Dr Louise Slater awarded prestigious UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship

louisa slater black and white image

Dr Louise Slater, an Associate Professor in the School of Geography and the Environment and former Chair of the Oxford Water Network, has secured a prestigious UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship worth up to £1.1 million to better model the drivers of global flood risk.

Regionally, there is still low confidence in how floods would evolve under climate change. This is because floods have multiple, complex drivers that are challenging to disentangle, including river catchment characteristics, land changes such as urbanization and deforestation, antecedent soil moisture conditions, and how atmospheric circulation systems respond to climate change.

To address this challenge, Dr Slater's fellowship will focus on developing a holistic understanding of changing river flood risk. The 7-year project will develop the first “hybrid” past-present-future prediction system, using machine learning to combine Earth observations with climate model outputs seamlessly, over short- to long-term horizons.

Her project, the Dynamic drivers of flood risk (DRIFT) is co-designed with key partners including the Environment Agency, Flood Forecasting Centre, European Weather Centre (ECMWF), UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Met Office, JBA, and United States Geological Survey.

Dr Slater says, “I’m thrilled to have received this award and am greatly looking forward to working with project partners to develop a better understanding of how floods are changing in the UK and globally.”

Dr Slater is among eight researchers at the University of Oxford to have been awarded a UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship.

Meet Oxford's eight new UKRI Future Leaders Fellows

About UKRI Future Leaders Fellowships

The Future Leaders Fellowships scheme, which is run by UK Research and Innovation, aims to establish the careers of the next generation of world-class British scientists. It enables researchers at universities and businesses to progress their studies quickly by funding essential equipment and paying for researcher wages. 

UKRI Chief Executive, Professor Dame Ottoline Leyser, said 'I am delighted that UKRI is able to support the next generation of research and innovation leaders through our Future Leaders Fellowship programme. The new Fellows announced today will have the support and freedom they need to pursue their research and innovation ideas, delivering new knowledge and understanding and tackling some of the greatest challenges of our time.'