will provide feedback to The Water Hub on which applicant(s) has/have been successful in the review.
• 14 June - The Water Hub will pass on this feedback to the applicants.
• 30 June - The TEP/ EA will award funding to successful applicant(s) by end of June.

Challenge Outcome

After impressing at the application stage, Fairhurst and SEL Environmental Ltd were invited to present their 3D visualisations for a greener Tyne Estuary at the Environment Agency's Tyneside House.

Reflecting on the day, Lisa Stephenson, Business Development Manager at Groundwork NE and Cumbria said, 'Both presentations were really interesting and very different in their approach. They can definately bring new things to the Partnership. Fairhurst were really strong on the policy, masterplanning and the overview side of the project, and SEL Environmental brought new technologies that we would have never considered before. These are exciting times ahead with the potential of working with both companies moving forward.' 

Stephen Patterson, Director of Communications at Newcastle NE1 BID said, 'Both shortlisted submissions were absolutley fantastic showing the scale of opportunities but also the challenges presented. Both teams brought ideas that we had not encountered before'.