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Commonwealth Futures Climate Research Cohort

Theme: Global challenges

The Commonwealth Futures Climate Research Cohort unites talented climate and environment researchers, in a bid to drive change in climate mitigation and adaptation, and influence national, regional, and international decision-making.

New programme set to launch in March 2023

Following the success of the 2021 pilot, the ACU and the British Council are launching the second Commonwealth Futures Climate Research Cohort. The project is part of the British Council's Going Global Partnerships programme, which aims to builds stronger, more inclusive, internationally connected higher education and Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) systems.

A one-year applied training and development programme is open to twenty early career researchers (ECRs) from 10 priority countries (Bangladesh, Egypt, Ghana, India, Kenya, Malaysia, Nigeria, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka). Training will focus on the skills needed to design and lead research-to-action projects to support climate change mitigation and/or adaptation strategies. Selected researchers will collaborate within a network of like-minded early career researchers, experienced academics from UK-based universities, and relevant policy and practice stakeholders to apply learning in real-world settings through group-based project work and research co-creation activities.

The 2023-24 Cohort programme will focus on 5 key themes supported by an academic theme lead:

  • Water security in a changing world
  • Climate law at national level
  • Urban adaptation and resilience
  • Adapting to flooding and coastal change
  • Digital governance and marginalised communities

Apply to take part in the next Commonwealth Futures Climate Research Cohort​

Call for early career researchers 

Benefit from a bespoke training and development programme - designed to strengthen your knowledge exchange skills, enhance your engagement with climate policy and practice stakeholders, and build international connections, giving you the foundations to be a future research leader in climate action.

Mandatory Expression of Interest deadline: Now closed 

Full application deadline: Closed 16:00 UTC, Thursday 23 February 2023

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The 2021 Pilot Programme

The ACU and the British Council  partnered to establish the Commonwealth Futures Climate Research Cohort, supporting 26 rising-star researchers to bring local knowledge to a global stage.

The diverse cohort worked on building international connections, and engaging with experts, to influence climate and environment related issues in their communities and beyond.   

The cohort convened researchers that possessed expertise in a range of disciplines and a deep understanding of communities disproportionately impacted by climate change.

Reflecting the diversity of the Commonwealth, cohort members were from 25 ACU member universities, from 16 countries.

During the programme, the 26 researchers attended a series of expert-led workshops, designed and delivered a series of peer-led research-to-action projects, benefitted from mentoring relationships with senior academics and experts in the sector, and identified opportunities to further their engagement with global climate stakeholders.

By supporting the development and retention of research leaders, the ACU-British Council partnership hopes to build a more equitable research landscape, ensuring that university research continues to thrive, inspire action, and play an essential role in delivering impactful climate solutions across the Commonwealth. 

Research-to-Action Projects

The 26 stars of the Climate Research Cohort came together to design and deliver collaborative research-to-action projects, transforming multidisciplinary knowledge into climate action.

Read about previous projects
Fast Paced Urban Environment In West Africa

Stories from the first Climate Research Cohort

Read stories written by the multidisciplinary researchers and mentors of the first Commonwealth Futures Climate Research Cohort.

Each of them made their own distinguished journey in climate research and advocacy and worked to make a difference in different corners of the world. Their stories sit at the intersection between research and action, and touch upon topics ranging from research impact, and political engagement, to personal inspirations, successes and challenges.

Entries are grouped under topical themes, drawing attention to the multidimensional impact of climate change on society, politics, the economy, and the natural world. 

Story Themes

Theme: life on land

Life on land

Every day, environmental researchers studying terrestrial life in all corners of the world help us better understand - and protect - the wonders of our natural world. 

Cohort Hub Themes (20)

Climate justice

By applying a human rights lens to the climate crisis, we can work towards climate solutions which reduce inequalities between men and women, rich and poor, and older and younger generations. 

Theme: Cities

Sustainable human habitats

Sustainable homes are the building blocks of sustainable cities. Achieving green urban development unlocks climate solutions we urgently need - and the journey begins with research and community engagement.

Theme: Oceans

Safeguarding our oceans

The oceans underpin nearly all processes of life on Earth, but the dual threats of climate change and pollution are wreaking havoc on fragile ecosystems. 

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Collaborating for humanity's future

Collaboration has played a vital role in humanity's progression. To secure the planet and humanity's future, we must utilise extensive partnerships, research and knowledge sharing.

Commonwealth Climate Resilience Network

With many Commonwealth countries on the frontline of climate change, the ACU Commonwealth Climate Resilience Network (CCRN) is working to build resilience within universities and their wider communities. 

Find out more
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Explore the theme
Theme: Global challenges