The potential of groundwater in Malaysia's resilient urban future

Linking Malaysian and UK early career researchers

9-12 July 2018     Putrajaya, Malaysia

About us
We are proud to bring together an interdisciplinary team of inspiring academics to support aspiring early career researchers to make international connections for the benefit of their research
The workshop

The programme, ‘British Council Researcher Links’ provides opportunities for early career researchers from the UK and internationally to interact, learn from each other and explore opportunities for building long-lasting research collaborations. As part of this programme, we are now recruiting early career researchers from Malaysia and the UK to participate in this workshop.


The workshop will provide a unique opportunity for sharing research expertise and networking. During the workshops early career researchers will have the opportunity to present their research and discuss this with established researchers from the UK and Malaysia. There will be a focus on building up links for future collaborations.

About the workshop

The United Nations describe that “by 2030 almost 60% of the world’s population will live in urban areas, and 95% of urban expansion in the next decades will take place in developing world”. The provision of water to urban centres, and the protection of the resources that are transported to cities, are central to its Sustainable Development Goals. The workshop will address challenges to water resources and their protection within urban environments, and specifically the question of the potential of the use of groundwater to increase the security and resilience of the water resources of Malaysian cities.


It aims to do this by building sustained collaborations between early career researchers based in Malaysia and the UK, and to develop their capability to undertake research on sustainable urban water management in the two countries and globally. We will do this by focussing on four key questions:

  1. How do you quantify groundwater resources and threats to them from climate change and urbanisation?

  2. How to you map and model multiple dependencies and interactions between rural and urban environments, and natural and human systems, to simulate impacts of future change?

  3. How does management and policy affect urban water resilience, and how should it adapt to enhance water security?

  4. How can scenario analysis be used to assess urban water management adaptation pathways and risks?

The workshop will generate the following five main outcomes:


  1. New knowledge regarding: the similar and differing urban water management challenges in Malaysia and the UK (and to an extent globally); approaches to tackling these; and the research gaps and stakeholder needs to be addressed to improve the resilience and sustainability of future cities.

  2. A new network of collaborators facilitated and sustained through (2).

  3. An online platform enabling the sharing of information, knowledge and news between researchers and stakeholders.

  4. A roadmap summarising the conclusions from the workshop, setting out a formalised pathway to address these through collaboration, and a list of proposal/research project ideas.

  5. Improved capability of the early career participants.


Via the Newton Fund, the workshop will cover the travel and accommodation expenses of 30 early career researchers (see eligibility criteria below): 15 from Malaysia and 15 from the UK.


We recognise the importance of researchers understanding the relevance of research to policy-makers, regulators, and industry, and vice-versa, and will therefore accept a further 6 early career professionals working within the water management sphere. However, their travel and accommodation costs will have to be met by their organisation.


The deadline for applications is 13 April 2018. Successful applicants will be notified by 4 May 2018.


Travel grants


We will cover the following costs related to participation in the workshop:

  • International (economy return) airfares for travel between the UK and Malaysia by UK participants - UK citizens do not need advanced visas (with some conditions).

  • Travel to Putrajaya by Malaysian participants, if not based there.

  • Local travel costs within Putrajaya to attend the workshop.

  • Adequate travel and medical insurance for the period covering travel to, attendance at, and return from the workshop. The British Council accepts no responsibility for any problems which occur when participants are in-country.

  • Accommodation during the workshop (4 nights, 8-12th), and meals during the hours of the workshop and at the workshop dinner on one evening.




  • Applications must be submitted before the deadline above.

  • Participants must be either:

    • Early Career Researchers (ECRs), defined as holding a PhD (or having equivalent research experience – candidates in the late stages of their PhDs will also be considered) and having up to 10 years’ post-PhD research experience. ECRs are equivalent to the ‘Recognised Researcher’ and sometimes ‘Experienced Researcher’ categories in the EU framework for researchers’ careers. These participants must have a research or academic position (a permanent post, research contract, or fellowship etc) at a recognised research institution either in Malaysia or the UK.

    • Early-career professionals (ECPs), defined as having up to 10 years’ experience after their last degree qualification, and a permanent post in Malaysia or the UK within a water management-related organisation.

  • Participant's research area can be in any subject related to the broad theme of the workshop, in particular, but not exclusively:

    • Groundwater and hydrological science

    • Water resources engineering

    • Urban water management

    • Environmental policy and planning

    • Climate impact science

    • Numerical modelling

    • Hydroinformatics

    • Science policy interface

  • Participants are expected to attend and actively engage in all sessions of the workshop.


Criteria for selection of participants


  • Relevance of the applicant's research to the workshop.

  • Motivation and contribution to the aims of the workshop.

  • Description of the long-term impact expected through participation in the workshop.

  • Ability to disseminate workshop’s outcomes.


Selection procedure


The selection will be competitive within each career stage. Participants will be selected in accordance with academic merit, eligibility and the selection criteria set out above. We will ensure participant expertise is complementary and represents the range and depth required to address the workshop objectives. The selection procedure will adhere to the British Council’s policy on equal opportunities and diversity. Extra support to enable the participation of those with special needs will be given.

Heriot-Watt University
No 1 Jalan Venna P5/2,
Precinct 5,
62200 Putrajaya, Malaysia