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Critical Decade for Climate Change PhD Studentships

We are generating a new cohort of 21st Century climate thought leaders with the agile and interdisciplinary skills needed to lead a paradigm shift in how we respond to climate change.

The Critical Decade for Climate Change Leverhulme Doctoral Scholars programme trains researchers to look at real-world data in near real-time to generate unique insights into why societies succeed or fail to respond to the threat of climate change. This new generation of scholars will help build the foundations for a healthy planet and a fair society for the future.


The 2020s will be a decade of profound changes. This is the decade when the impacts of climate change become visible to the naked eye, and they are alarming. Big decisions will need to be made which cut across all sectors of the economy and worldwide. These decisions will require researchers with visionary and agile trans-disciplinary minds, and the capacity to quickly integrate evidence from across disciplines to form clear and globally-relevant insights, convincing narratives, that help enact solutions to the greatest challenge faced by their generation.


Nineteen studentships were offered, with 14 outstanding doctoral scholars funded by a £1.35m grant of the prestigious Leverhulme Trust, and an additional five funded by UEA. The programme, which commenced in October 2021, has recruited three cohorts, who are training within and contribute to the vibrant ClimateUEA community, bringing together leading experts and thinkers in climate research from across UEA. The candidates from across disciplines, are interested to explore what is happening now and how current experience can help scale up actions quickly and globally. Each doctoral project will be invited to contribute a chapter to a book on How to tackle climate change in the real world.


Tackling climate change transcends disciplinary boundaries, therefore our researchers will be equipped to become leaders in generating and interpreting climate-relevant real-world data and understanding trends and drivers of change in our environment, while integrating agile use of new observations with storytelling and narratives that capture human dimensions in its richest form, essentially developing a new field of climate research.

They will document changes across nature and society, provide evidence of their drivers and triggers, their amplifying forces and intervention points, in order to inspire and inform the strongest possible responses.

Professor Corinne Le Quéré

The doctoral programme is led by Professor Corinne Le Quéré, Royal Society Research Professor of Climate Change Science and international advisor on climate policy. In collaboration with Deputy Director Dr Mark Tebboth, and ClimateUEA Chair, Professor Konstantinos Chalvatzis, an interdisciplinary group of experts across the University will support our researchers to become leaders of this Century’s climate research.

“By looking at real-world transformations in near real-time, researchers can better understand why some actions succeed while others fail, and help support and accelerate responses to climate change of the scale needed. This is a completely new and very exciting approach into researching climate change and I’m absolutely thrilled that we’ll be delivering it at UEA.” – Corinne Le Quéré

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Leverhulme Doctoral Scholars -
Current PhD Students