QUB and partners receive €41.3million for new climate research centre
The Climate+ Co-Centre will be the home of research, innovation, and policy development across the interlinked challenges of climate change, biodiversity loss, and water degradation on the islands of Ireland and Britain.
Queen’s University Belfast is partnering with Trinity College Dublin and University of Reading on a new €41.3 million research centre – the Climate+ Co-Centre – which will be the home of research, innovation, and policy development across the interlinked challenges of climate change, biodiversity loss, and water degradation on the islands of Ireland and Britain.
The Climate+ Co-Centre, which will initially be funded over six years by Science Foundation Ireland, Northern Ireland Department of Agriculture, the Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) and UK Research and Innovation, will receive more than 30% co-funding from 29 industry partners. Climate+ will formally commence activities on 1 January 2024.
The funding was officially announced by Simon Harris, Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Michelle Donelan, Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, and Katrina Godfrey, Permanent Secretary at Northern Ireland’s Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, at the British and Irish Intergovernmental Conference at Farmleigh House.
The co-centre will bring together over 60 leading researchers from 14 academic partner institutions in Ireland, Northern Ireland and Great Britain. These researchers will work to deliver the transformative change urgently needed to tackle the climate, biodiversity and water crises impacting the two islands – and the wider world.
Professor Mark Emmerson, Queen’s University Belfast, and Co-Director of Climate+ welcomed news of the funding:
“Given the scale of climatic anomalies that we have seen in 2023, we need urgent action to drive transformative change at scale and pace. Climate+ will provide a mix of integrated solutions drawing on expertise from across the natural, social and physical sciences to help mitigate, and adapt to, the impacts of climate change, biodiversity loss and water quality declines. These are inter-related global challenges and by addressing them together we maximise the co-benefits.”
“We draw on leading experts from across the islands of Ireland and Great Britain to address these inter-related challenges and we welcome the announcement of the funding of the co-centre today.”
Yvonne Buckley, Professor of Zoology at Trinity, and Co-Director of Climate+, added:
“We need transformative changes to all sectors of society and the economy to tackle the climate, biodiversity and water crises. Climate+ includes a team of outstanding researchers across 14 different universities and research institutes and we will combine our diverse research skills and knowledge to develop solutions for these important challenges.
“It is clear from the scientific evidence that business as usual is no longer an option, and we are delighted to be working with forward thinking and progressive industry partners who will collaborate with us on research to provide sustainable solutions for their services and products.”
Professor Ed Hawkins, climate scientist at the University of Reading and Great Britain lead for the Climate+ Co-Centre, said:
“Climate change and biodiversity loss are threats that require coordinated action across national borders. This new multi-country research centre presents a wonderful opportunity for Ireland, Northern Ireland, and Great Britain to pool our scientific expertise to develop innovative solutions to the challenges of climate change, biodiversity decline, and water security that we all face.”
Climate+ research will facilitate fair transitions to Net Zero, reverse biodiversity loss, and restore water quality for a sustainable economy. Climate+ researchers will provide urgently required solutions and pathways for sustainable and just transitions in land use for climate, biodiversity and water, seeking to deliver the solutions needed at individual and systemic levels, as well as providing the evidence-based tools to facilitate positive change.
Climate+ researchers will also work with industry partners to identify and validate the innovations needed to thrive in a climate, nature and water-positive world. Specifically, they will collaborate with industry partners in:
- Sustainable agrifood transitions;
- Sustainable communities and livelihoods;
- Assessing risks and opportunities;
- Investing in carbon and nature, in forestry, peatlands, grasslands and coastal habitats.
The Climate+ Co-Centre has emerged from collaborations between multiple academic partners in Ireland and Norther Ireland within the All-Island Climate and Biodiversity Research Network, funded by the National Parks and Wildlife Service, together with other partners in the UK.
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