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The researchers tackling the world’s climate-driven water crisis

A safe supply of clean water is necessary for human survival – yet 2.2 billion people around the world lack access to this basic human right. A global crisis is looming on water security, which has been escalated by climate change.

Now, researchers across the globe are collaborating to tackle the threat of climate change to humanity – thanks to the Futures Climate Research Cohort Programme established by the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU) and the British Council.

Leading climate change experts from five UK universities will work with 20 selected early-career researchers from 10 low and middle-income countries, including Bangladesh, Egypt, Ghana, India, Kenya, Malaysia, Nigeria, Pakistan, South Africa, and Sri Lanka, to tackle their regional climate change challenges through knowledge exchange projects and research projects in the Global South.

As part of the programme, University of Warwick researchers from the Institute for Global Sustainable Development (IGSD) are leading the cohort to address water security in a changing world by investigating the inequality of water security, water for ecosystems and water-related hazards. The research will help us understand the uneven distribution of climate-change-induced water crisis across regions, populations, and ecosystems, empower vulnerable groups, and build resilience to risks and uncertainties. In addition to research, the programme will help ECRs improve their skills, develop interdisciplinary collaborations, engage with stakeholders, and translate research into actions to support climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies.

Dr Feng Mao, from the University of Warwick’s IGSD said: “As we learned from the UN Water Conference on 22 March and the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Sixth Assessment Report, the need to unite the world for collective water research and action has never been more clear.

“Nearly 80% of the global population is exposed to water security challenges, with climate change intensifying the water cycle, altering rainfall patterns, and consequently bringing more frequent and amplified hazards to human societies in many regions.

“We will be addressing the intersections of water, ecosystems, society, and technologies – aiming to improve lives and build resilience to climate change. Being part of the Climate Research Cohort will elevate Warwick University’s position as a leading institute for environmental sustainability.”

Professor Elena Korosteleva, IGSD Director at the University of Warwick, added: “IGSD has been relaunched to become the gateway to research on sustainable development at Warwick, with one of its key thematics being complex eco-systems and water security. I am very proud to see how our strategic thinking, research and leadership are now coming together, from growing our thematic networks across Warwick, to an IGSD leading scientist, Dr Feng Mao, now representing us globally via the ACU. This is particularly opportune for our own launch of the ECR Sustainability Training School on 5-9 June 2023, which we hope will serve as a platform for raising a new generation of planet-conscious researchers and responsible citizens.”

The programme’s water security theme is led by three researchers from the University of Warwick’s Institute for Global Sustainable Development (IGSD), Dr Feng Mao, Dr Nikoleta Jones, and Dr Vangelis Pitidis. The Institute for Global Sustainable Development enables transformation towards a more sustainable and resilient world under climate change through transdisciplinary partnership across the globe.


Further details of Warwick’s Institute for Global Sustainable Development and its research activities can be found here:

University of Warwick press office contact: 

Annie Slinn

Communications Officer | Press & Media Relations | University of WarwickLink opens in a new window 

23 May 2023