Maximising UK Adaptation to Climate Change Research Projects

Closing Date: 30/05/2024

Funding for innovative and transdisciplinary research to build the UK’s preparedness and resilience to climate change.

The Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) has launched this Maximising UK Adaptation to Climate Change Research Projects opportunity with funding from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), Medical Research Council (MRC), UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). The Met Office is a programme partner.

Funding is available for transdisciplinary, strategic and innovative climate change research projects that focus on overcoming behavioural, financial and communication barriers to delivering real-world solutions for policy and wider society. The call is part of the UKRI-Defra co-funded Maximising UK Adaptation to Climate Change programme and is the second phase of the programme. The phase one call (now passed) offered funding to coordinate a climate change adaptation hub. This call’s funded projects will work directly with the climate change adaptation hub to ensure knowledge exchange between research and policy. UKRI will facilitate introductions between the hub and the successful research projects following award announcements, to enable discussion and plans to be developed around how best to work together to enable knowledge mobilisation.

The UK is experiencing more frequent and more extreme impacts of climate change in the UK across its cities, communities, infrastructure, economy and ecosystems. These impacts are predicted to increase over the coming decades, even if very large reductions in global emissions are achieved. Recent events have highlighted the UK’s vulnerability and limited capability, at present, to address these impacts. Building the UK’s preparedness and resilience to climate impacts is essential to protect communities and the economy to avoid the direct and indirect costs of climate change. Failure to respond threatens delivery of key government objectives such as net zero, economic growth and public health.

To date, research has focused on climate hazard, but must go further in terms of exposure, vulnerability and adaptive action in policy and practice. Building on the knowledge and legacy of the UK Climate Resilience Programme and other investments in this space, this programme will support research that is policy relevant and co-designed with key stakeholders. Research will help to identify priorities and support the development of policy and practice for adaptation, considering how and when to scale up from the local to national level. It will ultimately produce adaptation solutions for policy consideration that will improve UK resilience to climate impacts while benefitting people and the economy.

Applications are invited for high-impact transdisciplinary research to collaborate and facilitate two-way transfer of knowledge between research, policy and other end users to drive transformation of the UK to adapt to climate change, focusing on four themes:

  • Theme one: Societies’ exposure and vulnerability to extreme climate hazards.
  • Theme two: Adaptation solutions.
  • Theme three: Future resilience and decision making.
  • Theme four: Enablers of adaptation.

Research projects must integrate all relevant disciplines, and closely involve policymakers and other stakeholders in co-design and co-delivery through a systems approach. Applications should seek to address world-class research that can support responses to key policy questions in these thematic areas through cutting edge research focusing on a combination of new knowledge, innovations and socioeconomic change.

Projects must adopt a systems approach and include the following in whichever research theme is chosen: timelines/deadlines for when action is needed or should be taken; place-focused approaches; health and social inequalities; and behavioural responses.

Where appropriate, projects should take into consideration the lived experiences of climate change to strengthen adaptative action, and consider how to employ technology such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to assess vulnerability and exposure of landscapes, assets and people rapidly and robustly.

Funding body Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)
Maximum value £2,000,000
Reference ID S26200
Category Medical Research
Engineering and Physical Sciences
Natural Environment
Biotechnology and Biology
Economic and Social Research
Science and Technology
Fund or call Fund