The COP Climate Action Studio (COP CAS)

As part of our flexible and individual training we fund one or two FoodBioSystems students each year to take part in the COP Climate Action Studio (COP CAS) run by the Walker Institute. This enables doctoral students to engage with  COPUNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) Conference of Parties (COP) in real time.  COP is the most significant yearly event in the climate policy calendar. As well as hosting international negotiations for climate policy, it is also the venue for a range of policy, practice and research discussions around climate change, and for activists and lobby groups to gain public attention.

During COP 27, two FoodBioSystems doctoral researchers joined other research students to work in small groups at COP CAS. They attended different sessions remotely (one of the students also attended live sessions in Egypt). They interviewed key people and wrote blogs about their thoughts and experiences.

Dannielle Roche from our 2020 cohort reflects on her experience of COP 27:

My PhD is fundamentally linked to climate change research because my project aims align closely with adapting agricultural practices to provider greater food security and resilience to agricultural businesses and rural livelihoods to avoid the impact of future climate change. I was therefore keen to join all COP27 opportunities provided by the DTP which consisted of a day in COPCAS at Reading University (although you could have done more than one day if you so choose!) and I was lucky enough to be chosen to attend COP27 in person after a successful application outlining the professional benefits I would obtain from attending and explaining the key links between my project and climate policy.

COPCAS is a great place to get involved with all aspects of COP from the comfort of the studio at Reading! I attended finance day of COP27 in the studio and it was great to listen to live streams of events happening at the conference and interview those on the ground in Egypt to get their take on what is going on. Actually, my favourite and most impactful part of COPCAS was discussing all things climate change with my teammates in the studio. We finished our day by writing a blog together called ‘(not) addressing the elephant in the room’, referring to climate finance, which you can read here. I’d highly recommend attending COPCAS and I’ll be sure to apply for the studio next year as well!

Attendance to COP27 in person was an incredible opportunity that I’m extremely grateful for. I saw first-hand what COP is like; the scale of pavilions, the hopeful side event talks and the very corporate atmosphere of the ministerial meetings. Chats whilst in coffee lines or attending the press conferences were the real crux of it all where you felt the emotions from different nations feeling the impacts of climate change and advocating for their voices to be heard in the negotiations

Dannielle also made a video and blogged about her experience of COP27. If you can’t access the blog on Linked in you can access a PDF of her COP27 blog post.