A series of five roundtable discussions took place in October 2021 as part of the Climate Connection, bringing together key actors from the COP26 priority countries to explore the multiple roles the higher education sector plays in combatting the climate crisis, as well as examining some of the challenges institutions face in their own Race to Zero.

The roundtable discussions

  • explore how research outputs can be used to support governments to develop evidence-based climate mitigation policies
  • examine how the HE sector is preparing the next generation for the reality of climate change, and what skills they need to acquire
  • investigate how universities can be more adept at knowledge production and exchange and at working across traditional academic boundaries, and what policy levers governments can put in place to make this happen
  • showcase some of the latest collaborative climate research projects between the UK HE sector and counterparts around the world
  • reflect on the role universities play in the public discourse around climate change to help build wider trust in and understanding of the science
  • discuss how Higher Education Institutions can reduce their own carbon footprint.

Please click on each roundtable below to watch the recordings.

Climate adaptation and resilience in ASEAN: From policy to practical application

Monday 11 October 2021, 9.30-11.30 BST

From policy to practical solutions, hear a panel of distinguished academics, policymakers and climate leaders from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the UK debate the role universities play in the prevention and relief of climate-induced disasters.  

The roundtable takes as a starting point a policy paper focused on climate adaptation and resilience in ASEAN which was commissioned by the British High Commission in Singapore and developed in collaboration with the UK COP26 Universities Network, the Earth Observatory of Singapore, Nanyang Technological University and the University of Glasgow, Scotland.

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UK in Australia/Climate Connection: The importance of global expertise and local action in the fight against Climate Change

Tuesday 14 October 2021, 9.00-10.30  BST 

Knowledge is the key to reducing the impact of and adapting to the consequences of climate change, and local action is crucial in addressing this global problem. This roundtable explores a collaborative partnership between academics in official development assistance (ODA) countries, the UK and Australia, applying local expertise to reduce the causes of global warming and to mitigate its effects in these most vulnerable countries. In a post-pandemic world, these projects also demonstrate new ways of cooperating internationally to create and deliver innovative and actionable solutions. Geographical separation is not a barrier to global cooperation.

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Climate Change: threats to water and food security in MENA

Tuesday 19 October 2021, 11.00-13.00 BST

Presented in partnership with the University of Strathclyde, Scotland, in this roundtable you can hear a panel of distinguished academics, policymakers and climate leaders explore these issues and discuss possible solutions and pose questions to the panel about the challenges of achieving food and water security. 

Water scarcity is a global problem. Today, billions of people face some form of water-food-energy stress. Climate change is intensifying the problem, pushing governments, investors, scientists and aid groups to find innovative and non-conventional solutions to mitigate the threat.

A decrease in rainfall, rapid economic growth and high population density in the countries of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) mean the region’s access to the essential elements for life – water, food and energy – is under threat.  

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Impact mechanisms for climate change research in Southern Africa

Monday 25 October 2021, 16.30-18.30 BST

This roundtable will explore a range of approaches to knowledge exchange which can enable universities to be more agile in their response to the climate crisis and have greater impact. It will look at the different mechanisms for migrating applications and inventions from the bench to the community, and how universities can across traditional academic boundaries in order to innovate. It will also explore what policy levers are needed to make this happen. 

This roundtable will be presented in partnership with SARIMA, Southern Africa’s professional association for research and innovation practitioners in the HE sector. 

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Innovative approaches to collaborative research: UK/Japan/ASEAN initiative

Wednesday 27 October 2021, 9.30-11.30 BST 

This roundtable will explore the challenges and successes of the Climate Connection trilateral grant programme which brought together researchers from advanced, emerging and developing economies to focus on climate related research. Panellists will discuss what researchers can learn from multilateral collaboration models, how they can be improved and what incentives should be put in place to bring together international research expertise to achieve maximum impact.  

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You can also find each roundtable report below.