Are we already halfway…...??

The Collaborative Indo-German Project on Estimating and Predicting Natural Hazards in the Himalayan Region (Co-PREPARE) started in July 2020 and progressed successfully. Co-PREPARE's three work packages (WPs) aim to strengthen internationalization, foster collaborative research, and generate actionable knowledge. It has expanded its research wings in the atmospheric, hydrologic, cryosphere, geologic and topographic components.

Co-PREPARE is getting ready to celebrate its 2nd anniversary. The Co-PREPARE team is prompted to reflect on a list of divergent questions ranging from our deliverables, commitments, achievements, and challenges to answer 'Are we already halfway?’

With immense pleasure, we report that the Co-PREPARE team signed an MoU with the University of Potsdam (UP) and GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences. Both the PIs of IIT Roorkee and UP exchanged their visits. The kick-off meeting promised to advance the research excellence at both institutes. The Co-PREPARE team has developed excellent initiatives for the PhD and master's students to carry out their thesis work in Germany and India. Under the master exchange program, 4 students visited the University of Potsdam, Germany in 2021-22 and 4 students are preparing to visit in 2022-23. Two German students have also completed their thesis in IITR in 2021-22 and two more are planning to visit during 2022-23. For Ph. D. Program, Co-PREPARE offers Associate Ph. D. (CAP) and Young Brigade (CYB) opportunities which are availed by research scholars. Very soon, a new call for CAP will be announced for upcoming researchers. During the last 24 months, Co-PREPARE gained attention from researchers worldwide and prospered despite the difficulties that arose during the CoVID pandemic.

In the last year - 2021- Co-PREPARE dedicated its efforts to introducing the concept of compound extremes to young minds and generating actionable knowledge during two international events (1) Natural Hazards Symposium for the Indian Himalayas (NSIH 2021) and (2) 2nd Roorkee Water Conclave 2022 (RWC2022). Several hands-on sessions were conducted to introduce and analyse compound events with the aim to build the capacity of early career researchers and students. Further, the UDAN lecture series was initiated to share the knowledge and experiences of eminent researchers on the global platform; so far, 17 lectures on various areas of natural disasters have been presented and many more are planned to come.

Co-PREPARE also promotes national/international conferences/workshops/ Summer School/Winter school and several other events. One of the main achievements of Co-PREPARE was the village level disaster awareness program organized in Uttarakhand state. The program aimed to spread awareness of the Himalayan disasters in the problematic areas of the seven districts and analyse the disaster management cycle. Also, workshops have been conducted, which align with the Co-PREPARE theme and research discussions raised various exciting research questions. The Co-PREPARE theme has appeared as a special issue in EGU and NHESS journals. So far, nearly 40 publications and 6 conference papers in highly reputed journals have addressed various fundamental scientific issues of Co-PREPARE.

Indeed, the duration is nearing halftime, but our journey has just started. The increasingly interconnected and complex challenges that the Himalayas face today call for the deployment of further resources, woman/manpower, and stronger collaboration. We need to act more urgently and actively! Certainly, Co-PREPARE will have branches and sub-branches in the next two years with the identification of new issues and challenges in the Himalayas. Undoubtedly, it is just the beginning of purging the research barriers in the largest pristine region, the Himalayas!

'The Co-PREPARE' – a project towards the mission!