The Walker Institute, based at the University of Reading, is an interdisciplinary research institute supporting the development of climate resilient societies. Research at the Walker Institute is helping us to address some of the fundamental questions currently facing development and encompassing social, economic, technological, and political strategies which are being implemented at all scales of society.
We encompass a network of researchers, policy-makers, practitioners and users who contribute as a community to achieve a shared goal with passion and with boldness – to turn discoveries into tools that make a genuine difference to the lives of some of the poorest communities around the world and help safeguard the lives of the generations to come.
The Walker Institute is driving productive solution-oriented collaboration on the ground in many of the world’s most fragile, conflict-affected Low Income Countries to support the development of climate-resilient societies. Our research is helping us to address some of the fundamental challenges society is facing such as migration, food and water security, biodiversity loss, extreme weather, and disasters.
Climate variability and change pose a huge risk to all of us, impacting all aspects of life. The challenges this will bring will have a devastating effect on developing societies, and responding to them requires an integrated, interdisciplinary approach. The long-term stability and success of societies depends on the management of a range of risks and threats, which include climate change, ecological degradation, state fragility, conflict, migration, rapid population growth and social inequality. Understanding these issues, along with the complex connections and interdependence of communities, the economy and the environment, requires the generation and integration of new knowledge that occupies the spaces found between traditional academic disciplines.
Our Community Charter is available here.
The Walker Institute is one of eight Regional Hubs appointed under the recently established World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) ‘My Climate Risk’ Lighthouse Activity (LHA). Walker’s interdisciplinary research focus, supporting the development of climate resilient societies closely aligns closely with the WCRP’s ‘My Climate Risk’ LHA goals:
Together with the Walker Institute and the other 7 Regional Hubs across the world, the “My Climate Risk” LHA aims to develop and mainstream a ‘bottom-up’ approach to regional climate risk, starting with the requirements of decision-makers.
Much of our interdisciplinary research applies methodologies that provide insight and supports partners to developing climate resilience policies and plans, not least national adaptation planning.
An important facet of our research that supports the World Climate Research Programme goals is the understanding of fragility and risk and preventing disasters through context specific analysis. Importantly, our research brings together a quantitative understanding of climate risk and livelihoods - the challenges and opportunities.
Our vision is for a robust global society which is able to fully address the interrelated challenges presented by environmental and socio-economic change and climate variability, and thrive by turning such challenges into opportunities for growth.
“The overarching aim of the Walker Institute is to use research to enable the development of climate-resilient societies, which are able to adapt in an uncertain, changing world. Key to this is our contribution to a new knowledge base, and improving the understanding surrounding climate-resilience. We want to make a meaningful difference in peoples’ lives – to carry out risk-taking, innovative and novel research that can tackle the complexity of the global challenges now facing society.”
Professor Rosalind Cornforth, Walker Institute Director