In 2014 we broadened our remit beyond adaptation to climate change, sharing knowledge from both research and practical experience to generate new knowledge and solutions for the built environment and infrastructure sectors. Our ‘top ten’ achievements for 2014 illustrate the range of network activities, enhancing the overall impact of evidence and knowledge from across research projects.
Top ten for 2014
- Hosting science-policy/practice dialogues to stimulate broader understanding of scientific evidence and its implications in key areas
- Promoting co-production of outputs through joint working opportunities between researchers and those looking to use academic outputs
- Improved discovery and accessibility of research outputs, including after the end of a project, to enable greater uptake and use of data and evidence
- Convening the third ARCC network Assembly in June 2014 emphasised the latest research, stimulated networking and advanced contributions to policy and practice
- A central evidence and knowledge exchange hub provides information on recent and on-going research activities
- Contributions to policy and trade publications help identify and synthesise critical messages from research to inform specific audiences
- Skills development for early career researchers
- Promoting engagement across the built environment and infrastructure academic, policy and practice communities
- Contributions to national and international events help raise awareness of the work of the network and enable broader engagement with, and learning from, related initiatives
- Recognition and forward looking
The 2014 EPSRC review of the ARCC and Sustainable Urban Environment research programmes reflected very positively on the added value of having a dedicated coordination network.
Meeting evidence requirements
- Science-policy/practice dialogues stimulate broader understanding of scientific evidence and its implications in key areas. The first Dialogue, Infrastructure dependencies and interdependencies, was initiated in 2014. Working with the Environment Agency’s Infrastructure Operators Adaptation Forum (IOAF), the network engages with central government and infrastructure practitioners to better understand the overall interdependencies landscape, and the challenges and opportunities from differing backgrounds and perspectives.
- Promoting co-production of outputs through joint working opportunities between researchers and those looking to use academic outputs. This new initiative will increase awareness, build capacity and develop skills in delivering and using evidence from research. Support for three short placements (for researchers from iBUILD and CREW) extend the use of existing outputs, and provide valuable insights into the delivery of policy in areas such as transport resilience (with the Department for Transport), financing for sustainable infrastructure in Scotland (with ClimateXchange and Adaptation Scotland) and flooding and resilience planning for SMEs (with the Environment Agency and local authorities).
- Improved discovery and accessibility of research outputs, including after the end of a project, will enable greater uptake and use of data and evidence. An initial strategy for a sustainable data and information management facility within the ARCC network has been established to help ensure long-term availability of research findings. OpenARCC, a data management support tool, links to over 250 project articles, reports and datasets, with guidance on managing research outputs. Further work will build on existing external data repositories and knowledge portals to promote greater accessibility.
Strengthening knowledge exchange
- The third ARCC network Assembly in June 2014 emphasised the latest research, stimulated networking and advanced contributions to policy and practice. This major 2-day event attracted over 130 stakeholders and researchers to discuss progress in eight themes:
- Powering the cities
- Adapting urban lives
- Smart adapting cities (with the Core Cities Group)
- Transport sustainability and resilience
- Infrastructure interdependencies (with EA/IOAF)
- Buildings within cities (with The Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers, CIBSE)
- Understanding flood risk (with FCERM.Net)
- Overheating and indoor air quality in the urban environment
The discussions led to the development of four themes to group research and projects:
The main messages were summarised in seven blog articles, identifying research and knowledge gaps to help focus future knowledge exchange and research funding opportunities.
- A central evidence and knowledge exchange hub provides information on recent and on-going research activities. During 2014, the comprehensive network website was refreshed, and a Twitter feed and monthly e-newsletter established to inform the wider community of network activities, EPSRC-funded outputs plus external events, reports and funding opportunities. Around 600 newsletter recipients, 200 Twitter followers and over 2000 visits to the website per month confirm that this approach is building engagement and enhancing visibility to inform policy and practice.
- Contributions to specialist publications help identify and synthesise critical messages from research to inform specific audiences.
- Working with CIBSE, the network is leading a Building Services Engineering Research and Technology Special issue for CIBSE’s 20,000 professional members on Overheating and indoor air quality. Nine papers from a number of research projects have been commissioned to inform adaptation strategies.
- Contributions to two Living with Environmental Change (LWEC) Policy and Practice Notes looked at resilience for older people (BIOPICCC, PPN6) and overheating in hospitals (DeDeRHECC, PPN7 ), and drew out conclusions from projects within the ARCC network for national and local health and emergency planning sectors.
Developing the community
- Skills development for early career researchers. A series of events to support the EPSRC strategic aim of developing the leaders of the future, skilled in multidisciplinary research and capable of engaging effectively with stakeholders to maximise the impact of their research. Two very successful 2-day residential workshops and two webinars were held in 2014, with a total of 57 early career researchers hearing contributions from the Climate Outreach and Information Network, Reuters Institute for Journalism, the Alliance for Useful Evidence, Cabinet Office, Newcastle City Council and the LWEC programme. Further events are planned for 2015.
- Promoting engagement across the community. Building on existing links and partnerships with a wide range of research projects, delivery networks and professional bodies, the network collaborated with various organisations to facilitate and/or contribute to knowledge exchange and co-production activities. Specific examples include:
- Seminars with ClimateNI to inform industry stakeholders and policymakers in Northern Ireland of UK research on resilient infrastructure
- Participation in Zero Carbon Hub working group to tackle overheating in homes
- Working with the Defra Climate Ready programme to draw on research to inform the National Adaptation Programme
- Contributions to national and international events help raise awareness of the work of the network and enable broader engagement with, and learning from, related initiatives. Throughout 2014, the network participated in academic conferences (e.g. EU CIRCLE-II conference: Adaptation Frontiers), regional and local events (e.g. presentations to Local Authority planning officers) and activities focused on critical stakeholder groups (e.g. InnovateUK Design for Future Climate final event and hosting of case studies). These opportunities strengthen partnerships and facilitate potential future collaborations.
And for the future…
- Recognition and forward looking. The 2014 EPSRC review of the ARCC and Sustainable Urban Environment research programmes provided independent advice on the effectiveness and impact of the research. The Review reflected very positively on the added value of having a dedicated coordination network to build interdisciplinary research capacity and to pursue engagement with stakeholders. Future ARCC network activities will build on recommendations to capture and promote learning from within the network to guide future programmes.