Climate Futures September 2016 news update
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Welcome to our September 2016 news update
Regardless of the ongoing Brexit stramash (an apt Scottish word!), our eyes are on European partnership as we enter the final phase of TESS and prepare for our role as disseminator for new Horizon 2020 research into optimising geothermal energy for large buildings. We're also evaluating the impact of our Climate Smart Agriculture project in Malawi.

TESS: community resilience evaluation tool

Climate Futures has helped develop an online game and assessment tool for communities to assess their resilience in the face of risks such as economic shocks, societal degradation and climate change.
The resilience compass is an important part of the impact delivered by the TESS research project into the success factors behind sustainable community initiatives such as renewable energy and food growing. It is being delivered to communities through workshops and an explanatory video. It is also accompanied by Track-it, a carbon calculator for communities.

The compass helps users understand the concept of resilience by using a ‘tile moving’ game, then invites them to self-assess their own community, and finally to input key information such as jobs created and interaction with other communities to give a comparison against the TESS research sample.
Under the Wilding model, four ‘dimensions’ of resilience are considered: people, economic development within ecological limits, cross-community links and cultural. A community can be in one of three states: breakthrough (transformation possible), breakeven (can bounce back after a crisis) and breakdown (liable to collapse).
In other news, the project team is preparing for a final event in Rotterdam in October with two other European research projects, ARTS and PATHWAYS.

TESS (Towards European Societal Sustainability) involves a consortium of eight Universities, Institutes and SMEs across six European countries and is funded under the EC's FP7.


New H2020 project: geothermal energy

Climate Futures is one of the 12 research and business consortium partners in a new geothermal energy heating and cooling research project funded by the EC's Horizon 2020 programme, under call EE-04.
From September, we will be building a website, producing videos and managing a newsfeed as a part of the impact agenda of the project, which also includes a market dissemination programme and guidance for architects and developers.
The project examines and improves on a combination of two technologies – geothermal heat systems linked to automated heating systems for large buildings. Heat can be pumped from the ground in the cold months to provide heating and pumped into the ground in the summer month for cooling.
The aim is to examine the operating parameters of this technology duo and improve efficiencies. A number of demonstration projects are being examined across Europe, including a housing scheme, care home and offices.
Entitled ‘Model Predictive Control and Innovative System Integration of GEOTABS in Hybrid Low Grade Thermal Energy Systems’ (MPC-GT), the project will run for four years. Partners include the Universities of Ghent, Leuven and Maastricht, Energoklastr in the Czech Republic and heating installer, Uponor.

Delivering renewable heat is a considerable challenge for the EU, and the UK in particular, which produced only 2.2% of its heat from renewable sources in 2011. The EU has set itself a target of producing a 20% share of energy from renewable sources by 2020.

In other news, we are also evaluating Horizon 2020 proposals for a call on climate services.

Climate Smart Agriculture: wrap up

The CSA project in Malawi has helped train 1500 smallholder farmers to diversify diets, introduce agroforestry and implement more sustainable methods such as composting, water conservation and mulching.
In March and April our partner, Sabine Hellmann organised a screening tour to show the participatory videos she helped train farmers to make, across a number of villages in Dowa district. The makeshift ‘cinemas’, usually set up in a village church, were packed with over 1000 farmers and their families. Furthermore, 100 USB sticks with copies of the farmer-made films were distributed to the heads of planting clubs – so the videos will be watched many times over.

The timeframe for the Scottish Government-funded project has officially passed, ending the Climate Futures involvement. A sentimental occasion, as we have been working in the ‘Warm Heart of Africa’ for over eight years through our great partnership with the James Hutton Institute. We are still evaluating the project and will submit our final report once this is completed.
Brexit: the Climate Futures view

It's been an uncertain time for UK-based researchers in European collaborations, but we are hopeful that recent UK-government assurances will help to safeguard the thousands of jobs and PhDs at risk, not to mention the positive societal impacts of clean technology and environmental improvements.

We are a multidisciplinary Scottish SME focused on improving research impact for consortia and small teams. We also provide technical consultancy and communication services to a range of international clients.

So you will not be surprised to hear we were shocked and disappointed to hear the majority of British who voted, said 'no' to Europe. This was not the case in Scotland. Our opinion is we need to work together to solve big societal and environmental challenges, and research collaborations show what can be achieved.

Need dissemination or impact support? Please get in touch - we'd be delighted to discuss your concept or proposal.