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UK-India workshop on re-building Kerala post floods

The workshop focussed on bringing academia, industry and government agencies together with a common interest in rebuilding Kerala for a resilient future.


Leeds University, UK and TKM College of Engineering, Kerala hosted a two-day international workshop titled ‘Rebuilding a Resilient Kerala after the Floods’ in Trivandrum on 6 to 7 January 2019.

Through the workshop, key stakeholders from both the countries jointly identified short-term, medium-term and long-term goals to deal with the following challenges:

  • reconstruction of critical and civil infrastructure in a resilient manner
  • building capability to cope with any future floods due to climate changes
  • land use planning for a sustainable and resilient society
  • educating the next generation of engineers to deal with the above three aspects

The workshop was co-hosted by the Kerala State Planning Board, Government of Kerala and the Royal Academy of Engineering (UK) under the aegis of the Newton-Bhabha Fund to support the UK-India bilateral science and innovation collaboration.

Deputy High Commissioner Jeremy Pilmore-Bedford said:

I’m delighted that the jointly funded UK-India Newton-Bhabha Fund has been able to support such a vital discussion in Trivandrum to help rebuild a resilient post-flood Kerala. Our High Commissioner Sir Dominic Asquith and I met the Hon’ble Chief Minister of Kerala recently to express our concern for the loss of life and property during the floods and we are glad that UK-Kerala academic and research practitioners are coming together for this timely knowledge-sharing event.

This event highlights how the best minds from India and the UK can together help solve real-world problems with solutions that can be applied to meet global challenges. It is of course part of wider work. The Newton-Bhabha Fund has supported 61 projects and grants in Kerala in sectors like Public Health & Wellbeing, Sustainable Cities & Urbanisation, Energy-Water-Food, Big Data, Advanced Manufacturing and Skills.

The first day of the workshop was dedicated for presentations on research updates and the second day for panel discussions on four select themes, related to:

  • reconstruction of infrastructure
  • building capability to cope with future floods
  • land use planning
  • educating the next generation of engineers and scientists to deal with natural disasters.

Eminent experts from the UK and India for the research paper presentations included:

  • Shaarad Sharma, Royal Academy of Engineering;
  • Dr P.A. Muhammed Basheer, University of Leeds
  • Dr K.P. Sudheer, IIT Madras and
  • Dr P.P. Mujumdar, IISc Bangalore.

Dignitaries who participated at the event were:

  • A.C. Moideen, Minister for local self-governance
  • S.M. Vijayanand IAS
  • Dr K.M. Abraham IAS
  • P.H. Kurien IAS,
  • Sri. Cherian Philip, State Coordinator, Nava Keralam Karma Padhathi, Government of Kerala
  • Dr V.K. Ramachandran (Vice-Chairman, Kerala State Planning Board)

Shaarad Sharma, Senior Manager, Royal Academy of Engineering, UK and Dr PA Mohammed Basheer, Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering & Head of School of Civil Engineering University of Leeds, UK said:

Engineering is about making things work and making things work better. When put in the context of flooding and natural disasters, it is clear that engineers have a pivotal role to play in building resilience within our complex infrastructural and sociotechnical systems to protect our society amidst a changing climate and against external shocks.

The Academy is proud to have this opportunity to engage with the State of Kerala through the Newton-Bhabha Fund. This is a crucial time of the post-flood reconstruction process and it is important to have stakeholders from across government, industry and academia share a common understanding and jointly develop a plan to collaborate for the common good.

Dr S. Ayoob, Principal, TKM College of Engineering, who welcomed the initiative to organise the workshop, said:

It is first time in the history of any educational institution in Kerala that an International Workshop of this level is hosted in association with the globally renowned Leeds University, UK and also in association with the Royal Academy of Engineering (UK) and the Kerala State Planning Board.

The theme of the workshop ‘Rebuilding a Resilient Kerala after the Floods in 2018’ is highly relevant at a time when the State is busy involved in preparing and examining different aspects and options for building up future Kerala in sustainable and resilient ways.

The workshop was also supported by the Kerala State Council for Science, Technology and Environment and the Technical Education Quality Improvement Programme.

Further information

Newton-Bhabha Fund

The Newton-Bhabha fund is a partnership that brings together UK and Indian scientists, researchers and innovators to find joint solutions to global challenges. It is delivered by 7 UK delivery partners in collaboration with their Indian counterparts through equal partnership and matched resources. The Newton-Bhabha fund includes capacity building programmes such as PhD partnerships, fellowships, training and networking opportunities; research projects led by UK and Indian researchers and; innovation projects led by industrial partners.

University of Leeds, UK

The University, established in 1904, is one of the largest higher education institutions in the UK. Leeds University is renowned globally for the quality of our teaching and research.

TKM College of Engineering, India

T K M College of Engineering, the first Government-aided engineering college in Kerala, is the foremost institution for technical education, run by the TKM College Trust, headed by Dr Shahal Hassan Musaliar, and completes six decades.

Kerala State Planning Board

Kerala State Planning Board is an advisory board under the Kerala Government. The Board was formed with a view to enable the State Government to formulate development plans based on a scientific assessment of the resources of the state on the one hand and growth priorities on the other.

Kerala State Council for Science, Technology and Environment

The Kerala State Council for Science, Technology and Environment is an autonomous body under the Ministry of Science and Technology, Kerala. The council promotes and activates programs for increasing the stock of knowledge in science, and fine tunes policies for sustained development.


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Published 7 January 2019