New EU-funded project brings global science and local knowledge together to tackle climate challenges

Climate change is one of the defining issues of the 21st century. To take climate smart decisions in the face of extreme events today and in the future, relevant and tailored climate information is needed. Climate science developed globally, however, rarely takes local needs, knowledge and perceptions into account. The European Commission funded project Innovating Climate Services through Integrating Scientific and local Knowledge (I-CISK), which officially started November 1st, aims to bridge this gap.

Over four years, organisations involved in I-CISK will develop a set of so-called climate services that are co-produced with local residents, taking their social context and behaviour into account. The project aims to meet the climate information needs of citizens, decision makers and stakeholders.

“For example, forecasting drought is a climate service that is useful to water-dependent sectors such as agriculture, but also to other sectors such as hydropower and tourism. However, each of these sectors may be impacted differently, and sector-specific needs and knowledge will influence how climate information is used, interpreted and acted on,” said project coordinator Micha Werner, Associate Professor at IHE Delft.

The thirteen project partners, located all over Europe, came together in a hybrid format last week to officially kick off their collaboration. Marjan van Meerloo of the European Directorate General for Research and Innovation, and Natasa Asik of the European Climate, Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency joined virtually and endorsed the relevance of the project. They also shared their views on how important it is to link up with other EU funded projects to maximise impact.

The project partners will work together in seven ‘living labs’ in Europe and in Africa, each established in a climate change hotspot with specific geographical and climatic settings. Within these labs, they will work closely with users and stakeholders to develop climate services that help the communities and affected sectors prepare for extreme weather and adapt to climate change.

The I-CISK partners

IHE Delft Institute for Water Education, The Netherlands (coordinator); European Centre for Medium-range Weather Forecasts, United Kingdom; Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Instite, Sweden; VU Amsterdam, The Netherlands; CREAF, Spain; Upsala University, Sweden; Netherlands Red Cross (NLRC), The Netherlands; GECOsistema, Italy; Caucasus Environmental NGO Network (CENN), Georgia; Complutense University of Madrid, Spain; 52°North, Germany; IDEAS, Hungary, and EMVIS, Greece.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 101037293.