Our BU briefing papers are designed to make our research outputs accessible and easily digestible so that our research findings can quickly be applied – whether to society, culture, public policy, services, the environment or to improve quality of life. They have been created to highlight research findings and their potential impact within their field.
Climate shifts at decadal scales can have environmental consequences, and therefore, identifying areas that act as environmental refugia is valuable in understanding future climate variability.
The Okavango Delta is the largest wetland in southern Africa and renowned for its high floral and faunal biodiversity. Due to the Okavango’s distinctive hydrological properties, this paper aims to show how these properties reduce the amplitude of seasonal and decadal variations in vegetation vigour inside the Delta extent, and consequently, enhance its capacity to buffer climate, on at least decadal timescales.
This paper uses satellite remote imagery to show how a rift basin, given suitable hydrogeology, can provide a buffer against the influence of climate on vegetation growth and thus provide a relatively stable living environment for animals amidst an otherwise arid, desert habitat.
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The Satellite Applications Catapult (an independent innovation and technology company created by Innovate UK) is hosting a two-day ‘sandpit’ event for industry, academia and end-users to develop proof-of-concept climate services projects, as part of a £100k initiative funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC).
The collaborative event will bring together a variety of disciplines and organisations, with the objective of developing climate services demonstrator projects which use climate information and other data to address real-world challenges faced by government and industry. These projects will primarily focus on infrastructure, food and agriculture, water, natural resources, and risk management, with projects evaluated and selected during the course of the two-day event.
Satellite Applications Catapult CEO, Stuart Martin, said: “In recent times, we have witnessed much greater usage of climate change information into business decision-making and government policy and regulation. This is only likely to accelerate in the future – particularly following the Conference of Parties (COP-21) climate negotiations this winter, which will drive requirements for new solutions.
“By engaging in this sandpit activity, we hope to provide an environment in which to join up the currently fragmented value chains from research to application. Subject to their development, we hope the feasibility projects will lead to full-scale projects which may be funded by businesses, government or through mechanisms such as the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 programme,” he added.
Each project will be led by a research organisation (subject to NERC eligibility guidelines) with a team comprising organisations such as satellite data providers, environmental or software companies, together with an end-user. Funding need not be spread evenly across participants but can only be used to fund eligible organisations. All projects must be completed before 31 March 2016.
Prospective participants must submit their expression of interest form by Friday 13 November 2015.
This is a great opportunity to form a network with industry and academics from other universities and could potentially result in a large funding pot.
The orientation paper for Societal Challenge 5: Climate Action, Environment, Resource Efficiency and Raw Materials call has been published!
If you work in this area, reading this document will provide you with the expected main topics of the 2014 work programme so is a key resource at this early stage! The presentations from the info day which recently took place in Brussels are also available for anyone who couldn’t make it.
The EU’s proposed Horizon 2020 Framework Programme for Research and Innovation will run from 2014-2020, replacing FP7. The EC is preparing the proposals for the Programme by holding stakeholder workshops. Two workshops with 50 representatives from the scientific community and government representatives were held on the Resource Efficiency and Climate Action Challenge. Key points that emerged from the discussions are:
- More clarity is needed on how the transition from FP7 to Horizon 2020 will work; it will be important to identify new and emerging needs as the situation will change up to 2020.
- Innovation which promotes societal change should be supported as it should be driven by technology and regulations as well as stakeholders and policy makers. There should be co-operation with non-EU countries to address common concerns.
- Cultural heritage; urban environment; natural hazards; earth observation systems; air quality; and land use and landscape were areas all missing from the proposals but which should be included.
- A balance between covering a comprehensive range of themes and focussing on a reduced number of priorities needs to be implemented. Stakeholder involvement and the indirect/intangible impacts should also be part of the peer review criteria.
Climate Action funding is available for a range of tenders, relating to the geological storage of CO2, security measures used by the financial sector, the optimal development of rural policy, EU strategies for climate change adaptation and policy development and assessment in relation to climate change. Funding is worth up to €230,000 over 36 months for CO2 storage proposals, up to €250,000 over six months for financial sector studies, up to €400,000 over 12 months for rural projects, up to €700,000 over 15 months for climate change adaptation and up to €2.5 million over 12 months for climate policy actions.