The investment will support UEA’s world-leading research on climate change and rising sea-levels through the appointment of a new Professor in Coastal System Dynamics, who will study the impact of climate change on the East Anglian coast and beyond.
Prof Robert Nicholls, Director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, said:
“The profound and life-changing implications of sea-level rise and climate change must not be underestimated. It is important to understand that some rise in sea level is now inevitable, and so a pressing concern is looking into how we respond to this rise and how to minimise the negative impacts.”
UEA Vice-Chancellor and President, Prof David Maguire, said:
“Tackling sea-level rise requires enormous expertise and an integrated understanding of engineering, natural and physical sciences, social sciences and policy analysis. UEA has led in this field for decades, and we are well placed to see this investment deliver regional and global insight and impact. This gift is also timely, as our coastal communities recently marked the 70th anniversary of the 1953 floods that cost many lives and livelihoods, showing that society has got to be better at managing coastal risks.”
Sir Anthony Habgood is also a former Chairman of the Norwich Research Park and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Civil Law (Hon DCL) from UEA in 2016. He said:
“Some of the most biodiverse and fertile areas of the world are in coastal regions that are likely to be seriously affected by climate change. The East Anglian coast is a great example of this. Understanding and managing this impact is one of the greatest challenges of this and future generations. It is my hope that this professorship and the work of any future Coastal Change Centre will inspire further innovative research and practical solutions in an area in which the UEA has so much to offer and such a strong reputation.”
UEA’s Director of Development, David Ellis, said:
“This is an inspiring act of philanthropy for which UEA is extremely grateful. The funds will permanently endow this important research and, we hope, attract other funding for study of climate change impacts on our coast and the Norfolk Broads. Our fundraising in this critical decade for climate change has taken an important step forward thanks to Sir Anthony.”
The appointment will follow a competitive search process and the new post holder is expected to join UEA in early 2024.
It is also hoped that the new appointment may help draw in further philanthropic and charitable funding to help establish a future UEA Coastal Change Centre to bring further expertise and research to bear on the problems that rising sea levels will bring to the world.