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EarthLab Innovation Grant project selected as a finalist for a “Science Breakthrough of the Year” award at Falling Walls 2020

We are pleased to share that one of our inaugural Innovation Grant projects was selected as a finalist for a “Science Breakthrough of the Year” award by the Falling Walls Conference, an annual world forum for leaders across sectors and disciplines to come together to discuss pressing global challenges and answer the question, “Which are the next walls to fall in science and society?”

From Risk to Resilience: Connecting Communities to Coastal Hazards Through Interactive and Immersive Design” received an EarthLab Innovation Grant in 2019 to create more engaging, immersive and interactive tools to help tell the stories of the science, risks and realities of regional sea level rise. This project aims to capture the stories of hope and action of on-the-ground dialogue happening in states, counties, and cities that are actively working to adapt to rising seas.

The EarthLab Innovation Grants program invest in teams of University of Washington researchers, students and non-academic partners developing innovative solutions to pressing environmental challenges. The Risk to Resilience project has the spirit of “falling walls” in its DNA, from the makeup of its diverse team of experts to its goals of creating visualization tools that can help decision-makers from the smallest towns to the largest countries visualize and compare sea level rise projections through the year 2150. This tools is already being used by the WA Department of Ecology, Seattle Public Utilities, and King County.

All Falling Walls finalist projects will be reviewed by a distinguished jury and a top 10 list of finalists will be presented at the digital Winner’s Session on 8 November. Out of these 10, one Science Engagement Breakthrough of the Year 2020 will be selected by the jury and announced amongst the breakthroughs of other categories at a top-class award ceremony in front of an audience of global leaders on 9 November, the anniversary of the falling of the Berlin Wall.

Congratulations to the projects principal investigators Heidi Roop and Peter Neff, graduate student Paige Lavin, and their teammates from the Seattle Public Library, Seattle Public Utilities, Climate Impacts Group and Tableau!