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20 May 2024

New £5m collaboration to help UK prepare for climate change

Academics and policymakers, led by King’s College London, will work together to assess how the country can best adapt to extreme weather and other effects of climate change.


A new £5 million hub is being launched to deliver faster and more impactful action in the UK to help all four nations prepare better for the predicted effects of climate change.

The new Maximising UK Adaptation to Climate Change (MACC) hub aims to inform a national climate change adaptation plan by addressing current barriers around public awareness, policy, legislation and climate data that might be hindering the UK’s ability to adapt to global warming.

The hub, funded by the UK Research & Innovation (UKRI) and the Department for Food and Rural Affairs, will be led by Dr Helen Adams of King’s College London.

Climate change will have huge impacts on our planet in the years to come and this hub will help us take the necessary steps to adapt to what lies ahead. By bringing together expertise from Northern Ireland, Wales, Scotland and England, we can work together to ensure that the UK has a clear vision for the future and that we fully consider those who are most vulnerable to the effects of climate change.

Dr Helen Adams, Senior Lecturer, Department of Geography, KCL

Key to the Hub is the idea of ‘transformational adaptation’ – any action taken to protect people’s way of life from climate change should drive positive change, especially for the poorest and most marginalised members of society who are usually also the most vulnerable to climate change impacts.

It will involve eight universities and five climate partnership organisations, all working side by side over the next three years. There will also be a specifically targeted £750,000 flexible fund to accelerate ‘on the ground’ activities in partnership with local communities.

Hub activities will be implemented through regional centres, each leading on one of the key barriers to adaptation, with a Hub Secretariat and Policy Response Unit based at King’s College London and supported by King’s Policy Institute.

  • Dr Shona Paterson at Brunel University London will work with the London Climate Change Partnership and with Sustainability West Midlands. They will lead work on public awareness of climate adaptation and the barriers to engagement, with the aim of developing more effective ways to reach and engage members of the public.
  • Professor Jaime Toney at the University of Glasgow is partnering with Sniffer (knowledge brokers on climate resilience in Scotland) to deliver place-based activities in Scotland and lead on increasing understanding of systems complexity and develop training for transformative adaptation outcomes.
  • Northern Ireland Environment Link (Climate NI Team) which is a cross-sectoral partnership devoted to understanding and enabling adaptation and mitigation action, will work with Professor Mark Emmerson at Queen’s University Belfast on addressing aspects of policy, legislation and regulation that hold back the adaptation vision proposed in the UK’s national adaptation plan.
  • In Wales, Dr Emma McKinley at Cardiff University will work with Future Generations Cymru (the Office of the Future Generations Commissioner for Wales) and the Severn Estuary Partnership, supported by Netherwood Sustainable Futures. They will explore the efficacy of Welsh and Scottish approaches to wellbeing and future generations, to help inform UK wide justice-oriented approaches to adaptation.
  • Climate Outreach (experts in climate communications) will conduct research on what people think, feel and know about climate adaptation, and develop effective messaging strategies to engage the public on concepts of resilience, helping partners to integrate these into their work.
  • A Data Integration Centre, led by Newcastle University will work with the University of East Anglia and the Environmental Change Institute at the University of Oxford to help make climate model results more easily understandable for policymakers.
  • The Oxford Centre of the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) will create the hub for the project. The website will be the key portal to disseminate science-based, policy-relevant information to support effective and sustainable adaptation to climate change in the UK. It will link directly to weADAPT, a global climate change adaptation platform and network, connecting UK-relevant work with research and practice frontiers and organisations working on related issued worldwide.

The hub is funded by UKRI as part of the Maximising UK Adaptation to Climate Change programme. The programme has been co-designed by UKRI, Defra, the Met Office and the UK Government’s Climate Change Committee.

A spokesperson for UKRI said: “This Hub is supported through our Building a Green Future strategic theme, one of five UKRI-wide initiatives aiming to harness the full power of the UK’s research and innovation system to tackle large-scale, complex challenges. Working with others, we aim to accelerate the green economy by supporting research and innovation that delivers on national priorities and unlocks solutions essential to achieving net zero in the UK by 2050.”

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Helen Adams

Senior Lecturer in Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation