Scientific and societal impact of climate research at IMAU

IMAU staff collaborate with scientific and societal partners to make professional products for public outreach.

The world faces a formidable mitigation and adaptation challenge, which requires far-reaching policy decisions that must have a solid scientific foundation. IMAU research contributes to this foundation through scientific and societal impact.

Scientific impact: local, national and international collaborations
At the UU level, IMAU actively participates in the Pathways to Sustainability Strategic Theme and the Centre for Complex Systems Studies (coordinator).

At the national level, IMAU collaborates closely with other universities in the Netherlands Earth System Science Centre (NESSC) as well as with its numerous (semi-) governmental stakeholders, e.g. the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI), the Netherlands Institute for Space Research (SRON), the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ), the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL), the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research (TNO), the Netherlands Institute of Applied Geosciences (NITG) and the Energy Research Centre of the Netherlands (ECN).

At the international level, IMAU researchers are active in numerous project steering committees and semi-permanent research programmes such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP). Recently, IMAU staff coordinated one and participated in four EU Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Networks.

Societal impact: public and stakeholder engagement
IMAU researchers strive for high societal impact through public lectures, popular scientific publications, blogs, podcasts and (social) media contacts. IMAU staff collaborate with scientific and societal partners to make professional products for public outreach. For example is a NESSC website dedicated to making high school students familiar with climate research, including professional outreach videos on e.g. climate models, teaching materials and an annual physics/geography teacher refresher course on climate.

Examples of international organisations with firm roots in society in which IMAU staff currently (co-)chairs divisions and/or participates as advisors are the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) on ozone depletion, the International Methane Emissions Observatory (IMEO), the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) Grand Challenge on i) sea level budget and ii) assessment of climate sensitivity. With our stakeholders in governmental and non-governmental organisations, IMAU staff co-create relevant research questions around climate planning and adaptation. Recent examples of ad hoc engagement with stakeholders are the participation of IMAU researchers in the committees to study the quality of modelling and measuring nitrogen deposition in the Netherlands (Commissie Hordijk), and the oversight committee that investigated the accident with MSC Zoe, which during a storm in January 2019 lost more than 300 shipping containers in the Dutch sector of the North Sea, with serious environmental repercussions for the Wadden Sea.