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 (KCL). She said:

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.” 

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. There will also be a specifically targeted £750,000 flexible fund to accelerate ‘on the ground’ activities in partnership with local communities.

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The ECI is one of eight universities and five climate partnership organisations, all working side by side over the next three years. Dr Raghav Pant, Senior Research Associate at ECI’s Oxford Programme for Sustainable Infrastructure Systems (OPSIS) is a project co-lead and Dr Yue Li, Postdoc Research Assistant with OPSIS is working with the hub as a Research and Innovation Associate. 

The pair will be working colleagues from Newcastle University and University of East Anglia to combine datasets and models for improved understanding of climate risks and adaptation outcomes at the national scale for the United Kingdom. This will involve integrating ongoing OPSIS research on the DAFNI supported National Infrastructure Resilience Demonstrator (NIRD) with the Open-CLIM. 

Using climate model outputs and scenarios from Open-CLIM the NIRD will be used to quantify systemic climate risks in the UK due to infrastructure network failures. This will enable a systems approach to climate risk assessment and adaptation interventions across multiple National Adaption Planning of sectors.
Dr Pant said:

The MACC Hub provides a great opportunity for the OPSIS team to build on their ongoing research of systemic infrastructure risk and resilience analysis, and work with some of the leading UK research partners and stakeholders to translate this in meaningful evidence-based policy outcomes that inform UK climate adaptation planning.”    

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.

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.”

Read more about the Hub activities in the KCL announcement.