Digital Science
Digital_Science_Climate_Research_Funding_Report.pdf (1.63 MB)

Digital Research Report: The Landscape of Climate Research Funding

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The USA government proposes policy and funding changes around environmental protection and climate research. As is often the case, it will be difficult to assess the impact until years after the policy has been enacted. However, funding data provide us with a more proximate bellwether than the traditional research analytics. In this report, we profile the balance of ‘climate research’ investment and note its impact on a diverse research portfolio that runs from ecology and atmospherics to economics and public health. We explore the use of funding data as an analytical source, track the growth of ‘climate change’ as a topic and differentiate this from ‘global warming’. We also disaggregate funding across fields of research and demonstrate a research shift from global climate to biological impact and adaptation and, now, towards response and mitigation.

The data highlight the ratio between a relatively small pool of research funds and its support of a much greater infrastructure for monitoring, regulation and response. The USA is identified as the largest single source of research grants, although European funds are growing rapidly. The USA provides key support and data worldwide, and may have been agile in shifting from background research into adaptation and mitigation. USA policy change could undermine many other efforts. The global research effort is shared because the climate is shared; so should be the responsibility to sustain these commitments.