About us

Welcome to WEFWEBs

As the Principal Investigator for WEFWEBs I would like to welcome you to our website. We are continuing to add more information as the project progresses.

Professor Marian Scott, OBE, Professor of Environmental Statistics, University of Glasgow.

Securing a sustainable supply of water, energy and food for all is a key global issue. An increasing demand for land/food/energy/water, urbanisation and the need to limit exploitation of these resources in a move towards a more sustainable economy will increase the strain on local, national and international resources. Our water, energy, food and waste systems are interconnected, and impacted by climate and demographic change. The nexus seeks to define the interdependencies between the different systems and improve our understanding and hence ability to effectively predict and manage them.

WEFWEBs addresses the challenges of understanding and hence identifying the dynamic, interlinked inter-dependencies across the nexus networks which are physical (water, waste, energy and food), social and political (individual, regulatory and policy), ecological and digital at multiple, nested scales (local, regional and national) and temporally.

Case studies

The project will use case studies based in Oxford, the Tamar Estuary, Devon and in London to explore the interdependencies in practice.  

The researchers will work together with food producers, retailers, utility companies, environmental agencies, local authorities and the public to develop new data and new understandings.

Marian Scott, Professor of Environmental Statistics at the University of Glasgow, will lead the project in partnership with researchers from the Universities of Cambridge, Exeter, Newcastle, Oxford and Reading, University College London and Imperial College London.

Professor Scott said, “The WEFWEBs project will examine the data and evidence for the water, energy and food systems and their interactions and dependencies within the local, regional and national environment. We need to maintain a balance between the sometimes opposing directions that our primary systems are moving in to ensure that we safeguard our ecosystems, while still being able to live sustainably, in a world where demands are increasing.

“To study these systems and their dependencies and interactions, we need to bring together a multitude of different disciplines from the physical, environmental computational and mathematical sciences, with economics, social science, psychology and policy.

“The impact of the work will be to improve the sustainability of our society and provide an improved understanding of the consequences of the choices we make as citizens or as a society.”

Summary documents

A 2-page summary document from each of the workshops held so far can be found below:

Oxford

Tamar Estuary

Devon at Ridgeview Winery


Funding

The project is one of three funded by £4.5m from EPSRC’s Living with Environmental Change sandpit to support multidisciplinary groups of scientists, with additional support from STFC’s Scientific Computing Department. The other projects are led by the University of Manchester and the University of Southampton.

Professor Philip Nelson, Chief Executive of EPSRC said, “This is one of the most important challenges facing the human race, and one of the most complex. The uniqueness of these projects comes from studying all three problems together, something that hasn’t been done before.

"These projects are a great opportunity for scientists with expertise in different disciplines to come together to find solutions".