SCIENTISTS and engineers at Abertay University have been awarded £1.4 million as part of a new project it is hoped will safeguard the future of the UK’s water, energy and food security.
The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) is giving the cash as part of a major push to find ways of tackling shortages caused by a rising world population.
Abertay’s project is one of only three that successfully secured a portion of funding for the project, which researchers say is the first ever to simultaneously investigate how water, energy and food systems interact.
The project will use the university’s expertise in complex systems modelling and interactive visualisation to help people ‘see’ exactly how these initiatives work and – if they were to be replicated – how they would impact on the environment as well as on the lives of those living close by.
Dr Ruth Falconer, who will lead the research at Abertay, said: “The way we currently use our water, energy and food is not going to be sustainable in the long term.
“Indeed, the UK government’s chief scientific adviser warned back in 2009 that – combined with climate change – the demands we currently place on these three resources could create the ‘perfect storm’ for a global crisis just 15 years from now.
“So we need to find ways to prevent that from happening and to manage our resources more responsibly.”
In total, the EPSRC is investing £4.5 million to safeguard the UK’s water, energy and food security.
The research into will be conducted by inter-disciplinary groups of scientists based at 19 universities and research institutes across the UK.