Skip to main content Skip to navigation

UKRI GCRF Global Research Translation Award: Waterproofing Data

This project is targeted at developing, deploying and evaluating a mobile application and community-based intervention to increase the resilience of flood prone communities around several cities in Brazil.

We work in close partnership with Cemaden, the National Disaster Monitoring and Early-Warning Centre in Brazil. It builds upon the results of the successful collaboration of the partners within the ongoing GCRF-funded project “Waterproofing Data” (part of the programme “Transformations to Sustainability” of Belmont Forum/Norface), in which the partners have developed and piloted a methodology to engage schools, flood-prone communities and local governments in the production and circulation of flood-related data to improve flood resilience.

  1. To develop a citizen-science mobile application and set of intervention guidelines for engagement of flood-prone communities and schools in the generation of flood-related data and improvement of flood resilience;
  2. To conduct interventions for the generation of flood-related data and improvement of flood resilience in vulnerable communities around 81 schools spread across the Brazilian territory;
  3. To monitor and evaluate impacts to flood resilience, consolidate lessons learned and disseminate results to key stakeholders to enable further uptake and improve flood resilience in Latin America and in other regions of the world.


The methodology relies upon citizen science and participatory mapping to generate highly granular data about flood hazards, risks and impacts, whilst at the same time enhancing community resilience by raising awareness and enabling co-design of adaptive strategies with citizens of flood-prone areas. The main innovation of this methodology is to consider citizen-generated data as a part of a dialogical pedagogical process (Porto de Albuquerque and Almeida, 2019), in which social learning is accompanied by the production of accurate and precise data.

The methodological innovations are expected to have a significant impact on the fields of interdisciplinary data studies, citizen science studies, and computational social science/quantitative human geography. In particular, the project is aimed at providing a method to implement interventions to improve flood resilience, which will directly be of interest to both academics in the social sciences working in sustainable development and physical scientists working in hydrology.


The intended outcomes and impact of the project rely upon the central hypothesis that a deeper understanding of how flood-related data is produced, and how it flows, will enable transformations to build sustainable, flood resilient communities.

  1. Development of a mobile app to allow school students and citizens living in flood-prone communities to generate data about local impacts of flooding, whilst fostering social learning on flood risks and adaptive strategies.
  2. Development of guidelines and materials for schools and local stakeholders to implement flood resilience interventions in prone communities based on the mobile app and on the integration of this with contents related to climate change adaptation and disaster early-warning of the school curriculum.
  3. Roll out the mobile app and interventions for the flood-prone communities to 81 schools across Brazil.
  4. Perform a rigorous monitoring and evaluation of the impacts of the community-based research interventions to improve flood resilience, and disseminate results within Latin America.

The project will enable capacity development of local communities and governments of cities hosting 81 schools in Brazil, as well as dissemination to improve awareness of stakeholders of other regions and countries. Local communities vulnerable to floods across the Brazilian territory will benefit directly from the citizen-science application and intervention at schools that will bring together intergenerational groups to produce data for the project and build awareness and acquire knowledge and transfer skills that will make flood data more sustainable and ultimately improve community resilience.

The data and methods produced by the project will enable:

  • Better communication between flood risk management organisations and stakeholders at local government through transformed practices
  • Improved risk mapping by incorporating community-driven data related to floods and risk
  • Long-term development of more precise warnings (CEMADEN) due to the better understanding of flood risks at local level. With the direct involvement of researchers from the Brazilian academic and co-operation partners who have an organisational mission and public mandate to research on improving resilience (i.e. CEMADEN), the project will also build research capacity with the interdisciplinary social research methods developed in the project, which will be used in further initiatives in different parts of Brazil.

Professor Joao Porto de Albuquerque, University of Glasgow, UK

Professor Maria Alexandra Cunha, Getulio Vargas Foundation, Brazil

Dr Vangelis Pitidis, University of Warwick, UK

Dr Livia Degrossi, CEMADEN, Brazil

Dr Victor Marchezini, CEMADEN, Brazil

Dr Marcio Andrade, CEMADEN, Brazil

Dr Diego Pajarito-Grajales, University of Glasgow, UK

Norhayatie Forman, University of Warwick, UK


SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities

The expected long-term impact of this project is a contribution towards the SDG 11 targets of:

  • reducing the number of deaths and people affected by water-related disasters and reducing direct economic losses caused (SDG 11.5)
  • increasing the number of cities and human settlements adopting integrated policies and plans towards resilience to disasters and holistic disaster risk management (SDG 11.B).

Project Partners

Cemaden Logo FGV Logo University of Glasgow

Funded By : This project has been funded as part of UKRI’s GCRF Innovation and Commercialisation Programme, developed to fast track promising research findings into real-world solutions.