Friday, April 13, 2012


date: Wed, 07 Feb 2001 15:26:59 +0000
from: "Lesley Aspinall" <>
subject: COAPEC Steering Committee - proposed new member - In Confidence
to: <>

Dear Dr Hulme
I am sure that you will be aware that NERC is currently funding a Thematic programme known as Coupled Ocean-Atmosphere Processes and European Climate (COAPEC). This will examine seasonal to decadal ocean-atmosphere interactions and their impact on the climate of the UK and Northwest Europe. NERC has allocated �4.85M over five years to COAPEC. The closing date for round two applications is 2nd March 2001.

One component of the programme is called: Bridging the gap between scientific output and societal needs. An extract from the programme proposal describing this component is included at the end of this message and the full proposal can be viewed on: The proposal suggests 5% of the programme budget (�240-250K) should be spent on this aspect.

Nigel Collins (Head of Atmospheric Science) has previously contacted Adrian Alsop with a view to establishing some cross Council collaboration with ESRC and it has also been suggested that there should be an opportunity for ESRC to nominate someone to sit on the COAPEC Steering Committee. The COAPEC Steering Committee have put forward one or two suggestions (including Simon Turner at UMIST) and have proposed that I contact you for further advice / suggestions. The next Steering Committee meeting is due to be held on March 16th 2001 and we would hope to invite the new member to attend this meeting.
Many thanks in anticipation.
Yours sincerely

Lesley Aspinall
COAPEC Programme Administrator

Extract from COAPEC proposal

Bridging the gap between scientific output and societal needs

Improvements in our ability to produce seasonal forecasts and to predict climate changes (natural or anthropogenic) with even a modest measure of skill could bring enormous societal benefits (cf. Glanz 1996). But there is a significant gap to be bridged if specialised scientific knowledge is to be used effectively by society. Scientists need to understand the kinds of information that can be acted on by decision-makers, as well as appreciating the organisational and decision-making contexts in which potential users operate. Decision-makers need to be made aware of the limitations of the information being offered. For example, rational cost-benefit analysis of the potential benefits of seasonal weather forecasts and of the various policy options available in response to the threat of anthropogenic climate change, requires a detailed understanding of the nature of uncertainty in climate forecasts. The interpretation and intelligent use of uncertain knowledge requires an effective two-way system of communication between information providers and users.

Provision will be made within COAPEC to develop such systems of communication. (Up to 5% of the total cost of the project could be set aside for this, depending on the quality of the proposals received.) It is envisaged that social scientists will work with atmospheric scientists, oceanographers, users and decision-makers to seek ways to broaden the uses of COAPEC research by society.

COAPEC will support:

1. A Workshop to communicate the nature and scope of the research to policy makers, the media and other user groups, and interviews with decision makers and users to elicit, and better understand, information needs and the contexts in which forecasts could be used.

2. Active promotion of the public understanding of COAPEC research in close collaboration with national (e.g. British Association) and international (e.g. UNEP, UNESCO, WMO) bodies charged with promoting public understanding of climate science. The COAPEC project coordinate will be responsible for overseeing dissemination of COAPEC research to the wider public through: public lectures; popular articles, fact sheets and educational materials available over the Internet; and by ensuring a pro-active relationship is established with the media on topical climate issues.

Lesley Aspinall
Programme Administrator
Science Programmes Directorate
Natural Environment Research Council
Polaris House
North Star Avenue

Tel No: 01793 411536
Fax No: 01793 411502


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