Meet Joan Pauline Talubo, Newton Fund grant awardee.
Research topic: Assessing the spatial resilience of an island community in the Philippines through companion modelling for disaster risk and recovery planning
Host institution / UK university: University of Surrey
Home institution: University of the Philippines Los Baños
Degree programme: PhD Civil and Environmental Engineering
March 2021

What is the relevance of your study to the economic development, welfare and poverty issues in the Philippines?

The Philippines is known as one of the world’s most disaster-prone countries, losing more than 300 billion pesos (~5 billion GBP) from natural disasters every year. Beyond the economic loss and other direct costs, there are clear long-term damages due to the loss of lives, disruption of economic activities, impairment to the natural and built environment, and significantly negative impacts to agriculture-based economies and low-income populations. 

My PhD research will develop new knowledge for disaster risk management and recovery planning for the protection of human lives, infrastructure and the environment. This research will provide a scientific basis and systematic study to support training/education, data for further research, awareness creation and policy influences in the country. It will also develop tools with the local government and the community to look at adaptation scenarios and help the community decide the best approach for them to strengthen resilience. It is expected that this research will contribute to higher resilience of vulnerable island communities in the Philippines against natural disasters. The findings of the study could be translated to policy recommendations to aid in decision-making in Batanes.

How can your UK education contribute to your future career as a researcher?

My PhD experience in the UK has broadened my horizons and allowed me to find links, networks and opportunities that could significantly contribute to my future career, not just as a researcher, but as an educator as well. 

Being mentored by supportive and experienced supervisors, the PhD will certainly add great depth to my professional and personal growth. 

The outcomes of my PhD research could provide a basis for seeking further collaborations and funding for future researches. 

After my PhD, I plan to stay in touch with the University of Surrey and explore areas of collaboration for research and other exchange partnerships. The UK education will enable me to act as a link that could explore these collaborative avenues and funding for further research and knowledge application between the UK and the Philippines. 

As of this writing, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is underway between my home and host institutions and this would impact not just my career but the future of my home institution as well.

How has the commitment of the UK in science and technology influence your decision in choosing the Newton Fund?

The UK has been a beacon of knowledge most especially in science and technology, and this played a major part in my decision to pursue my PhD in this country. This is exemplified in their commitment to fund researches in science and technology that help developing countries such as the Philippines. The framework of Newton Fund is very apt for my career path and future goals.

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