UKRI is awarding £3.5m in three major awards for the SPF UK Climate Resilience Programme.
The projects, which started on 1 May 2020, were funded for two topics: “Enhancing climate change risk assessment capability” (Topic A) and “Governing Adaptation” (Topic B).
A grant of £2 m was awarded under Topic A, for the Open CLimate IMpacts modelling framework (OpenCLIM) project led by Professor Robert Nicholls of the Tyndall Centre at the University of East Anglia (28 months).
Two awards of £750K were made under Topic B: Governing the Climate Adaptation of Care Settings (ClimaCare) project, led by Professor Mike Davies of University College London (28 months); and Mobilising Adaptation: Governance of Infrastructure Through Co-Production (MAGIC) project led by Dr Liz Sharp at the University of Sheffield (24 months).
The OpenCLIM project is designed to support UK assessment of climate risks and adaptation needs by developing and applying a first UK integrated assessment for climate impacts and adaptation. The project aims to develop an open, innovative and flexible platform to provide an improved capacity for the next Climate Change Risk Assessment and National Adaptation Plan.
The platform will consider UK-wide climate impacts and adaptation in biodiversity, agriculture, infrastructure and urban areas, considering the impacts of flooding, heat stress and changing temperature and precipitation. It will also consider two detailed case studies in Glasgow and the Clyde, and a more rural analysis of the Norfolk Broads. These will serve as a demonstration exercise to inform the national analysis.
OpenCLIM will also design an open-access platform to allow further development of the integrated model beyond the funding period, with the aspiration to develop a community model where new and improved versions could be easily incorporated and innovative science and new policy questions investigated.
Project partners include co-investigators at UEA, University of Bristol, Newcastle University, the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology and STFC Laboratories.
Principal investigator Professor Robert Nicholls, Director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research and the University of East Anglia, said:
“The UK is an international leader in climate research and I am delighted to be working closely with stakeholders and Tyndall’s University partners to further develop new research needed to inform the next UK climate change risk assessment. Our work will draw a detailed picture for national and regional decision makers about the impacts of climate change for further embedding resilience into UK policies and research.”
The main aim of Governing the Climate Adaptation of Care Settings (ClimaCare) is to quantify climate related heat risks in care settings nationwide and enhance understanding of human behaviour, organisational capacity and governance to enable the UK’s care provision to develop adaptation pathways to rising heat stress under climate change.
Building on the foundations of a 12-month pilot project, this novel interdisciplinary project will collect, for the first time in the UK, longitudinal temperature and humidity data in a panel of 50 care settings in order to quantify the recurring risk of summertime overheating. The project will also identify and assess social, institutional and cultural barriers and opportunities underpinning the governance of adaptation to a warmer climate in care and extra-care homes.
For the first time in the UK, ClimaCare will also create a building stock model of the UK’s care provision that is able to predict future overheating risks in care settings under a range of future climate change and operation scenarios.
The team will work closely with a body of project partners from both the pilot and the new project: the Care Quality Commission, the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government, the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers, the Greater London Authority, Aston House, PRP and the Met Office. Project partners include co-investigators from UCL, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Oxford Brookes University and Public Health England.
Prof Mike Davies, the project principal investigator, said:
“We are very grateful to UKRI for supporting what we believe to be vital and timely work on care settings. It is imperative now to build the evidence base necessary to inform regulations and policies to provide better provision for vulnerable residents and their carers and reduce preventable deaths and morbidity.”
Mobilising Adaptation: Governance of Infrastructure Through Co-Production (MAGIC) will demonstrate and evaluate a community led approach to reducing flood risk, whilst providing opportunities for urban residents to improve their health and wellbeing, through better engagement with blue/green space. The project will do this via a case study of the flood-vulnerable region around Hull. It builds on a 12-month case study from the same funding source.
MAGIC aims to examine whether flood avoidance/resilience can be enhanced through greater activation and empowerment of local communities. This will be achieved through a case study in flood-prone Hull and MAGIC will initiate Hull’s ‘third reservoir’, consisting of the accumulated storage from domestic raintanks, raingardens and swales, which will be added to the existing systems of water supply (first reservoir) and flood storage lagoons (second).
The project will also address flood resilience. Building on close relations established in a previous project, MAGIC aims to facilitate change in two contrasting neighbourhoods: Bilton village in the East Riding and Derringham in Hull.
Project partners include co-investigators from the University of Sheffield, the University of Hull and Queen Mary University. Other partners include The Living with Water Partnership and Timebank, Hull and East Riding.
Principal investigator Dr Liz Sharp said:
“We are incredibly excited to be able to further develop our work examining whether and how risk management authorities can collaborate with communities to reduce flood risk while also enhancing neighbourhood amenity. In the context of both last winter’s floods and our contemporary lockdown, flood management, local collaboration and neighbourhood greening have never been more important.”
Enhancing capacity and knowledge
Professor Suraje Dessai and Dr Kate Lonsdale at the University of Leeds are Champions for the SPF UK Climate Resilience Programme.
Referring to Topic A, Suraje Dessai said:
“The research will significantly enhance the country’s capacity to undertake climate change risk assessments. This capability is critical to inform the UK Government’s cyclical Climate Change Risk Assessment and National Adaptation Programme. By developing an open, integrated and flexible platform, OpenCLIM will incorporate several climate impact models (on water and agriculture for example) and different future scenarios (of climate and socio-economic change) to assess climate risks and adaptation responses.”
Speaking about Topic B, Kate Lonsdale said:
“This research will help to fill a critical knowledge gap in understanding how to respond to changing climate risks at the individual, community and national scale simultaneously. Both projects – ClimaCare and MAGIC – are working with multiple stakeholders to co-design adaptation strategies that will enhance our ability to adapt over time and learn as we go. We hope to learn lessons from both projects about how to govern adaptively, how to build capacity at an organisational level, and how this influences action and how progress can be monitored over time to support further learning.”