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Su Guiwu et al. of Institute of Geology visited UK for academic collaboration

2017/10/18 14:30:40

1. Rationale/cause for the visit


In 2015, National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) and Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) of UK jointly launched a UK-China collaborative programme "Increasing Resilience to Natural Hazards in Earthquake Prone Regions in China (IRNHiC)" in the field of disaster reduction. The project "Pan-participatory Assessment and Governance of Earthquake Risks in the Ordos Area (PAGER-O)" is one of the six projects of this UK-China collaboration programme. The PAGER-O project is jointly led by Institute of Geology, China Earthquake Administration (IGCEA), Overseas Development Institute of U.K.(ODI), and University of Oxford, and participated by several other institutions, such as University of Cambridge, GeoHazards International (GHI) of the U.S., China Earthquake Disaster Prevention Center, and Shenzhen Institute of Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU). PAGER-O’s Chinese side principal investigator (PI) is Professor Su Guiwu from IGCEA; UK side principal investigators include Mr. John Young of ODI and Professor Philip England at University of Oxford. The duration of this Project is from January 2016 to December 2018 (3 years).


The core work of the PAGER-O project is Assessment and Governance of Earthquake Risks of Weinan City, China (or Developing Earthquake Scenarios for Weinan City) (short for "the Weinan work"). The Weinan work aims to promote a trans-disciplinary research on earthquake hazards, resilience, risks, and risk governance with a broad coverage of disciplines and stakeholders. It involves many knowledgeareas on the one hand (e.g., active tectonics, paleoearthquake/historical earthquake study, engineeringseismology and earthquake engineering, seismic hazard and vulnerability, social resilience and public risk perception/awareness, risk analysis and risk governance, research into practice), it also covers researchers and practitioners, government and non-government, professionals and laymen, and organizations and the public on the other. Therefore, a big challenge exists in executing this project. However, under the strong support from relevant institutions (e.g., CEA) and with hard efforts of the international research team, the Weinan work has achieved a great progress since it officially started in January 2016. The noted activities or events so far include: 1) In November 2016, a tripartite collaboration agreement on the Weinan work was singed among IGCEA, Shaanxi Earthquake Administration(Shaanxi EA), and the municipalgovernment of the Weinan city, 2) following this (i.e., in December 2016), the international research team has conducted a preliminary field work and a series of local consultations and interviews in both Linwei and Huazhou districts of the Weinan City (the study area of the Weinan work) and Shaanxi EA, the research team called these activities as “technical site visit”collectively, 3) Using almost the whole April and May of 2017 and with a strong support and active participation by the colleagues from both Shaanxi EA and Xi'an University of Science and Technology , the Chinese side team has successfully completed the detailed field and indoor investigations of the buildings and lifelines in the two study districts of the Weinan city.


To ensure the execution and expected outcomes of the PAGER-O project (esp., the Weinan work), the research team has deeply perceived that more detailed, more specific, and more targeted face to face communications and execution planning work are crucially needed at the key timeline points during the lifetime of the project. By May 2017, the project will reach its halfway of execution; the researchers from both UK and China sides have already agreed that detailed field investigations and local consultations and interviews (the research team named them as “Charrette one”collectively)should be conducted in June 2017. Given all of these, the international research team thus decided to timely meet in UK during May 1-14, 2017, so as to make a detailed and specific work plan for the next stage research activities of the Weinan work.


2. Past cooperation


University of Oxford and ODI, the leading institutions of PAGER-O in UK, are the main institutions where Professor Su Guiwu et al. visited. University of Oxford is one of the most famous universities in the world. The Department of Earth Sciences of this university is of the top-ranking level in the research fields of geology, geophysics and so on. Professor Philip England in this department, one of the leaders/PIs of the PAGER-O project in UK, is a Fellow of the Royal Society of the UK and has amounts of important achievements in areas like continental deformation mechanisms, etc. In recent years, he is also keen to actively promote and engage in multidisciplinary researches on large earthquakes, including the associated work on social and economic impacts of and resilience to the earthquakes. ODI is a state-level research institution in the UK and aims to promote humanitarian aids. Mr. John Young, another leader/PI of the PAGER-O in the UK, is the leader of "Programme of Research and Practice in Development (RAPID)" of ODI. RAPID programme, aiming at bridging the gap between scientific research and application that exists worldwide, has developed a RAPID Outcome Mapping Approach (ROMP) to help put scientific research achievements to social practices efficiently and quickly. ROMP has been successfully used to solve various practical issues at different levels in more than 50 countries or regions, and especially in the fields of disaster reduction at community scales, a lot of outcomes have been reported. Such advantages of ODI will help a lot in the Weinan work.


It was in 2012 that the cooperation initiated among teams of Professor Su Guiwu from IGCEA, Professor Philip England from University of Oxford, and Mr. John Young from ODI. In 2012, University of Oxford, ODI, and University of Cambridge jointly proposed and led a large international collaborative project "Earthquakes without Frontiers (EwF)" (sponsored jointly by NERC and ESRC from 2013 to 2017), which concerns a lot about the regions that covers Shaanxi and Ningxia areas in China. Since 2012, scientific researchers from both Shaanxi EA and IGCEA have taken part in the work of EwF in China. The team of Su Guiwu also supported a lot for the work. The EwF in China collaboration work covered remote sensing interpretations and field investigations on active tectonics and active faults in Shaanxi and Ningxia regions, review on state- and region-level earthquake disaster reduction strategies and practices, and so on. During this cooperation period, a solid collaboration relationship has been established among the teams of professor Su Guiwu from IGCEA, Professors Philip England and Barry Parsons from University of Oxford, and Mr. John Young from ODI. Especially, rich collaboration experience on using multidisciplinary approaches to look at issues like ‘how to integrate natural sciences with social ones to holistically assess earthquake disaster risks and to promote more effect risk governance’ has been accumulated during these past collaboration activities.


Based on these previous collaborations, IGCEA, ODI, and University of Oxford thus jointly led to apply the PAGER-O project under the call of the IRNHiC programme mentioned above, hoping to further promote the international multidisciplinary collaborations in the field of earthquake disaster risk and its governance on the basis of EwF in China work.


3. Visit activities


The visiting team arrived in London on May 1 (London time), and came back at Beijing Capital International Airport on May 14 (Beijing time). Formal visits and academic exchange activities started on May 2 and lasted for 11 days to May 12. According to different geographical locations of the visited institutions, the visits was separated into London section (May 2-6) and Oxford section (May 8-12). During the visit in London, the team visited ODI, and met each work groups on hazards and disaster reduction (May 2-3 and 5-6). Besides, arranged and accompanied by Mr. Young from ODI, the team also visited the Earthquake and People Interaction Centre (EPICentre) and Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction (IRDR) of University College London (UCL) (May 4). During the visit in Oxford, the visit team participated the particular meeting on the planning for the next stage of the Weinan work of the PAGER-O project (May 8-10), visited Department of Earth Sciences of University of Oxford and attended a workshop for international collaborative partners On Earthquake without Frontiers organized by Professor Philip England at University of Oxford (May 11-12).