SDRN Mailing, 14 September 2016

By Editor on 14th September 2016
Research and resources


1. Call for abstracts:  Special Issue on Communicating Science and Collaborating for Resilient Solutions to Climate Change
Papers are invited for a special issue of the International Journal on Climate Change: Impacts and Responses that advance and demonstrate the impact of how communication of evidence and cross-stakeholder collaboration can inform resilient solutions to climate change. This will involve, but will not be limited to, addressing the following questions:  How can scientific evidence be better communicated to more efficiently inform decision-making on climate change?; How can the social and natural sciences work together to inform communication and collaboration on climate change?;  How can cross-sectorial and cross-stakeholder collaboration lead to better evidence, science communication, and more resilient responses to climate change?; and, What evidence is there of communication and collaboration across scales: household, community, local, national, regional, and international levels?  The journal will accept research articles, commentaries and reviews.  Authors interested in submitting a paper for the special issue should send their abstracts (about 200-250 words), with a tentative title and indicating the article type) by email to Dr Candice Howarth ( by 7th November 2016, using the email subject: “Special Issue Communication and Collaboration”.

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1. Local energy systems in the UK: taking stock and looking forward
22 September 2016, 09.30-17.30, Edinburgh
ClimateXChange and the University of Edinburgh are hosting this interdisciplinary event to bring together researchers, policymakers and practitioners to take stock of the current state of practice and knowledge of local energy systems in the UK, and look forward to the key challenges and opportunities for the future.  The event will address the following three questions: 
1)  What is a ‘local energy system’ and how is this being enacted in practice across the UK?; 2)  What evidence is there that local energy systems can, and will, deliver the social, economic and environmental benefits expected of them?; and 3)  What conditions and innovations are required to realise the potential of local energy systems?  Speakers include: Prof. Gordon Walker (University of Lancaster); Simon Roberts OBE (Centre for Sustainable Energy, Bristol); Chris Morris (Local Energy Scotland).  The event is free to attend. For more details and to register please visit the Eventbrite page.
2. Closing event of Kingston University/ Permaculture Association ‘KEEP’ project

23rd September 2016, 11.00 – 16.00, London
This event is the closing workshop of a project jointly carried out by Kingston University and the Permaculture Association, an ongoing collaboration involving research and engagement activity.  The Knowledge Exchange for Entrepreneurship in Permaculture (KEEP) project aims to encourage and support permaculture-inspired entrepreneurs, while contributing to our knowledge of institutional and sustainable entrepreneurship and their practice.  It is led by Professor Audley Genus (of the Small Business Research Centre, Kingston University) and funded by a Research and Knowledge Exchange (RAKE) grant from the Institute for Small Business and Entrepreneurship, sponsored by the Economic and Social Research Council and the British Academy of Management.  The workshop will enable delegates to learn about the purpose of and findings from the project and shape the content of the final project report and the permaculture entrepreneurs’ handbook which is being developed.  Numbers are limited, so please confirm your attendance for the event ASAP by email to:  More information about the project is available here.

3. The future of Wales’ environment: protecting natural resources, improving air quality and tackling climate change
24th November 2016, 09.00 – 13.00, Cardiff
This seminar, organised by Policy Forum for Wales, is timed to follow the publication of the first State of Natural Resources Report from Natural Resources Wales and comes ahead of the statutory National Natural Resources Policy, due to be published in Spring 2017.  Keynote addresses will be given by Matthew Bell, Chief Executive, Committee on Climate Change and Mike Evans, Head of Evidence, Knowledge and Advice, Natural Resources Wales.  Delegates will discuss challenges and opportunities for the sustainable management of Wales’ natural capital – including supporting biodiversity, marine conservation and land use management, along with strategies for reducing air pollution across Wales.  More...

4. Product Lifetimes And The Environment (PLATE) Seminar 2016
6th December 2016, 10.00 – 4.30, Nottingham 
This timely event offers participants the opportunity to learn about and discuss the latest developments in product lifetime policy and practice, planned obsolescence, reuse and repair. Set within the context of growing EU interest in product lifetimes, confirmed speakers include Ferenc Pekar (European Commission), entrepreneur Tara Button (, Dr Carlos Montalvo (TNO, Netherlands) and Dr Ines Oehme (Federal Environment Agency, Germany). This cutting-edge event follows the highly successful inaugural PLATE Conference, held in Nottingham in June 2015. Plans for the next international PLATE conference, due to take place in the Netherlands in late 2017, will be revealed. To make enquiries or book a place at the seminar, please email  More...

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Research and Resources
1. Environment and climate policy evaluation
The European Environment Agency’s new publication examines more than 40 years of environment policymaking in Europe.  It includes an overview of the types of public intervention that are evaluated in policy evaluations, discussing the differences among the goals, objectives and targets of these.  The report provides an ‘evaluator’s toolbox’, with examples of evaluation approaches;  evidence collection processes and methods and examples of analytical methods.  Finally, it presents the directions that the EEA intends to pursue in the area of policy evaluation.  More...

2. The EU Referendum and the UK Environment: The Future Under a ‘Hard’ and a ‘Soft’ Brexit
‘Brexit means Brexit’: but what does Brexit mean for the environment?  In this new study, Dr Charlotte Burns (University of York), Prof Andrew Jordan and Dr Viviane Gravey (University of East Anglia) explore what Brexit may mean for UK environmental policies and governance processes by comparing two scenarios: a ‘soft’ and a ‘hard’ Brexit. A ‘soft’ Brexit would see the UK remain as close as possible to the EU, establishing a new relationship akin to Norway’s current relationship with the EU. Conversely a ‘hard’ Brexit would see the UK trade with the EU under World Trade Organisation rules. The two scenarios generate radically different impacts on policies, systems of governance and levels of environmental quality in the UK – key issues that should inform forthcoming negotiations to effect Brexit. The study concludes with suggestions for future research and policy.  More...

3. SHARPER: Seasonal health and resilience for ageing urban populations and environments
The SHARPER report by Arup and partners focusses on how climate change impacts, continued urbanisation and an ageing population are affecting London, New York and Shanghai.  It highlights the risk of heat waves to the elderly in London, using satellite data to obtain surface temperature maps and socio-economic data (factors such as population density, health, mobility and quality of housing) to develop a Heat Vulnerability Index (HVI) for the city, to gain an understanding of where the population is most at risk.  Land cover is significant, with built up areas being more affected by the Urban Heat Island Effect, where heat is absorbed and released by buildings and paved surfaces, resulting in a warmer micro-climate, whereas medium and large scale green spaces and water bodies play an important cooling role during heatwave events.  The study found that the highest vulnerability areas were in the London Boroughs of Hackney, Islington and Tower Hamlets.  The borough of Hammersmith and Fulham has high land surface temperatures but due to socio-economic factors scored low on the heat vulnerability map.  The lowest concentration of those most at risk were in the boroughs of Richmond upon Thames, Bromley and Sutton.  More...

4. New model farming: resilience through diversity
CPRE’s new report is the first in a series of ‘Food and Farming Foresight’ papers, designed to encourage debate about the future of farming.  Brexit gives the opportunity to shape a new national vision and policies for farming and this paper suggests policies to build a resilient, financially stable and dynamic farming industry that works for communities and the environment.  Key recommendations are to: increase the availability of land for new farmers; secure the long-term financial stability of farming by ensuring public funding continues but it progressive and publicly accountable; work with businesses across the supply chain to create market conditions that support multi-purpose farming; build the resilience of farming to reduce its risk from climate change and make its management of natural assets sustainable by targeting most public funding to delivering public benefits and address market failures; and, improve innovation and resilience across farming at all scales by supporting farmer-led development and promotion of techniques and application of appropriate technologies.  More...

5. Lessons from coordinating a knowledge exchange network
The Adaptation and Resilience in the Context of Change (ARCC) network has been funded through the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) since 2009.   The EPSRC deemed ARCC ‘exemplary’ in a review of the network, and challenged ARCC to unravel why.  This new research builds a picture of the complexities of managing a network, and the supporting strategies and skills needed.  ARCC worked with consultant Dr Ian Cooper from Eclipse Consulting to uncover what network members wanted, how their needs were met and the lessons learnt along the way.  With the new challenges of the Research Excellence Framework, and with responsibility for demonstrating impact now falling to individual institutions, knowledge exchange networks like ARCC can provide welcome additional expertise and a trust, non-competitive space to share skills and perspectives.   More... Read the report here.

6. Communicating drought risk in a changing climate
Climate Outreach’s new briefing paper, which it has released on the 40th anniversary of the 1976 UK drought and in the year when the Middle East has experienced its worst drought for 100 years, outlines 10 principles for communicating drought risk in a changing climate.  These have been developed from the DRY (Drought Risk and You) project, launched in April 2014.  Acknowledging that there is no ‘one size fits all’ drought communication strategy, the paper identifies some practices common to all good drought communication, including: Strike the right balance between ‘local’ and ‘global’; Communicate using a trusted messenger; Frame drought messages around health implications; Be smart about communicating uncertainty; and, Don’t focus on doom and gloom.  More... 

7. State of the UK’s Public Parks 2016
This second report on the UK’s Public Parks, published by the Heritage Lottery Fund, highlights the continuing downward trend in the condition of parks over the past two years and the danger that many parks and green spaces may fall back to a state of decline and neglect as a result of pressure on public finances. 92% of park managers report that their maintenance budgets have reduced in the past three years and three-quarters of local authorities have reduced their park management teams over this period, with the resultant loss of skills. At the same time, 57% of adults use their parks once a month, an increase of 3% from 2014.  The report suggests that in view of the growing deficit between the rising use of parks and the declining resources available to manage them, action is needed to avert a crisis that will undermine more than two decades of investment in our parks.  The report concludes with a renewed call to action to take forward the key themes from the first study: Continuing local authority leadership; Promoting active partnerships; Supporting communities to play a more active role; Developing new models of management and funding; and, Compiling, coordinating and updating data.  More...

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