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Cambridge Global Challenges


Proposals are invited for a new collaborative research programme between NERC and the National Council for Science, Technology & Technological Innovation (CONCYTEC), which aims to provide an improved understanding of the rate of glacial retreat in Peru and the impact of this on water security and natural hazards.


Peru is heavily dependent on agriculture, and 50% of energy supply in the country is provided from hydroelectric power, both of which are reliant on glacial runoff water. This supply of water is now at risk due to significant reduction in the surface area of glaciers in the Peruvian Andes (> 20% in the past 30 years). Changes in glacial runoff are also leading to increased risks from glacial outburst floods and glacial avalanches.


To provide an improved understanding of the rate of glacial retreat in Peru and the impact on water security and natural hazards. This objective will be addressed through the delivery of five research challenges:

  • Improved understanding of glacier processes that will control future glacier change and runoff in response to climate change and climate variability in Peru. 
  • Determine how future glacial retreat will impact on the role of tropical glacier runoff providing water resources to the region. 
  • How can water resources best be managed to address changing demands in response to spatio-temporal changes in water quantity and quality? 
  • Determining the potential for metal mobilization from rock due to changing glacier cover and hydro-meteorological forcing and impacts on water quality, pasture and agriculture land. 
  • Understanding risk of mountain hazards, including rock slope failures, glacial outburst floods and glacier avalanches. 


Proposals are invited for collaborative research projects involving UK and Peruvian researchers.

Level of funding

Up to £3m is available from NERC to support eligible UK based researchers, and up to S/ 9m from CONCYTEC to support Peruvian researchers. Projects can be a maximum of 34 months in duration.

Special conditions

The UK component of successful projects must start, as a condition of funding, no later than 4 February 2019. The Peruvian component of successful projects must start no later than March 2019.


For full details and guidance for applicants please see the NERC website.



Cambridge Global Challenges is a Strategic Research Initiative of the University of Cambridge that aims to enhance the contribution of its research towards addressing global challenges and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.

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