EGU General Assembly 2023
© Author(s) 2023. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

The UK Climate Resilience Programme (2019-2023)

Suraje Dessai1, Kate Lonsdale1, Jason Lowe2, Rachel Harcourt1, and Peter Walton1
Suraje Dessai et al.
  • 1University of Leeds, United Kingdom (
  • 2Met Office, Exeter, United kingdom

Even with the successful implementation of the Paris agreement, a certain amount of climate change is now unavoidable over the next few decades and high warming levels by the end of the century cannot be ruled out. Therefore, urgent action is needed to build resilience and accelerate adaptation to climate variability and change. Informing the extensive range of actions needed to manage climate risks, reduce damage without exacerbating existing inequalities, and realise emerging opportunities, is a critical scientific and societal challenge. The UK has been at the forefront of climate adaptation policy with the Climate Change Act 2008 requiring the UK Government to conduct a five-yearly Climate Change Risk Assessment (CCRA) and National Adaptation Programme. Another important recent driver amongst UK organisations has been compliance with the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures. The UK Climate Resilience (UKCR) Programme emerged as a response to these policy and societal needs. It aims to enhance the UK’s resilience to climate variability and change through frontier interdisciplinary research and innovation on climate risk, adaptation and services, working with stakeholders and end-users to ensure the research is useful and usable.

The UK Climate Resilience Programme, led by UK Research and Innovation and the UK Met Office and running from 2019 to 2023, has funded over 50 projects worth £19 million. It is part of the Strategic Priorities Fund initiative which provides research funding to develop strategically important research for the national government. Topics central to the programme’s research agenda have included improved characterisation and quantification of climate risks, enhanced understanding of the management of climate risks, and the development and delivery of climate services. Amongst its achievements, the programme has: developed a set of future UK socio-economic scenarios to be used alongside climate scenarios, delivered a step change in climate change risk assessment capability, and produced a roadmap for the development and implementation of UK climate services. It has funded arts and community based projects and pioneered an embedded researchers scheme in which the researcher collaborates with a host organisation to address their real world needs. The programme has also developed a more coherent community of climate resilience researchers and practitioners in the UK.

In this talk we will provide an overview of the programme, focusing on the nexus between UKCR–funded research, and UK policy and practice. For example, we will consider how the national CCRA process shaped the programme’s research agenda while at the same time the availability of research sets the parameters of risk assessments. We will also provide examples of co-production undertaken by researchers and practitioners and comment on what can be achieved in terms of societal resilience when there is collaboration on shared objectives. This programme is unique in dedicating significant time, funding and other resources to researching national resilience while working in close partnership with the national government. We anticipate that our learnings from this process will be of interest to other researchers, as well as policy makers and practitioners who work with researchers on climate resilience issues.

How to cite: Dessai, S., Lonsdale, K., Lowe, J., Harcourt, R., and Walton, P.: The UK Climate Resilience Programme (2019-2023), EGU General Assembly 2023, Vienna, Austria, 24–28 Apr 2023, EGU23-15941,, 2023.