Spring 2023 saw the launch of second Commonwealth Futures Climate Research Cohort. The 2023/24 programme is funded by the British Council's Going Global Partnerships and delivered in partnership with Durham University, Queen Mary University of London, SOAS University of London, the University of York, the University of Warwick, PlanAdapt and the University of Cape Town Researcher Development Academy (UCT-RDA).
In collaboration with the partners above, a one-year applied training and development programme has been designed for early career researchers (Climate Cohort Fellows) , with a focus on research co-creation and climate action research. The programme will consist of the following key features:
20 Climate Cohort Fellows were selected to take part in the 2023/24 programme. They were drawn from ten countries (Bangladesh, Egypt, Ghana, India, Kenya, Malaysia, Nigeria, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka) and 18 research institutions.
Each Fellow is attached to a specific theme and will collaborate with their theme team members to conduct the activities of the training and development programme.
A series of virtual workshops and asynchronous activities will focus on building skills and expertise in how to effectively co-create a research project with policy and practice stakeholders.
Through group-based project work, engaging potential users of research findings in the co-creation of research questions, the Fellows will forge partnerships of diverse disciplinary and country contexts and apply their learning in real-world settings. This will be supported by five UK based academic theme leads and climate knowledge brokers.
The formative stages of the training programme will be supported by UCT RDA, who will deliver a series of virtual workshops to upskill the Climate Cohort Fellows in stakeholder engagement and the co-creation and leading of impactful research.
The 2023/24 programme will focus on five research themes, with fellows supported by academic leads from Durham University, Queen Mary University of London, SOAS University of London, the University of York and the University of Warwick.
The five key themes are:
The climate knowledge brokers will be sourced via PlanAdapt, an independent knowledge services provider that utilises a global network to support effective, economically just and socially inclusive climate change adaptation and risk management around the world. PlanAdapt will be on hand to facilitate productive engagement with policy and practice stakeholders during scoping, co-creation, and delivery of the research-to-action project.
A number of senior academic experts in climate research will act as mentors to our Climate Cohort Fellows.This will provide added support to the pivot from research to action.
The broader objectives of the Climate Cohort programme are to amplify the voices of early career researchers and to assist their growth into future research leaders. These future research leaders will be key allies for governments, with science continuing to make critical contributions to national, regional, and international decision making on climate change mitigation and adaptation. There continues to be gaps between academia and the wider policy environment - and between local expertise and global dialogues. The Climate Cohort programme aims to enhance academic engagement with climate policy and practice stakeholders, building international connections, and ensuring that university research continues to provide the rigorous evidence required to drive climate change innovation and solutions.
The Commonwealth Futures Climate Research Cohort is part of the British Council's Going Global Partnerships, which aims to builds stronger, more inclusive, internationally connected higher education and Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) systems.