Sara Mehryar and Swenja Surminski were awarded the fifth Jose Maria Sarriegi scientific dissemination prize for the article ‘Investigating flood resilience perceptions and supporting collective decision-making through fuzzy cognitive mapping’, published in 2022 in the journal of Science of the Total Environment. The award was created by the Fundación Aon España and the Catastrophe Observatory to recognize the best academic research work on disaster management that was published in the two years prior to the award in a specialized journal. 

The award was presented on November 23 during the VIII Observatory Symposium, which took place at the Spanish Engineering Institute under the Honorary Presidency of His Majesty the King of Spain. The award was presented by Raúl Antón, Director of the Tecnun School of Engineering at the University of Navarra, and Pedro Tomey, President of the Observatory, who expressed that “the Jury, made up of representatives of the Observatory and Tecnun, has highly valued the contribution of this research, which responds to a real need in disaster management in an innovative way”.

This study applies a decision support approach that combines mental modelling and resilience measurement methods to support decision making for flood resilience through a participatory and evidence-based process. This study has been carried out in collaboration with a local authority on the east coast of England and was part of the Zurich Flood Resilience Alliance program, dedicated to improving community resilience to flooding across the world.

This award was created to honour the memory of Jose Maria Sarriegi, professor and deputy director of school of engineers at the University of Navarra and member of the Think Tank of the Catastrophe Observatory, who died in December 2018 as a result of a sports accident.

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