2/8/23 · Culture

The UOC participates in a European project to improve the response to climate change-related emergencies

Catalonia has been chosen as one of Europe's four demonstrator regions for studying the implementation of tools to optimize the management of weather emergencies as a measure for improving climate change resilience
The project, which involves 13 partner countries, will be carried out in Catalonia by the Government of Catalonia's Civil Protection Service, the UPC, the UOC, the company Hyds, and Terrassa and Blanes municipal councils, with the support of the ACCIÓ agency
Catalonia will receive ?2.5 million from the European Community for this initiative
The goal of the initiative is to improve the ability to detect extreme situations like flooding, heatwaves and wildfire risks. (Photo: Chris Gallagher/Unsplash)

The goal of the initiative is to improve the ability to detect extreme situations like flooding, heatwaves and wildfire risks. (Photo: Chris Gallagher/Unsplash)

Catalonia is one of the 12 regions chosen by the European Commission to take part in a European project with funding of €25 million to improve readiness for serious climate change-related emergencies. The goal of the initiative – which is called RESIST and is part of the EU Mission "Adaptation to Climate Change" of the Horizon Europe programme – is to improve the ability to detect extreme situations like flooding, heatwaves and wildfire risks, and to ensure greater readiness on the part of local authorities and society as a whole. The project, which began in January, will last five years. 

Its implementation in Catalonia will be funded with €2.5 million via the following project partners: the Directorate General for Civil Protection of the Government of Catalonia's Ministry of the Interior, the UPC's Centre of Applied Research in Hydrometeorology (CRAHI), the UOC's CareNet research group, the company Hyds, and Terrassa and Blanes municipal councils. The project is supported by ACCIÓ, the Catalan Ministry of Business and Employment's Agency for Business Competitiveness.

This European initiative includes the implementation of four large-scale demonstrator regions in Europe located in Catalonia, Finland, Denmark and Portugal. More specifically, in Catalonia it will study how to detect the effects of weather hazards further in advance, with the emphasis on the municipal sphere and with the necessary adaptations to different territorial realities, taking into account the individual characteristics of each municipality. It will focus on analysis of the most vulnerable activities, such as tourism and, more particularly, campsites. By means of the real-time analysis of the impact of risk events, new regional measures, policy instruments and technological solutions will be developed.

These solutions should help increase ecological investment levels, reduce natural hazard-related economic losses (e.g. from flooding) and minimize the climate protection gap. They will also foster public participation in building greater resilience against these environmental disruptions and boost the ability of local councils to deal with these climate change-related events.

"RESIST provides a great opportunity for partnering in the vital mission of tackling climate change, developing and sharing participatory methods with other regions and collaborating in creating interdisciplinary, cross-cutting networks to face up to the serious effects of the climate crisis", noted Israel Rodríguez, principal investigator of the CareNet research group, at the UOC's Internet Interdisciplinary Institute (IN3), who is participating in the project alongside Miriam Arenas.

For Rodríguez, Catalonia will be playing a key role in the project as one of the regions responsible for developing technological and social innovation to foster climate change adaptation. "CareNet will be involved in examining the social aspects of this adaptation and fostering a more inclusive, diverse and collaborative prevention, readiness and response strategy", he explained.

Catalonia is one of the 12 regions taking part in this European project, encompassing a total of 22 million people. The conclusions drawn from the Catalonia demonstrator will be shared with the Italian region of Puglia and Portugal's Baixo Alentejo, particularly the problems associated with flooding, heatwaves and wildfires.

A step forward in improving emergency management

Europe's RESIST project represents a continuation of the improvements achieved by the European ANYWHERE project and seeks to bring to vulnerable municipalities and activities the capabilities secured in the latter initiative. That project, coordinated by UPC-CRAHI, helped the company Hyds develop a tool (which is now operational and used by the Directorate General for Civil Protection) that represents a significant improvement in the management of climate change-related weather risk emergencies, particularly flooding. The tool is able to detect, in real time, extreme flooding events two hours in advance of their impact.

The presence of UPC-CRAHI and Hyds in the RESIST project will help ensure this adaptation to local authority level, with the participation of Terrassa and Blanes municipal councils, which are actively involved in the search for solutions for adapting to climate change and the flood-related problems of their municipalities. Adding value to what has been developed to date, this project will incorporate the social perception of risk though the UOC's CareNet research group, with the goal of ensuring that affected towns and villages have a greater capacity for self-protection.

Other European projects on adapting emergency management to climate change  

Catalonia also participates in other European projects associated with adapting emergency responses and management to climate change. EU funding has recently been secured for the CLIMAAX project, with a total of €20 million and the participation of the Directorate General for Civil Protection of the Government of Catalonia's Ministry of the Interior, and the Centre of Applied Research in Hydrometeorology (CRAHI) of the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC).

This project, with a forecast duration of four years, kicked off with an initial partner meeting on 23 and 24 January in the Dutch city of Delft. It has the mission of adapting to climate change through regional-level climate risk assessment, working at a local scale with established pan-European benchmark data and scenarios. 

The CLIMAAX project will work on this interface from the standpoint of the provision of analytical and practical support to regions and communities, offering a standardized climate risk assessment framework and providing tools to access data and models. To make this possible, five demonstrator regions in Europe have been chosen to act as implementation testbeds, amongst them Catalonia. Assessment of the climate risks helps in defining scenarios for adapting civil protection plans that establish responses to emergencies, in this case the risks associated with climate change.

This project supports Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) 13, climate action.



The UOC's research and innovation (R&I) is helping overcome pressing challenges faced by global societies in the 21st century by studying interactions between technology and human & social sciences with a specific focus on the network society, e-learning and e-health.

Over 500 researchers and 51 research groups work in the UOC's seven faculties, its eLearning Research programme and its two research centres: the Internet Interdisciplinary Institute (IN3) and the eHealth Center (eHC).

The university also develops online learning innovations at its eLearning Innovation Center (eLinC), as well as UOC community entrepreneurship and knowledge transfer via the Hubbik platform.

Open knowledge and the goals of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development serve as strategic pillars for the UOC's teaching, research and innovation. More information: research.uoc.edu.

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