David Higgitt was Professor and Head of Geographical Sciences at the University of Nottingham Ningbo China, having previously been Professor at the National University of Singapore. He holds a BA (Hons) degree from the University of Oxford and a PhD from the University of Exeter. He held lectureship positions at Lancaster and Durham before moving to Asia in 2004. He has worked on many research projects in China and Southeast Asia concerned with flooding and sediment-related hazards. David is currently President of the Asia Oceania Geosciences Society. He has received talent awards from both Ningbo Municipality and Zhejiang Province.
The One Belt One Road initiative seeks to generate shared economic prosperity, promote social progress and bolster overall security. Both the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road interact with fragile ecosystems exacerbated by climate change and anthropogenic pollution. Many of the locations of development are subject to a range of natural hazards. There are considerable challenges in assessing the potential environmental impacts of Chinese projects in developing economies, including additional energy and resource requirements for infrastructure projects and the institutional capabilities to implement environmental management. For that reason the need for strengthening cooperation in environmental protection and mitigation of climate change has been emphasized in strategic planning for the initiative. In order to deliver sustainable development, innovation in low-carbon technologies, clean energy and modeling environmental impact will be important. So too will be the development of cooperative platforms for technology transfer and data sharing. Lancaster University has established a new Sino-British joint institute with Beijing Jiaotong University, located in Weihai, Shandong Province. This venture adds to an international network of partnerships through which entrepreneurship education, research and business collaboration can be expanded. It builds on existing networks of the Lancaster Environment Centre which has an established research presence in China and strong track record in eco-innovation.