June 20, 2024 | University Partners

University of Hull to Lead the Coastal Communities and Seas Together for Resilience (COAST-R) Network

The University of Hull is to lead a £2M national network to generate knowledge, action and resilience for UK coastal communities and seas.

The COAST-R Network is part funded by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and DEFRA under their Resilient Coastal Communities and Seas programme and is part of a £14.8M investment in place-based research projects aiming to enhance resilience, wellbeing and sustainability across the UK.

Headed by Professor Briony McDonagh at the University of Hull, the COAST-R Network involves academic teams from the Universities of Hull, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, Southampton and Aberystwyth University, as well as coastal and marine partners and communities across all four UK nations.

Together, they will work to generate and share learning across sectors and disciplines to build UK coastal and marine resilience.

Prof. McDonagh, Director of the Energy and Environment Institute and Professor of Environmental Humanities, said: “The UK’s coasts represent the front line for many of our most significant resilience challenges. Coastal and estuarine communities are living with social and health inequalities, rising sea levels, and coastal erosion, to name but a few challenges. Yet conventional models of coastal management sometimes fall badly short, ignoring local needs and experiences of coastal change.”

COAST-R will work collaboratively across sectors and build skills, knowledge and collaboration to ensure those most impacted by climate change have a key voice in the decision-making process around coastal resilience.

Prof Briony McDonagh

The COAST-R Network has five key objectives:

  • Share learnings and best practice across sectors and disciplines, to build UK coastal and marine resilience;
  • Co-design a range of events, training and mentoring to improve partnership working and nurture the next generation of resilience champions;
  • Work in partnership with coastal communities and other partners to identify and respond to priority needs using our Flexible Fund;
  • Collate key insights, case studies and resources through our website and other outputs;
  • Build ongoing practitioner and community-led evaluation on the activities of the Network and funded projects, to shape future learning, legacy and funding opportunities.

The Network is part of the UKRI Strategy, “Transforming Tomorrow Together”, which will see a £24.3M boost to the UK’s environmental resilience through place-based research projects. Four large projects funded under UKRI’s Resilient Coastal Communities and Seas Programme will shortly be announced, as well as a number of projects researching place-based approaches to an environmentally sustainable future.

The Network is jointly funded by UKRI, through Creating Opportunities, Improving Outcomes, alongside the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), National Environment Research Council (NERC) and the UK Government Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

Creating Opportunities, Improving Outcomes is one of UKRI’s strategic themes. Their aim is to improve outcomes for people and places across the UK by identifying solutions that promote economic and social prosperity.

The scheme:

  • Builds upon existing funding that UKRI is already investing in addressing regional inequalities, through initiatives like the Strength in Places fund.
  • Is designed to address regional inequalities, through genuine, cross-disciplinary working and thinking, both in terms of sectors and delivery partners.
  • Research will go beyond ‘findings’ and create genuine, workable solutions to health, economic and wider disparities.
  • Like all UKRI’s strategic themes this will help address the biggest threats facing our communities.