Climate change adaptation initiative feted and farewelled

From ABC Environment, 26 June 2013:

A ‘VISIONARY’ federally-funded climate change research initiative has come to an end, leaving its extensive network of researchers — many of them recent graduates — pondering an uncertain future.

The National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility (NCCARF) was established in 2008, with a five-year, $50 million mandate to address gaps in understanding and knowledge about the impacts of climate change and research what is needed to adapt to those effects.

However its term has ended, and no additional funding has flowed from government coffers, so the NCCARF network of researchers gathered this week for the final annual conference with mixed emotions.

“NCCARF has allowed us to be a world leader in adaptation,” said Alianne Rance, a PhD scholar at the University of Melbourne and Climate Commission fellow.

“If you think back ten years, we didn’t know what adaptation was; climate change was a hot topic but adaptation was unknown, we knew we were experiencing some impacts but we weren’t quite sure how to deal with those impacts,” said Rance, whose research on climate change adaptation in coastal property development was supported by NCCARF.

“Since NCCARF came along, we’ve had five years of preparation and leadership — we are leading the globe and that’s a fantastic position for Australia to be in but we very quickly could lose that lead.”

In its five years, NCCARF commissioned and managed more than 140 projects across a range of disciplines, amounting to a nearly $40 million research portfolio and employed the equivalent of around 300 full-time positions.

It was also unique in not only supporting research on climate change adaptation but communicating that information to, and engaging with, the end users, politicians, and policy makers.

NCCARF director Professor Jean Palutikof said while NCCARF will most likely be remembered for its research contributions, one of the things she is most proud of is its support and mentoring of early career researchers and the building of networks and capacity. Read more.

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