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Institute of Advanced Study

Professor Rajiv Sinha

COFUND Senior Research Fellow at St Aidan's College, Durham University (May - July 2014)

Prof Rajiv Sinha is from the Department of Civil Engineering, IIT Kanpur. He is one of the most visible Indian workers in the area of fluvial geology, river science and river related hazards. Since the famous Kosi flood tragedy in 2008, he has been the most prominent researcher in this area, pursuing several lines of activity ranging from river dynamics and flood risk to flow modelling and sub-surface stratigraphy. This has led to a series of very impressive publications both in scientific journals as well as in popular science magazines which have been received very well by the geosciences community.

The Fellowship aims to develop a decision support system (DSS) for hazard management in the Kosi region in north Bihar plains in India, using the process-based understanding and building on existing stakeholder engagement at both the governmental and community level. During the Fellowship, Prof Sinha will integrate all available data to produce flood hazard and risk maps and also design mitigation strategies. Then he will develop a decision support system (DSS) which will use a topography-driven connectivity model to simulate the path of the avulsion channels from sites prone to breaching. Further, a series of popular booklets and audio-visual materials will be produced aimed at developing resilience and safety towards floods. The available expertise at IHRR on hazard communication and dissemination, and on community roles in understanding hazard would be extremely beneficial to achieve these objectives. The proposed project also has some parallels with a NERC/ESRC-funded project entitled ‘Earthquakes without Frontiers’ led by Prof Densmore (IHRR). Both projects are focused on hazard and resilience in the Kosi region, but floods occur far more frequently than large earthquakes. It is therefore hoped that the DSS can be used as a ‘prototype’ for building resilience to earthquake hazard, and to explore the possibility of flood responses as a ‘trial run’ for earthquake support tools and mechanisms.

“The ambience of Durham and the grand view of the Castle would remain as one of the most unforgettable sights of our stay at Durham.”

Professor Rajiv Sinha, Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur