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Participants of Climate Outreach’s Climate Ambassador programme in Bristol.
Photo credit: Tara Bryer

Are you a UK-based climate researcher interested in engaging non-academic audiences on climate change? Join the Climate Ambassador programme and learn how to tell your own compelling and impactful climate story.

We have finished recruiting for 2023. If you would be interested in a place for 2024, please fill in this expression of interest form.

Climate experts play a pivotal role in our goal to tackle the climate crisis. Not only do they generate the knowledge we need to effectively prepare for climate change impacts, they are recognised as highly trusted spokespeople. Now more than ever, we need to hear from trusted experts with the skills to connect the dots between the science, the need to tackle climate change, and the need to adapt to impacts we can no longer avoid.

At Climate Outreach, we’ve pulled together decades of expertise and experience from psychology, behavioural science, cognitive science and other social science disciplines to truly understand what works (and what doesn’t work) when it comes to effectively influencing diverse audiences into taking action on climate change. This dedication to the evidence base provides us with the best foundation for supporting new and diverse voices from across the climate research community to connect the science with what matters for people.

This programme is free for participants, thanks to the generous support of the Marmot Charitable Trust. We’d like to continue expanding it – particularly internationally – so if you’re a funder interested in further supporting our work with climate experts, please contact us.

Who is this programme for?

This programme is open to anyone in academia based in the UK whose research is connected to generating knowledge on climate change. It’s never too early or too late to learn how to effectively make climate change feel relatable and relevant for audiences outside of academia. We welcome all experts from early career researchers to professors who are able to commit to participating in at least one public engagement activity. We unfortunately cannot currently accept candidates who are not based in the UK, but hope to be able to expand this programme internationally in the future.

The course was very informative and I learnt a lot I could apply to everyday conversations…Overall it was a fantastic experience!

Climate Ambassador 2022

What’s involved?

The goal of the year-long programme is to empower and equip climate experts to deliver evidence-based and impactful public engagement with diverse audiences outside of academia. 

We do this through three stages:

Stage 1: Evidence-based training. A full day evidence-based public engagement training tailored for climate researchers, in small groups of 10-12 people. The training merges an introduction to the social science evidence base on communicating climate change effectively with practical, tailored support to help individual climate experts find their comfort zone when talking with non-specialist audiences about their work. 

Stage 2: Support and coaching. Each Climate Ambassador is invited to participate in a semi-structured programme of support, including ‘safe space’ practice sessions, peer-to-peer support groups and 1-to-1 coaching. The aim of this stage is to offer tailored support relevant to the public engagement goals of each Climate Ambassador.

Stage 3: Skills into action. Each Climate Ambassador will be invited to join our growing database of trained climate expert communicators, accessed by journalists and event organisers. Stage 3 supports Climate Ambassadors in putting their skills into practice through media opportunities and public-facing events.

What kinds of public engagement can Climate Ambassadors end up doing?

In July 2022, Climate Ambassador and Heatwave Researcher Chloe Brimicombe was interviewed by BBC News, Sky News, CNN and a range of international media about her work on understanding the impact of extreme heat on our health. Climate Ambassadors Toryn Whitehead and Max Coleman revealed the funny side of their research at Science Show Off. Other Climate Ambassadors delivered short talks at schools, participated at Reading Climate Festival, hosted workshops for University of the Third Age and engaged local policy makers at Bristol City Council.

  • Chloe Brimicombe interview with Sky News on UK heatwaves, July 2022.
  • Max Coleman revealed the funny side of his research at Science Show Off.
  • Jessica Underwood at the Reading Climate Festival, 2022.
  • Participants taking part in exercises as part of Climate Outreach’s Climate Ambassador programme.
    Photo credit: Ross Fairgrieve
  • Participants taking part in exercises as part of Climate Outreach’s Climate Ambassador programme.
    Photo credit: Ross Fairgrieve

Climate Ambassadors choose their own public engagement path – whether that’s speaking to millions of viewers through media interviews to writing blogs or meeting with local community groups. There are plenty of opportunities to inspire a rich diversity of audiences into taking action on climate change.

I think the biggest thing I got out of it was encouragement to try out outreach (and hopefully do more in future too) and connections with others interested in outreach.

Climate Ambassador 2022

How can I get involved?

Applications are now closed for the 2023 Climate Ambassadors cohort. If you would be interested in a place for 2024, please fill in this expression of interest form (it should take you 5-15 mins, depending on how much detail you can provide) and we will be in touch. Places for the training sessions are limited, however, by registering your interest, we will also keep you up to date on places and cancellations and share our wider training resources with you.

More information

Find out more about the programme through our blogs reflecting on year 1 and year 2 of the programme. Our Communications handbook for IPCC scientists is a key resource available to download on our website.

 

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