University of Oxford Biochemistry building

ARCC news for July 2015

ARCC network news

ARCC network: funding to broaden impact through joint-working

The ARCC network has some funding available to enhance the impact of research by supporting joint-working activities between early career researchers (ECRs) and stakeholders in policy and practice. The aim is to promote mutual understanding and to ensure the widest possible benefits of research. We are open to suggestions from individuals (both ECRs and stakeholders) as to possible joint-working activities which could build on existing EPSRC-funded research to maximise use and impact. Examples could include:

  • a day of collaborative working to better understand how evidence can be further developed into a new area
  • several days of co-working to synthesise new information with respect to a joint publication (not necessarily an academic publication) of relevance to a wider audience
  • a formal secondment of up to a few weeks spread over a number of months to test a prototype tool or emerging evidence in a policy/practice environment.

Information on recent activities is available at the ARCC website.

A checklist for researchers when sharing data

Researchers will be the focus of the next round of EPSRC’s data policy compliance testing. Their Policy Framework on Research Data proposes that publicly-funded research data should be made as widely and freely available as possible (pdf, 130 KB). Fiona Hewer’s blog looks at the implications of the testing, and offers a checklist to help.

Other news

Dowling Review reports on business-industry collaboration

Earlier this year, the ARCC network submitted evidence to the Dowling Review of business-university research collaborations (pdf, 290 KB), with the final report published earlier this month. Our evidence drew on the network’s experience of working with many collaborative research projects (pdf, 420 KB). The Review proposes measures to further encourage academic-industry working and to unlock the benefits that such initiatives can bring. The House of Lords Science and Technology Committee recently heard evidence from Dame Ann Dowling to consider what more could be done to improve links between academic research and business.

ARCC projects inform official overheating guidance

Back in 2012, prompted by discussions about a new initiative called ‘Green Deal’, the ARCC network approached the Government with evidence of current and future levels of overheating in homes. A draft guidance note based on ARCC project research was prepared for the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), but never quite made it to the public domain. However, we are now delighted to announce that the joint DECC/ARCC guidance has now been published. The guidance is on preventing overheating in homes and was written for use by Green Deal Assessors, but is useful for anyone working in this area.

Overheating in homes – Zero Carbon Hub’s latest report

The Zero Carbon Hub’s new report Overheating in homes: the big picture (pdf, 4.5 MB) makes it clear that while there is now plenty of information about overheating and how it might be avoided, this isn’t being widely applied in order to minimise future overheating risks. Zero Carbon Hub proposes a series of actions required to fully integrate measures to minimise overheating in new build and retrofitted homes. This includes working with research on new methodologies to model overheating at national and local level. The ARCC network supported the preparation of the Zero Carbon Hub report.

Defra go ahead with Flood Re scheme, despite not offering value for money

The Flood Re scheme – intended to support the provision of insurance for existing homes at risk of flooding – will go ahead even though a formal assessment concluded that it doesn’t offer value for money (pdf, 80 KB). Writing in a letter of Ministerial Direction, the Secretary of State instructs staff at the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) to proceed with the scheme even though “the value for money calculation for Flood Re shows that the costs of Flood Re are greater than its estimated benefits”. In the letter the Secretary of State argues that scheme has advantages over other policy options and provides greater certainty for householders in areas of high flood risk when they are buying home insurance.

Priorities for UK adaptation from the Committee on Climate Change

The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) published its Adaptation Progress Report 2015 this month, and identified some high-level adaptation priorities for the UK, including flood risk to existing properties and heat-related health impacts (pdf, 5.6 MB). Other areas for early action include information about adaptation by ports and airports, and evidence on resilience robustness of digital infrastructure. The full report provides a comprehensive assessment of adaptation – including on built environment, infrastructure and health and resilient communities. It also reviews the performance of the National Adaptation Programme. The CCC Reducing emissions and preparing for climate change 2015 progress report makes 36 recommendations for action by Government, agencies and other bodies.

The launch was covered in some detail in the media, and for UKCIP’s own view on the report and its implications, you can read our blog.

Increasing access to local government data

The Local Government Association (LGA, the membership body for local councils in England) has been working for some years to establish better accessibility and comparability of data from England’s 350 local authorities. Online reporting tools are enabling high-level comparisons as well as the ability to interrogate more detailed information, and the LGA is now offering access to a wider community through an Application Programmable Interface (API). Access is provided free for ‘modest use’, while more extensive use will require monthly or annual payments.

Climate change impacts on UK infrastructure

A high-level summary of the nature and scale of climate change impacts on the UK’s infrastructure has been published by the Living With Environmental Change (LWEC) partnership. LWEC’s Infrastructure Report Card brings together the findings of 12 technical reports, reviewing likely impacts and proposing measures to address the challenge of climate change. It highlights the difficulties associated with, for example, appropriate governance, interdependencies and the unintended consequences of adaptation.

Improving the provision of climate change information for Scotland

The nature of climate change information for Scotland is under scrutiny. Leading organisations in Scotland working on climate change issues are seeking the views of stakeholders who provide, translate and use climate information. A workshop to take this work forward will be held later in the year.

News in brief

There is so much going on that this month we can only squeeze in a few lines about each of the following interesting developments.

A report from the Lancet Commission argues that climate change threatens to undermine decades of progress in development and global health, but that moving to an adapted, low-carbon economy presents a huge opportunity to improve global health.

The Government has issued its formal response (pdf, 190 KB) to a report from a House of Lords Committee on the resilience of the UK’s electricity infrastructure (pdf, 7.4 MB).

A new report brings together Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) findings for the energy sector and concludes that adaptation and mitigation actions must be incorporated into policy-making, planning and investment.

The Centre for Science & Policy at the University of Cambridge has published a report, commissioned by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office arguing that the risks of climate change should be assessed in the same way as risk to national security, financial stability or public health. The work brought together a cross-disciplinary pool of experts in a series of meetings in 2014–5.

Updated flood risk guidance has been issued for Scotland.

Applications are invited for a postdoctoral researcher at the Institute of New Economic Thinking at the University of Oxford. This post will work on empirically modelling the interaction between human activity and climate change. The deadline is 30 July 2015. See for more information.

The Royal Town Planning Institute and the Institute of Public Policy Research have launched a call for evidence for a Great North Plan, a strategic spatial planning framework for the north of England. The call is open until 30 September 2015.

A call for sessions and abstracts for Adaptation Futures 2016 has been launched. The call closes on 4 October 2015.


International Symposium for Next Generation Infrastructure (ISNGI)

14–15 September 2015

Washington DC, USA. See the ISNGI website for more information.


Environment Agency to trial sending flood warnings direct to mobile phone customers | @Flood_List

Quantifying the stormwater benefits of trees – really useful article @sustaincities

DCLG looking for landlords & researchers to help with indoor air quality research | @CommunitiesUK

Rebuilding riverside roads to withstand flooding – futureproofing #infrastructure | @NOAAClimate

Reduced carbon emissions, improved efficiency – are prefabs the solution to our housing shortage? @ConversationEDU

Ghost city’ planned to test & develop new technologies | @globalconreview