New Publication: Large-Scale Transdisciplinary Collaboration for Adaptation Research

Abstract: An increasing number of research programs seek to support adaptation to climate change through the engagement of large-scale transdisciplinary networks that span countries and continents. While transdisciplinary research processes have been a topic of reflection, practice, and refinement for some time, these trends now mean that the global change research community needs to reflect and learn how to pursue collaborative research on a large scale. This paper shares insights from a seven-year climate change adaptation research program that supports collaboration between more than 450 researchers and practitioners across four consortia and 17 countries. The experience confirms the importance of attention to careful design for transdisciplinary collaboration, but also highlights that this alone is not enough. The success of well-designed transdisciplinary research processes is also strongly influenced by relational and systemic features of collaborative relationships. Relational features include interpersonal trust, mutual respect, and leadership styles, while systemic features include legal partnership agreements, power asymmetries between partners, and institutional values and cultures. In the new arena of large-scale collaborative science efforts, enablers of transdisciplinary collaboration include dedicated project coordinators, leaders at multiple levels, and the availability of small amounts of flexible funds to enable nimble responses to opportunities and unexpected collaborations.

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Sustainable Solutions for Global Warming

Ever wonder where you might find a collection of the evidence-based solutions to address global warming, which are also feasible in the policy world? Paul Hawken's edited volume "Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming" (2017) is just that. The book presents 100 of the most sustainable solutions, and in case you want to save the cost and paper (although it is a well-designed book), the solutions are also categorized by theme on its companion website.

The book is a highly resource for specialists and generalists, students and professors, as well as readers with a general interest. The book is divided by thematic area (energy, food, women and girls, buildings and cities, land use, transport, materials, and coming attractions). Each "solution" is presented in a few pages, each with rankings, costs, savings and impacts.

It is worth noting that these are not all big technical solutions – these include micro-grids, management and efficiency advances, reducing food waste, family planning, insulation, to name a few. The 100 solutions are nicely ranked in this table

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New publication: Designing Knowledge Co-production for Climate and Development

Harvey, B., Cochrane, L., Van Epp, M., Cranston, P., and Pirani, P.A. (2017) Designing Knowledge Co-production for Climate and Development. CARIAA Working Paper #21. International Development Research Centre: Ottawa.

  • AbstractClimate change poses significant global challenges. Solutions require new ways of working, thinking and acting. Knowledge co-production is often cited as one of the innovations needed for navigating the complexity of climate change challenges, yet how to best approach co-production processes remains unclear. In this working paper we explore the ways in which climate and development researchers are approaching the co-production of knowledge and grapple with the extent to which the modalities used are reaching their stated potential. Using a diverse array of case studies, we outline a range of approaches to co-production, from technical to transformative. Drawing on literature on co-production, we propose a heuristic that maps out a spectrum of approaches to co-production and offers an assessment of the relationship between processes and outcomes of co-production in order to enable more informed planning and decision-making. In so doing this paper provides lessons and insights that CARIAA and similar adaptation research initiatives can apply in determining the potential of knowledge co-production as a means to influence policy, practice and behaviour.

Available here.

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New Publication: Collaborative Adaptation Research in Africa and Asia

Cochrane, L., Cundill, G., Ludi, E., New, M., Nicholls, R. J., Wester, P., Cantin, B., Murali, K. S., Leone, M., Kituyi, E. and Landry, M.-E. (2017) A Reflection on Collaborative Adaptation Research in Africa and Asia. Regional Environmental Change 17(5): 1553-1561.

AbstractThe reality of global climate change demands novel approaches to science that are reflective of the scales at which changes are likely to occur, and of the new forms of knowledge required to positively influence policy to support vulnerable populations. We examine some of the opportunities and challenges presented by a collaborative, transdisciplinary research project on climate change adaptation in Africa and Asia that utilized a hotspot approach. A large-scale effort to develop appropriate baselines was a key challenge at the outset of the program, as was the need to develop innovative methodologies to enable researchers to work at appropriate spatial scales. Efforts to match research to the biophysical scales at which change occurs need to be aware of the mismatch that can develop between these regional scales and the governance scales at which decisions are made.

Full paper available from journal as an Open Access article.

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