Climate change is creating harsh new daily challenges for global citizens at a remarkable rate. In India, regions with increased flooding see rising rates of insecurity and overwhelm in women. In Appalachia, the turn to renewable energies impacts the local economy. In response, UVA researchers are teaming up with communities to find long-term solutions.
Through an innovative approach, called “Climate Collaboratives,” UVA is gathering thought leaders from multiple disciplines to work directly with community members on strategies for a more equitable, resilient and sustainable future.
Climate Collaboratives is a signature program of UVA’s Grand Challenges Research Initiative, which takes cutting-edge research and puts it into action through a collaborative approach.
“Grand Challenges are meant to support the full scope of research, from basic research to team science to implementation and adoption by stakeholders,” said Megan Barnett, Vice Provost for Academic Initiatives. “The Climate Collaborative projects are a great illustration of this type of effort. They will generate discoveries and also put those discoveries, and the tools to use them, in the hands of local communities.”
One of the Climate Collaboratives will explore how Appalachia could benefit from the clean energy revolution; the other will research how women in India can be supported as change agents when it comes to water security in an area with increasing flooding.
“Long-term solutions to climate challenges are more likely to be impactful, sustainable and equitable if community members have a voice in the process,” said Karen McGlathery, Director of UVA’s Environmental Institute. “Through these new Climate Collaboratives, UVA catalyzes a research model where community members are fully integrated in the questions and outcomes from the start. We have seen positive benefits from this approach very clearly with our climate equity project on Virginia’s Eastern Shore, where research has been improved by what we learn from our community leaders.”