The SAFER PREPARED project brings together two GCRF funded projects: SAFER (PI: A Sextos) which focuses on seismic safety of school buildings and the resilience of educational communities in Nepal. And PREPARE (PI: J Macdonald), which focuses on seismic safety of buildings in Malawi.

SAFER PREPARED is a UKRI funded GCRF project 2020-2021 led at University of Bristol in partnership with colleagues in Malawi. 

It is part of a wider Programme on "Innovative data services for aquaculture, seismic resilience and drought adaptation in East Africa" that combines activities for structural health assessment of schools in Malawi (Prof Anastasios Sextos), developing seasonal forecasts of water scarcity in rural Kenyan drylands (Dr Katerina Michaelides) and improving tilapia fish production using DNA-based surveillance information (Prof Martin Genner).

Earth scientists and engineers from Bristol and Malawi collaborate on the SAFER PREPARED project whose primary purpose is to contextualise the schools inspection app developed in the SAFER project for use in inspection of schools in Malawi.

Due to its position on the East African Rift, Malawi is susceptible to earthquakes of M7.0 or greater. Malawi has many unreinforced seismically vulnerable buildings, and thus the consequence of such an event in Malawi would be severe and even moderate-sized earthquakes can cause significant loss. For example, in March 1989 an M6.3 earthquake with a maximum Mercalli intensity of VII (very strong) shook central Malawi, killing nine people and making 50,000 people homeless. Effectively managing this seismic risk is a significant development challenge for Malawi, particularly in the context of rapid urbanisation and population growth. 

The schools inspection app, once tailored to meet the specific circumstances of Malawi, will provide a practical and easy way of gathering data about the seismic safety and resilience of school communities in Malawi. It can support informed prioritisation of schools which require seismic strengthening as a means to reduce vulnerability and mitigate seismic risk.

Global Challenges Research Fund award

We are one of three teams from the University of Bristol awarded a total of £800,383 from the UK Research and Innovation Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF). Read more in this article.


The SAFER PREPARED project gives us the opportunity to build upon existing expertise and international partnerships to translate the mobile app for structural buildings health and community resilience already being used in Nepal to the Malawi context. Through our collaboration with Malawi partners we hope to deliver an innovative and easy to use mobile schools inspection app for the school communities of Malawi.

Anastasios Sextos, Professor of Earthquake Engineering at the University of Bristol and Principal Investigator of the SAFER PREPARED project

Our team

Earthquake and Geotechnical Engineering research group

Studying ways to improve the resilience and adaptability of infrastructure in response to extreme events and changing circumstances.

Engineering for International Development

The faculty is involved in many research projects with sustainable development goals. They focus on natural disasters, resource security, sustainable energy and health in developing countries.

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