PUB and NUS launch first research centre for coastal protection and flood management research

PUB, Singapore’s National Water Agency, has partnered with National University of Singapore (NUS) to launch the Coastal Protection and Flood Resilience Institute (CFI) under PUB’s S$125m coastal protection and flood management research programme (CFRP). It is Singapore’s first centre aimed to strengthen local capabilities in coastal protection and flood management research, which was launched at an event attended by Minister for sustainability and the environment Grace Fu.

(Image: NUS)

NUS has been appointed as the host of CFI and will be working with partner institutes Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD), Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT), and the Agency for Science, Technology, and Research (A*STAR), and industry partners to carry out research projects. CFI Singapore will be led by Prof Richard Liew, head of the department of civil and environmental engineering at the NUS college of design and engineering.

CFI Singapore has reportedly kickstarted its work with 9 research projects, and the CFRP will facilitate test bedding of new solutions through the applied research and living lab components. CFI Singapore will conduct cross-disciplinary research in coastal science; develop coastal protection and flood management solutions suited for Singapore’s urban and land-constrained coastlines; promote a collaborative research ecosystem encompassing local and international universities, researchers, and industry partners; and train a new generation of researchers and engineers to meet Singapore’s long-term challenge for coastal protection and flood management.

For example, a project will test the efficacy of hybrid nature-based solutions such as perched beaches with seagrass, mangroves on rock revetments for coastal protection, will include a team from three NUS research institutions, applied knowledge institute Deltares and engineering firm Delta Marine Consultants from the Netherlands.

Director of PUB coastal protection department Hazel Khoo said, “Singapore faces a confluence of challenges caused by the threat of rising sea levels and extreme weather events such as intense rainfall and storm surges. We are a low-lying island with a high population density and limited land. Our goal is to ensure our coastlines are well-protected, [and] bring multi-functional value for Singapore.”

CFI Singapore and its partner institutes also aim to attract R&D talent, create new research jobs and train PhD students to hone new research and engineering professionals which the industry can tap on as they expand and deepen coastal protection and flood management capabilities. Workforce development courses will be offered, which include educational pathways such as PhD and master of science as well as undergraduate programmes, workforce training and seminar series as seen with the newly introduced NUS graduate certificate in coastal protection and flood management, and NTU undergraduate specialisation in coastal protection.