“System Risk” – Multinational project for a large-scale analysis and management approach to flood risks in Europe

Heavy rains and flooding impact numerous countries in Europe every year, sometimes with severe damage. Unequivocal prognoses for flooding risk and development trends have been difficult to come by, primarily due to a lack of data and poor cooperation between individual countries. The project “System Risk” sought to address this problem and brought together ten leading centres for flood research in Europe and eight partners from the industrial sector and bureaucracy under the auspices of the European Framework Programme H2020. Five countries (Austria, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom) worked together on the multinational project.

Its goal was the development and implementation of a comprehensive systems approach to assessing and analysing the risk of flooding on a large scale. This is aimed primarily at implementing the European Floods Directive, as well as at improving instruments for insurance coverage. To that end, the project supported fifteen young scientists using improved data access and new algorithms and technologies to produce models, conduct analyses, and develop new flood risk management strategies on the basis of their results.

The three pillars of the project were:

  1. Creating risk chains that illustrate the path of flooding events from their origins, how they unfold over time, to their consequences.  
  2. Linking interactions that show the realistic processes between physical and social developments.
  3. Illustrating the temporal dynamic of flood risk: What changes over the course of hours or days, if the flood risk changes due to the absence of protective measures? What changes over the course of months or years when the population develops its own dynamics for flood protection?

The project was coordinated by the The Helmholtz Centre Potsdam - GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences. adelphi provided support as a research institution, primarily by coordinating public appearances and ensuring that the essential points of the project are disseminated effectively. 

Publications of this project