Sustainability Research Institute

Current Projects

Project ICAD is a prestigious 4 year European Research Council funded project entitled Advancing Knowledge Systems to Inform Climate Adaptation Decisions.

Adaptation to climate variability and change represents an important challenge for the sustainable development of society. Informing climate-related decisions will require new kinds of information and new ways of thinking and learning to function effectively in a changing climate. Adaptation research requires integration across disciplines and across research methodologies. Currently, we lack the critical understanding of which kinds of knowledge systems can most effectively harness science and technology for long-term sustainable adaptation. Project ICAD sets out to address these decision-making processes.

For more information visit

EUPORIAS is a four-year collaborative project funded by the European commission under the seventh framework programme. EUPORIAS commenced on 1 November 2012. The Euporias consortium is made up of 24 partners from across Europe and brings together a wide set of expertise from academia, the private sector and the national met services.

This project intends to improve our ability to maximise the societal benefit of these new technologies. Working in close relation with a number of European stakeholders this project want to develop a few fully working prototypes of climate services addressing the need of specific users.

For more information visit

An investigation of water resource planning under uncertainty in the Cauvery River Basin in Karnataka: Uncertainty about the regional impacts of climate change and rapidly changing socio-economic conditions make long-term planning of water resources problematic. Robust Decision Making (RDM) approaches seek to identify strategies that work reasonably well across large ranges of uncertain future conditions. This research project will use the RDM approach to study water resource planning under uncertainty in the Cauvery River Basin in Karnataka (CRB-K), in southern India.

The project is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and conducted at the London School of Economics and University of Leeds through the Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy in collaboration with institutions in India.

The UMFULA project is part of the Future Climate For Africa programme funded by the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID) and Natural Environment Research Council (NERC). UMFULA (‘river’ in Zulu) will provide new insights and more reliable information about climate processes and extremes in Central and Southern Africa. UMFULA will partner with agencies and universities in Tanzania and Malawi to link the information to development decisions with long-term consequences. The University of Leeds will host two post-doctoral researchers as part of this project.

For more information visit

The EU Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) provides free climate information to help society and business sectors improve their planning and decision-making for climate adaptation and mitigation. The SECTEUR project will focus on advancing C3S's understanding of market needs.

SECTEUR brings together 11 organisations across 6 European countries to engage directly with end-users to analyse their requirements, identify gaps and deliver recommendations on future needs to support better decision-making.  The sectors covered by this project are: Agriculture & Forestry, Coastal areas, Health, Infrastructure, Insurance and Tourism

For more information visit

QA4Seas (Quality Assurance for Multi-model Seasonal Forecast Products) aims at developing a strategy for the evaluation and quality control of the multi-model seasonal forecasts provided by the Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) to respond to the needs identified among a wide range of stakeholders. The quality assessment will be user driven and will put at work the best expertise available on the evaluation of the multi-faceted quality aspects of state-of-the-art seasonal forecast systems.

The project will run from July 2016 to September 2018, and is funded by ECMWF as part of the Copernicus programme.

Suraje Dessai is on the expert panel for network 'BRIM – Building Resilience Into risk Management'. The network brings together academics, engineers and policy makers to develop a shared, multi-disciplinary vision of how to build resilience into networked risk management for highly complex engineered systems. 

This network is led by Dr Guangtao Fu at the University of Exeter, and supported by Professor Roy Kalawsky at Loughborough University and Dr Monica Rivas Casado at Cranfield University. The network is funded through a EPSRC grant as part of the Engineering Grand Challenge programme, and a number of industrial partners.

The project will run until Nov 2018. Further information is available on their website

Past Projects

The following projects have now been completed, or else the Climate Change Adaptation Group's role has come to an end.

This EU research project "Bottom-Up Climate Adaptation Strategies for a Sustainable Europe" (BASE) supports action for sustainable climate change adaptation in Europe. BASE makes experiential and scientific information on adaptation meaningful, transferable and easily accessible to decision-makers at all levels. The project is funded under the EUs 7th Research Framework Programme (FP7).

Mapping Climate Services and Information Needs in China: The focus of our project was to document (for the first time in English) how subseasonal and seasonal forecasts are perceived, and to a certain extent understood, by climate and weather forecasters, policymakers, environmental risk managers and state-owned energy sector managers in the developing economy of China.

For more information visit

PREPARE - Programme of research on preparedness, adaptation and risk

This was a programme of research to support the UK Government in developing it's strategy on adaptation policy, and in particular it’s statutory programme of climate adaptation policies to be laid in Parliament in 2013 under the Climate Change Act through understanding
1. Barriers and enablers to organisational and sectoral adaptive capacity
2. The contribution and role of local and household level adaptation in overall UK adaptation
3. The climate risk resilience and adaptation expectations of the public and the underlying motivations behind this
4. The public acceptability of types of climate adaptation approaches, reasons for this and implications for communications with the public
5. The overall equity and distributional impacts of climate risks, climate change risks and adaptation options for UK citizens

The work was carried out through a consortium led by AEA Technology.

This ESRC project entitled “Understanding public perceptions of and responses to heat waves: A behavioural decision research approach", led by Professor Wandi Bruine de Bruin in Leeds University Business School, is supported by Dr Andrea Taylor and Professor Suraje Dessai. The project builds on interdisciplinary insights from behavioural decision research and environmental social science to improve communication strategies that aim to promote public preparedness for heat waves (see for example the NHS/Public Health England Heat Wave Plan at 

This three-year consortium project brought together the UK climate modelling, statistical modelling, and impacts communities to work closely together for the first time on developing risk-based prediction for decision making in the face of climate variability and change.

The project team included researchers from the universities of Leeds, Exeter, Oxford, Edinburgh, Newcastle, Liverpool, Reading, the London School of Economics and the Plymouth Marine Laboratory. Project partners included the Met Office, Environment Agency and CAFOD. Our work fed directly into future IPCC and Met Office assessments of climate change.

The ARCC-Water project aimed to take an integrated whole system approach to water resource planning in SE England under multiple uncertainties, in which portfolios of infrastructure and demand management options maintain secure supplies (increased reliability and reduced vulnerability to failure) and enhance the environment. A key output of this project was a special issue of Water Resources Management, March 2013 "Adaptation and Resilience of Water Systems to an Uncertain Changing Climate".

Search site