Earlier this year, the RSE, with the support of the Scottish Funding Council, invited applications for the RSE COP26 International Climate Change Network Grants. Intended to strengthen existing international collaboration addressing ongoing climate change impacts, the applicants showed how their work would contribute to international learning. Projects selected reflected the COP26 themes of adaptation and resilience, nature, energy transitions, clean transport and finance. Assessment criteria also included a focus on Global South perspectives and collaborations and sharing climate change outputs and networks between the Global South and Global North.

Serghei Covalciuc et al. posing for a photo
Top row left to right: Alastair Ager FRSE; Emma Bush; Peter Cameron FRSE; Dominic Hinde; and Mark Huxham FRSE.
Bottom row left to right: Liang Li; Sennan Mattar; Inge Panneels; Shona Russell; and Liu Yang.

The full list of RSE COP26 International Climate Change Network Grant awardees are as follows:

Professor Alastair Ager FRSE, Institute for Global Health and Development, Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh

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The Research Unit on Health in Situations of Fragility is a network of institutions focused on understanding how various forms of fragility impact health and wellbeing. Drawing on systems science, partners in Lebanon, Mozambique, Georgia and Costa Rica are collaborating in mapping the interrelationships between the factors shaping climate and health in each setting with the aim of identifying key entry points and pathways to develop targeted adaptation and resilience measures.

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Dr Emma Bush, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

The African Phenology Network brings together ecologists and meteorologists in a long-term study of seasonal and interannual patterns in essential biological cycles, such as flowering or fruit-bearing. The timing and frequency (phenology) of recurring biological events are closely linked to seasonal climate patterns and are highly sensitive to climatic changes. This research aims to understand the climatic drivers of plant productivity and reproduction across forested Africa and provide an open evidence base to decision-makers looking to predict and mitigate the effects of climate change in the region.

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Professor Peter Cameron FRSE, Centre for Energy, Petroleum and Mineral Law and Policy, University of Dundee

The Extractives Hub provides impartial, balanced analysis to policymakers in Global South Partner Countries to utilise their natural resource sector to the benefit of citizens, including greater energy access. As finding relevant, up-to-date and trustworthy information on the extractives sector can be difficult and time-consuming, the Extractives Hub simplifies the search process by aggregating the latest analysis, reports and data on a single platform. This helps develop targeted tools for climate protection, especially for adaptation in vulnerable countries, and supports long-term capacity building in developing countries.

Dr Dominic Hinde, Sociology, University of Glasgow

The interdisciplinary Carson network exists to foster worldwide cooperation in the fields of environmental humanities and social sciences and to bring that knowledge to wider audiences. It comprises over 200 academics and environmental practitioners who have been recipients of Carson grants. Scotland boasts several Carson network members, as do target countries in the Global South including India, Pakistan, Nigeria and Chile. This network will bring an exhibition showcase to COP26 in Glasgow later this year, highlighting world-leading research on environmental humanities delivered by the Carson Centre.

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Professor Mark Huxham FRSE, School of Applied Sciences, Edinburgh Napier University

The Association for Coastal Ecosystem Services, Edinburgh Napier University and Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute form a collaboration called Mikoko Pamoja – the world’s first blue carbon (carbon buried in vegetated marine ecosystems) project to be funded by the sale of carbon credits. This project protects and restores vital mangrove and seagrass ecosystems on Kenya’s southern coast and the planned research will deepen scientific understanding of blue carbon at the site.

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Dr Liang Li, Naval Architecture, Ocean and Marine Engineering, University of Strathclyde

The project aims to reduce global carbon emission by proposing a hybrid offshore renewable energy system that produces sustainable and clean energy from offshore wind and ocean waves. The hybrid energy device is expected to supply clean energy to small islands in the East China Sea and fish farms around Scotland. This project includes a partner in China who will test and further investigate the performance of the device after the preliminary design plan is produced in Scotland.

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Dr Sennan Mattar, Centre for Climate Justice, Glasgow Caledonian University

In August 2020, the Centre for Climate Justice at Glasgow Caledonian University and the Pan-African Climate Justice Alliance undertook a research collaboration to understand the development of Nationally Determined Contributions across many African nations in the run-up to COP26 and investigate the implications of the Covid-19 pandemic for national climate action. The research aim of this collaboration is to create a compelling case to climate negotiators and policymakers for adopting climate justice as a framework for climate action based on this research.

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Dr Inge Panneels, School of Computing, Edinburgh Napier University

The R2COP26 network is a collaboration between Edinburgh Napier University, Kathmandu University and the British Council Nepal. The partners seek to support and understand the needs of Nepali communities who are developing and adapting nature-based solutions that build resilience to climate change. An incubator event in April with around 50 participants encouraged ideas for new or improved products, services or processes rooted in nature-based materials and traditional knowledge and some of these are now being worked up into economically viable projects.

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Dr Shona Russell, School of Management, University of St Andrews

The Centre for Social and Environmental Accounting Research (CSEAR) is an international, member-based research network that aims to generate and disseminate social and environmental accounting knowledge to envisage and enable a more sustainable society. CSEAR’s activities include conferences and workshops, emerging scholars’ colloquia, practitioner forums, newsletters and a quarterly publication of the Social and Environmental Accountability Journal. Prominent current corporate sustainability reporting initiatives, such as the International Integrated Reporting Council’s multiple capitals framework and the Global Reporting Initiative, can trace their lineage to the work of the CSEAR network.

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Dr Liu Yang, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, University of Strathclyde

Packaging accounts for more than 40% of the total plastic usage in the world. Consequently, the packaging sector urgently needs alternative solutions to cut down plastic content. The aim of this project is to develop new biodegradable material for replacing fossil fuel-based plastics currently used in food packaging. The project is collaborating with Caoca, UNAL, and Colombia Universities, as well as Cartama UK Ltd and Riduco in Colombia, to together deliver a new biodegradable crate for shipping UK-imported avocados from Colombia.