Climate Impacts Awards: Unlocking urgent climate action by making the health effects of climate change visible

Source(s): Wellcome Trust
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The aim of this scheme is to make the impacts of climate change on physical and mental health visible to drive urgent climate policy action at scale. We will fund transdisciplinary teams to deliver short-term, high-impact projects that maximise policy outcomes by combining evidence generation, policy analysis, engaged research approaches and communication strategies.

Scheme at a glance

Lead applicant career stage: Mid-career researcher, Established researcher

Administering organisation location: Anywhere in the world (apart from mainland China)

Frequency: Annual

Funding amount: Up to £2.5 million

Funding duration: Up to 3 years

Coapplicants: Accepted

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Next deadline

Full application deadline: 3 April 2024

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About this scheme

In 2023, Wellcome launched the Climate Impacts Awards and funded 11 innovative global projects.

In 2024, we will fund projects that generate context-specific evidence using community knowledge and experiences to deliver actionable policy outcomes that can be scaled to multiple settings. We will prioritise funding for research that involves and serves the needs of communities most impacted by the health effects of climate change, and advances stories and narratives that tend to be absent in the media or underrepresented in public discourse (Perga et al, 2023). This will include generating and/or synthesising relevant data and insights (preferably across multiple sites or countries) on significant health issues arising from climate impacts.

We are looking for proposals with a clear theory of change and strong understanding of policy levers. Policy outcomes should be achievable within the award period, innovative in their design and should support meaningful and sustainable change. Proposals should describe the intended policy outcomes and how new insights and effective communication will influence these outcomes.

Teams must have prior demonstrable success in work that combines science, policy and society (Serrao-Neumann, et al 2021). We use the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) definition of transdisciplinary research. Transdiscipilary research combines knowledge from different scientific disciplines, citizens, public and private sector stakeholders to address complex societal challenges. By engaging key stakeholders from the outset and embedding different expertise in the research design, we expect that teams will use evidence and impactful narratives on the effects of climate change on health to drive urgent policy change that supports collaborative solutions for climate change adaptation and mitigation. 

This scheme aims to make the impacts of climate change on health visible. There are many reasons the impacts of climate change could be invisible.

These include but are not limited to:

  • distance: decision makers not being based where the impacts are happening
  • ideology: political polarisation results in missing voices, disinformation or lack of information
  • unseen: some of the climate impacts of environmental drivers of health outcomes (for example, certain chemicals, pollutants or microscopic organisms) may not be visible and therefore may be ignored
  • linkage: the links between climate change and health effects not being explicitly made or understood
  • low priority: climate change's effects on health are not given much focus due to competing priorities, unconvincing analyses and communications challenges.

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