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EQC funds $1 million of research to reduce natural disaster risk

EQC has announced $1 million of funding for 16 research projects to help reduce the impact of natural hazards on New Zealanders’ homes, towns and cities.

Winners of the 2020 EQC Biennial Awards will be looking at everything from new ways to detect signs of eruption in volcanoes, testing new building materials, investigating a newly discovered fault on the Hauraki Plains, to developing low-cost early earthquake warning sensor networks.

Dr Jo Horrocks, Head of Resilience Strategy and Research, says the projects are part of EQC’s annual $17 million of research funding aimed at reducing the impact of natural disasters on people and property.

“New Zealand is a risky country from a natural hazards point of view. Our research programme is focused on understanding more about New Zealand’s natural hazards, and working out how to reduce the impact on New Zealanders.

“We can’t stop earthquakes, volcanic eruptions or other hazards. But we can help minimise the impacts on communities and ensure that as a nation, we are prepared to not just survive, but thrive, through periods of disruption,” says Dr Horrocks.

The recipients, scientists at Auckland, Victoria, Massey and Canterbury universities, as well as GNS Science, BRANZ and Resilient Organisations are focused on three research areas: better understanding of geological hazards, creating better engineering and improving community resilience.

“EQC has a unique position as both an insurer and a science funder. This means we can identify essential research outcomes that can be used now, and also look at some of the big challenges for New Zealand that may take more than one generation of scientists to solve,” says Dr Horrocks.

“EQC has invested in hundreds of research projects over many years to support scientific understanding of natural hazards so we can mitigate risk. The results have led to new building techniques and better building codes, identifying at-risk land, and detailed information for planners and emergency managers about the likely effects of natural hazards in their region,” she says.

“When homeowners are paying their EQC levy, as well as getting natural disaster insurance, they are making a contribution to research that helps us understand the likelihood and impact of natural hazards, and what steps can be taken to reduce the impact on New Zealanders.”

Dr Horrocks says that along with funding the Biennial Grants, EQC also contributes $13 million to the GeoNet natural hazard monitoring system, funds research at universities and supports regional organisations like Determining Volcanic Risk in Auckland and It’s Our Fault in Wellington that bring together natural hazard research with local government decision-makers and emergency managers.

More detail on projects funded at eqc.govt.nz/grants2020

Media contact: Coen Lammers 021-730239 or email media@eqc.co.nz

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