Climate Research Coordination Group: Third Report on Activities: January - December 2020

This report has been prepared by the EPA on behalf of the Climate Research Coordination Group

Summary: This third report presents a summary of the Climate Research Coordination Group’s activities in 2020.

Report cover CRCG

Published: 2021

ISBN: 978-1-80009-008-8

Pages: 68

Filesize: 7,415 KB

Format: pdf


The Climate Research Coordination Group (CRCG) was established under the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) 2014–2020 Research Strategy. The CRCG acts to coordinate climate change-related research in Ireland. It does so by supporting and promoting collaboration between relevant research funding organisations and by providing a forum for the exchange of information on activities and plans.

A key objective is to advance shared strategic objectives for climate change research and ensure coherence in climate change research investments in Ireland as well as effective linking of these to European Union (EU) funding streams. CRCG meetings are facilitated by the EPA. Its membership is made up of departmental officials, local authority representatives, state agencies and bodies, and stakeholders, who either fund or use outputs from climate change research.

This document contributes to achieving Action 14(i) of the Interim Climate Action Plan 2021 (iCAP21). Action 14(i) requires that the CRCG provides an annual report on its activities. In addition, Action 14(j) of iCAP21 requires that an assessment is carried out and a synthesis is created of key findings from the research programmes, and wider research activities is to be carried out every 5 years. The first 5- year assessment of climate research activities in Ireland has been initiated and is due to be completed in the period 2021–2022.

This report on the 2020 research presents a summary of investments, progress on strategic goals and related developments during 2020, as well as CRCG’s activities over that period. It builds on and updates the material from the first report (June 2017–December 2018), published in May 2019, and the second report (January 2019–December 2019), published in June 2020. This (third) report covers competitive research funding committed by members of the CRCG, leveraged funding from EU schemes and core research activities carried out by CRCG members themselves over the period 1 January 2020–31 December 2020. This report is based on the information provided by the members of the group. This report provides neither an assessment nor a synthesis of the funded research, which is the aim of the 5-year assessment report.

In summary, in 2020:

  • The most significant highlight for 2020 was initiating the first 5-year assessment and synthesis of research (which shall contribute to Action 14 of the 2019 CAP) with the award of six lead author and one support fellowship project. The work is scheduled to be completed in 2022.
  • Based on the information provided, 84 new climate related research competitive awards were made during the reporting period, with a total budget commitment of €21 million. In these 84 projects, collaboration between the CRCG members was evident through the co-funding of 14 research projects, with a committed budget of €2.07 million. Of the €21 million, €6.9 million awarded from competitive national calls was not specific to climate but related to it.
  • A total of 73% of the budget for competitive new awards in 2020 went to three institutions: Trinity College Dublin, National University of Ireland, Galway and University College Dublin (when assigning funding for successful projects solely to the lead partner), based on the data provided on national competitive awards. Project awards ranged in size from €7000 to €2,989,001, with an average size of €249,790.
  • In excess of €4.2 million was also reported to be allocated to core activities in 2020, i.e. research activities that are funded by the organisation and performed in-house.
  • The Irish research community achieved a drawdown of €18.8 million under Horizon 2020 (46 projects), €6.9 million from INTERREG (one project) 4 and €10.5 million under the LIFE Programme, with climate-related research projects. No new climate-related COST Actions involving Irish partners were approved in 2020.
  • One new member joined the CRCG, namely the Department of the Taoiseach.
  • The CRCG held four meetings, one of which specifically related to carrying out the 5-year assessment and synthesis of research report.
  • In addition, 42 climate research communication events and workshops took place in 2020 involving the CRCG members.
    CRCG infographic