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INTPART-International Partnerships for Excellent Education and Research

Climate Action Transdisciplinarity in Education and Research

Alternative title: Tverrfaglig klimahandling i utdanning og forskning

Awarded: NOK 10.0 mill.

In a world grappling with the profound impacts of climate change, the CATER initiative recognizes a critical gap: existing climate services often miss the mark on social engagement. Enter CATER, a collaborative effort between African and European contexts with a clear mission — to connect the dots between climate science and action. CATER aims to break down silos and encourage collaboration among students, early-career researchers, and practitioners at the frontline of climate action. The goal is simple yet impactful: fostering mutual learning in the face of our changing climate. What sets CATER apart is its commitment to amplifying the voices of communities already bearing the brunt of climate change. These voices, often sidelined, are vital in crafting adaptation strategies that are not just effective but also fair. CATER is on a mission to empower these communities, ensuring their perspectives play a central role in the global climate conversation. The first CATER school, held near Naivasha, Kenya, in November 2023, was a melting pot of 21 students from diverse nations spanning continents. Represented were South Africa, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Benin, Ethiopia, Madagascar, Kenya, Uganda, China, France, Italy, Germany, Turkey, Colombia, the USA, the United Kingdom, Sweden, and Norway. Daily lectures covered a wide array of topics, including climate risk management, climate prediction, transdisciplinarity, climate justice, co-production of climate information, ethics in climate research and climate services, environmental policy, career development, proposal and paper development, and not least: using serious games for educational purposes. This diversity contributed to emphasizing a comprehensive approach to climate action. Yet, the true highlight unfolded in the afternoons as students collaborated to create serious games. These games delved into the complexities of decision-making in the face of climate change. Through this hands-on experience, students not only honed their collaboration skills but also gained a deeper understanding of the web of decision-makers in the climate change landscape. Buoyed by the success of the first school, CATER plans to host four more annually, starting in 2024. Taking feedback to heart, future schools will be tightly woven into local contexts. The program aims to bring in lecturers with region-specific knowledge, enriching the experience for participants and ensuring that climate action resonates at the grassroots level. CATER isn't just a project; it's a down-to-earth movement that transcends borders. Currently we are starting an alumni programme to maintain the momentum after the first school. Through education, collaboration, and the power of serious games, CATER is sowing the seeds for a more resilient and interconnected future.

CATER builds on existing collaborations in the CONFER Horizon 2020 project, in which we co-develop climate services for East Africa with regional stakeholders. Based on our experiences in CONFER and other initiatives, we have come to challenge the notion that climate services are a one-way delivery of data from a ‘producer’ to an ‘end user’. In reality, the uptake of climate information leading to climate action in any setting requires extensive and iterative two-way engagement across sectors and disciplines, which is usually referred to with a broad brush as ‘co-production’. Our unique consortium from Norway, South Africa and France will work with students, practitioners, businesses, and not least between ourselves (researchers and educators) to: (1) Move science into action and vice versa by developing immersive annual schools focusing on climate action. This will be an arena where the students and lecturers will, together, engage with topics in the emerging intersection of climate research and practical climate adaptation, enhancing their capability to link climate research to real-world practice. (2) Organise annual workshops reaching within and beyond our own communities. The overarching focus will be on cultivating a community of practice to enhance climate action and decision-making capacity, by planning and evolving the school programme, and developing joint research ideas, proposals, and papers. (3) Promote and facilitate exchanges of people between our countries by providing seed money for further funding through applications to public exchange programmes. We mean to take a world-leading position by nurturing a cohort of academics able to think beyond the confines of academia to clarify the science-society divide between research and practice in climate adaptation, and by making voices of the South louder and more confident in international settings.

Funding scheme:

INTPART-International Partnerships for Excellent Education and Research