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water@leeds Mission 1: updates and plans

Member news

Professor Mark Trigg, Associate Director for water@leeds Mission 1: Research, provides an update on recent activities and looks ahead to 2024.

It has been another exciting year for research in water@leeds, with lots of ongoing activities and new initiatives planned.

Bibliometric Analysis commissioned by water@leeds

A bibliometric analysis by the University of Leeds Library service, commissioned by water@leeds reveals that in all eight themes studied: Peatlands, Glaciology, Climate change, Ecosystems, Atmosphere, Policy, Water Resources, Hydrology; that water@leeds research outputs remain strong, and is UK and world leading, being ranking between 7th and 1st in the UK, and 221st to 4th internationally. One exciting finding from the accompanying network analysis is that key people (and not always the most senior!) play an important networking role in linking research teams across the university. I see this as evidence of the success of the water@leeds goal to provide supportive research networking activities.

Global Flood Partnership

Following on from our successful hosting of the Global Flood Partnership conference last year, the GFP conference this year was held in Singapore (Sept 23). water@leeds had a strong presence again, supported by University of Leeds Networking funds and ran one of the workshop session on “Displaced people and flood risk” which is an emerging topic of interest given increasing global displacement.

Partnership with Tecnológico de Monterrey

Water@leeds have partnered with Tecnológico de Monterrey University in Mexico to begin an “Interdisciplinary Water Collaborative”, led by Dr Gaby Lopez-Gonzalez. The collaboration is jointly supported by Tec de Monterrey and University of Leeds International Strategy Funds and includes support from the NERC Freshwater Quality Programme and BioResource Systems Research Group. Lots of activities are planned over the next year, so keep an eye out for these. Activities will include; research collaboration workshops, student exchanges, joint grant submissions, promotion of knowledge equity and exploration of joint MSc programmes and PhD mobility activities/funds.

AI and water

It seems like you can’t read or watch anything these days without some mention of the changes Artificial Intelligence may bring to jobs, students learning and even research. We know many water@leeds members are already engaging with AI as part of their research in various forms, and many others are keen to learn. To make sure water@leeds is “AI ready”, we have started a new initiative and are planning a series of Water and AI focused workshops to explore the methods, possible changes to the research process and provide support for those who are new to the topic.

The first of these Water and AI workshops - The Future of Water Research: Harnessing AI while avoiding the pitfalls was held on the 27th of November 23. It was well attended from many faculties, even by people in topic areas other than water, such is the interest across the university.

From such a positive response to the first workshop, we realise there is a need to provide regular follow-up workshops on AI subtopics, with opportunities for members to learn new AI skills, get hands-on experience and share experiences. We are therefore planning a series of these workshops in the new year that will be dynamic and responsive to the fast pace of change in AI. Although you will see a lots of AI related initiatives appearing across the Uni, our aim is to dig deep into the topic and its relevance to water research, provide expert support and proactive learning across water@leeds.

Our first hands-on AI workshop in the new year will be on “Generative AI and the research process” on January 25th. We will be exploring the use of AI tools such as ChatGPT, Edge Copilot, Elicit and Consensus and how these can be used to enhance your research while retaining your academic rigour and credibility. As well as an overview on the tools and their pros and cons, this will be a hands-on workshop where you will have a go at using the tools for your own research questions – so come with your questions and experience. Due to how quickly these tools and methods are developing, we plan to develop an active, interacting community where we can learn from each other, so get experimenting and share what you have found.