Minister Launches €10M Horizon 2020 Project to Increase Climate Resilience in European Coastal Cities


The Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris, TD officially launched a €10 million Horizon 2020 project that aims to increase climate resilience in European coastal cities.

The four-year project was officially launched by Minister Harris at IT Sligo on a visit to the northwest campus to discuss the safe return of students on campus this September and the move towards a Technological University in 2022.

SCORE (Smart Control of the Climate Resilience in European Coastal Cities), outlines a comprehensive strategy, developed via a network of 10 coastal city ‘living labs’, to rapidly, equitably and sustainably enhance coastal city climate resilience through an Ecosystem-Based Approach (EBA) supported by sophisticated digital technologies.

Speaking at the launch the Minister said: “Every sector of society will be affected by climate change in the coming years. My Department’s focus on research and innovation will be key in Ireland’s response, and indeed in the wider European world we live in. I am delighted to launch this really important project today – we are an island after all, and we know the kind of impact coastal flooding and erosion can have. It’s vital that we play our part in equipping and empowering our towns and cities to protect themselves. This work will bring together a wide range of experts, from citizen science to engineering, to solve problems, and that kind of vision is exactly what my Department was established to support.”

The intensification of extreme weather events, coastal erosion and sea-level rise are major challenges to be urgently addressed by European coastal cities. Deaths caused by extreme weather in Europe could rise from 3,000 a year between 1981 and 2010 to 152,000 between 2071 and 2100 if mitigation pathways are not enacted to increase the resilience of European cities and settlements, based on a study in The Lancet Planetary Health journal.

To tackle this challenge, Dr Salem Gharbia from the Institute of Technology Sligo (Ireland), will lead a consortium of international scientific institutions, cities, and SMEs in a new €10m Horizon 2020-funded research project to increase climate resilience in European coastal cities. Dr Salem welcomed the Minister to Sligo and thanked him for his support in highlighting this important research:

“Minister Harris’s support to the SCORE research project is a key factor in highlighting the importance of the SCORE approach in providing Europe with expandable and transferable solutions to increase climate resilience against extreme events in coastal cities. Together with our partners in Europe and Turkey, we will put every effort to mitigate the effects of climate change by providing validated co-designed solutions involving academic institutions, communities, NGOs and governmental bodies.”

The SCORE interdisciplinary team consists of 28 world-leading organisations from academia, local authorities, RPOs, and SMEs encompassing a wide range of skills including environmental science and policy, climate modelling, citizen and social science, data management, coastal management and engineering, security and technological aspects of smart sensing research.

The project will involve citizen science in providing prototype coastal city early-warning systems and will enable smart, instant monitoring and control of climate resilience in European coastal cities through open, accessible spatial ‘digital twin’ tools.

Along with Sligo and Dublin, the project seeks to advance the control of climate resilience in cities in; Spain, Portugal, Italy, Slovenia and Poland.

SCORE will establish an integrated coastal zone management framework for strengthening the Ecosystem-Based solutions and smart coastal city policies, creating European leadership in coastal city climate change adaptation in line with The Paris Agreement.