As a result of climate change, growing population and development, mountainous regions are facing increasing frequency of landslides resulting in destructive impacts on infrastructure, human and natural resources. Thus, reliable methods for predicting landslides and their runout distances are required. Landslides are often modelled as granular slides. Currently, the runout distance of such granular slides cannot be reliably predicted from laboratory-based studies due to so-called scale effects (i.e. differences in slide characteristics when the size/scale is reduced in the laboratory compared to the event in nature). This results in a dangerous underprediction of the runout distance or requires expensive large-scale or numerical investigations. A talented female researcher is addressing this challenge in this ENSURE project in collaboration with an internationally recognised pioneer researcher in this research topic. The primary goal of ENSURE is to provide a full physical understanding and quantification of scale effects in granular slides through economically efficient laboratory experiments and numerical simulations. A secondary goal is to develop a reliable upscaling method accounting for scale effects in granular slides that links laboratory-scale properties with field-scale events to ensure the predictive capability of laboratory experiments. ENSURE is an integrated implementation platform of an “innovation-justification-application from lab-to-field” approach to elucidate the critical phenomenon of granular slides by fully understanding the physical reasons for scale effects for the first time, which is essential for landslide hazard assessment. Further, the researcher will undergo a training-through-research program, a special career development agenda is designed to achieve core scientific skills and advancements, complementary skills as well as transferable skills. The outcome will ultimately contribute to the future mountainous urbanisation planning.
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