The COP Climate Action Studio (COP CAS) enables doctoral students to remotely participate in the annual UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) Conference of Parties in real time. It enables doctoral students to remotely engage and virtually immerse themselves in COP – 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. 

This programme is a partnership between the SCENARIO Doctoral Training Centre and the Walker Institute, and is open to SCENARIO Doctoral students, as well as Postgraduate students at the University of Reading.

During the COP period, students work in small groups to attend different sessions remotely, as well as interviewing key people, and writing blogs about their thoughts and experiences. They are supported throughout the process by a research communications professional.

COP CAS facilitates the development of key skills surrounding interdisciplinary working, and provide direct experience of how researchers can successfully engage with other stakeholders. Participation provides students with exposure to the latest ideas in policy and practice, enhancing their abilities to work with users of research.



I very much enjoyed the whole experience. Thank you very much for making COP CAS an amazing experience! COP CAS was very well run, organised and provided a great creative atmosphere

COP CAS Student

I really felt like being at COP sometimes even if [I was, in fact] in Reading.

COP CAS Student

This has made me much more aware of interdisciplinary perspectives towards climate change and that my view of climate change is very westernised and completely different to people from developing countries

COP CAS Student

I learnt about interviewing skills and was able to gain awareness of my own strengths and weakness. I engaged and connected with many people in relevant fields and enjoyed being exposed to different ways of thinking and approaching the issues I am interested in.

COP CAS Student

I got exposed to so many people, ideas, perspectives that have been worth 1 years of individual reading online.

COP CAS Student

I was at COP23 on my own but I felt more involved at COP24 because of the team at the Studio. Having interesting conversations in the Studio, preparing and doing interviews, writing pieces made me way more involved with COP than just participating at Side Events.

COP CAS Student

Programme Structure

COP CAS 2022 Participants 

   Shammi Akhter - 

Thesis topic: Controls on the Track and Intensity of Tropical Cyclones in the North Indian Ocean. I am studying the reliability of the Global Climate Models used to forecast future tropical cyclone activity in the North Indian Ocean. I am also researching how tropical cyclone activity (frequency and intensity) will in a future warming climate. I hope by attending the science day I would be better able to understand how we can collaborate in implementing our research findings. I study the tropical cyclones in the Bay of Bengal over which the majority of deadliest storms in history have occurred. To better protect the lives and properties of people living in the coastal regions it is vital that we implement our research findings efficiently- especially under a changing climate.


   Luci Corbett -

Environmental Science PhD Research Student. My research is looking at soils around declining oak trees in the UK, specifically those with Acute Oak Decline (AOD), to see whether process-level soil microbial biogeochemistry – by using soil enzyme activity as indicators - can be linked to tree physiological and environmental drivers. Climate change, in particular drought is undoubtedly contributing to the decline and death of oak trees, as stressed trees are more susceptible to attack by pathogens and insects etc, and the rate of change is not giving trees time to adapt.  If we are seeing this in the UK what about in other parts of the world where changes are far greater? I am excited to be part of COP CAS 2022 to get a closer look at how this world forum can work together to act for the long term and ensure delivery of the changes necessary to decarbonise society that are needed to limit global changes, in this now time critical time.


   Nerea Ferrando

Nerea is a passionate environmental scientist and artist who has a special interest in bridging the communication gap that exists between science and the public through citizen science engagement and by raising awareness with her environmental art. Nerea is now working as part of her PhD research in the EU project “Climate-proof cities.” Her research aims to i) explore the potential for citizen scientists to gather simple and quick soil colour measurements as a cost-effective proxy of soil organic carbon (ii) investigate the impact of common park management practices on soil and tree health and the delivery of key ecosystem services (ii) increase understanding of the multiple benefits of corporate participation in scientific research for sustainability.  These aims are explored through HSBC’s Sustainability Training Programme (STP). This initiative involves several universities and institutes, an international environmental NGO (Earthwatch), and enthusiastic citizen scientists from a global bank (HSBC) who are helping with key data collection in urban parks in the UK and France. This year, Nerea is thrilled to attend the UN Climate Change Conference in person in the city of Sharm El-Sheikh (Egypt). She will experience first-hand what governments and businesses across the world are planning and participate in numerous side events. Nerea's PhD research is directly linked to climate implementation, and she is particularly interested in attending the Nature Zone pavilion which will showcase the challenges and opportunities of Nature-based solutions (NbS). Actively participating in COP27 will be strategic to share knowledge and best practices around NbS, strengthen existing partnerships, and establish new connections for future collaborations.



My PhD project is on trapped lee waves and their effect on atmospheric circulation, with a view to improving numerical weather prediction and climate models. This will hopefully contribute to a better understanding of the changes in atmospheric circulation induced by climate change. By taking part in COP CAS I’m hoping to gain more insight into the policy making behind climate change and how science influences the decisions made at COP.



Thesis Topic: Decadal Forecasting for the energy sector. My project explores how the emergent area of decadal forecasting can provide useful information for key actors within the energy sector to help facilitate the transition towards renewable energy technologies. I am interested to learn about he day-to-day running of the conference of parties and in particular the process of decision making. I am looking forward to finding out what it's like to be on the ground at the conference from the people that are there. 



I'm Rosie Mammatt, and I'm studying ice cloud microphysics and its connection to cloud optics and remote sensing. I am passionate about climate change and would love my research to help better our understanding of the potential effect of climate change on clouds. This would hopefully lead to more accurate representations of clouds in climate models. It will be fascinating the see the process that leads to new policies being created, including the interaction between scientists and policy makers!



My thesis is investigating the efficacy of quantitative image velocimetry to measure flow in rivers. This is with the aim of improving our ability to measure flow rate using non-contact methods (i.e., drones and satellites technology). By doing so, we may measure rapidly changing flows which would normally be unsafe to survey, such as flash floods. Climate change is predicted to exacerbate the frequency and intensity of extreme floods and non-contact flow monitoring techniques have the potential to provide key information about water quality and supply during such events. I am hoping to learn more about the impact that extreme floods have on vulnerable communities by participating in COP CAS.



My research looks at the role of food manufacturers in creating a circular and sustainable food system. I’m using life cycle thinking to understand the environmental, economic and social impacts of convenience food products. With diets increasingly relying on convenience and processed foods, it is important that these products are designed to be nature and people positive. The food system is responsible for a third of greenhouse gasses, and I’m interested in seeing how climate diplomacy is being used to address the problem of sustainable and healthy diets.



Hi, I'm Daisy and I am in the 3rd year of my PhD looking into species on the move in the UK - that is species that are shifting their distributions as a response to climate change. My project sits at the intersection between the biodiversity and climate crises, and aims to determine how our UK invertebrates are responding to climate change in terms of distribution changes, that whilst providing species with a mechanism by which they can survive changing climates, also has potential positive and negative impacts for people and ecosystems. I hope to be able to engage with COP27 and see how decisions are made that will determine our future, with a particular interest in the biodiversity day.



My thesis topic is on looking at how we can improve the Living Planet Index’s global predictions of biodiversity change as well as trying to better understand the processes which drive biodiversity trends. Climate and biodiversity are both inherently linked, as one changes the other will too. Research has shown that as the climate changes, biodiversity, on the whole, is suffering. We need to understand these links so we can better predict what will happen with continued climate change and provide us with the knowledge to mitigate these changes as best we can. I’m looking forward to gaining a better understanding of how a international conference of this scale works, as well as an insight into how climate change is perceived on the world stage. 



My thesis topic is: Assessing the effect of trophic level and diet on microplastic ingestion by UK birds of prey.

Microplastics are ubiquitous in our environment and most of their effects on organisms are currently unknown. Globally many birds of prey species are endangered or threatened due to habitat loss, persecution and knock-on effects of prey species disappearing. Climate change is predicted to force many species to the extreme in terms of their tolerance and cause species to go extinct as top predators birds of prey are especially vulnerable to food chains being disrupted by these factors. Climate change impacts and is impacted by microplastic pollution. Climate change is predicted to have an impact on the distribution of marine microplastics and understanding the threat that microplastics pose to the health of species is important to protect them from extinction because it is nearly impossible to avoid microplastic pollution in our environment. During COP CAS, I'm hoping to participate in Youth Day and Biodiversity Day. The voices of those who will be inheriting the legacy of pollution from previous generations at no fault of their own except when they were born is incredibly important and I'm very excited to hear from your climate ambassadors and activists. I also hope to hear about new advances in research pertaining to our efforts to understand climate change caused threats to species and new ways to tackle biodiversity loss. I hope to come out of COPCAS with a better understanding of what shapes global climate policy and the ways in which we as researchers can participate and support the process.



“High resolution mapping of fine sediment and pollutants throughout large river cross sections with innovative uncrewed survey boats; supporting improved flux estimation, habitat assessment and bathing water safety.” We are living in difficult times, where global temperatures and environmental change are constantly increasing at rapid timescales. To cater to the assessment of natural and anthropogenic influences on the environment I am focusing on testing the efficiency of unmanned survey boats in monitoring sediment and pollutant transport through UK rivers. If proven efficient, it could facilitate the collection of real time in-situ data from sites that are otherwise inaccessible, and thus allow us to better understand pollutant transport and possibly regulate the release of harmful substances into the UK rivers. I see COP CAS as a platform where I can interact with other climate and environmental scientist and learn new methodologies that they have been using, and as an opportunity to voice concerns over the global change crisis. At COP27, I am most certainly looking forward to hearing what hydrologists from across the world are working on, the vital issues that they raise and the solutions that they propose to the growing water crisis.


  Shahrina Rahman - 

My research focuses on marginalised, physically disabled people affected by frequent natural disasters due to climate change. I went to southern coastal villages in Bangladesh to interview marginalised, physically disabled people to collect evidence-based data. During the fieldwork, I collected visual data to make a short documentary. By taking part in COP CAS 27, I hope to gain more insight into the policymaking behind climate change and inclusive development and how it influences the decisions made at COP27.

Link to bio,



My PhD project is on the tri-trophic interactions between pears, pests and natural enemies and how they are impacted by climate change. Part of my research focuses on how pear flowering times have changed over the past 60 years and if they will continue to change under temperatures predicted by RCP emissions scenarios. Based on the high emissions scenario full flowering times of pear could become 18.5 days earlier by 2080. My current lab work and fieldwork aims to monitor whether pear sucker (pests of pear) and their natural enemies will respond in similar ways to rising temperatures, or if phenological mismatches will occur. A phenological mismatch is when a key event in a species lifecycle shifts so it no longer matches another event, for example the emergence of a pest no longer matching the emergence of its natural enemy. 



Dannielle is a PhD researcher at Cranfield University investigating the impact of biostimulants on soil properties as a mechanism for improved crop quality. Dannielle’s project aligns closely with adapting agricultural practices to provide greater food security and resilience to agricultural businesses to avoid the impact of future climate change. Second, biostimulants may reduce the need for fertilizers, so contributing to mitigation measures of greenhouse gas emissions exacerbating climate change. Lastly, the focus on crop quality is important given the urgent need to enhance and adapt human nutrition under the impacts of climate change. Dannielle is attending COP27 in Egypt as well as COPCAS in Reading and hopes to fully emerge herself in the COP atmosphere. She would like to understand more about how negotiations between parties actually happen on the ground and whether countries back up their climate commitments with realistic, mid-term goals and policy changes to aid successful climate pledges.


   Fiona Spuler -

Fiona recently started her PhD in the Department of Meteorology. She is working on hybrid modelling approaches for improving seasonal forecasts based on a causal understanding of relevant teleconnections und the supervision of Dr. Marlene Kretschmer and Prof. Ted Shepherd. Previously, Fiona worked on climate finance for mitigation and adaptation at the Coalition for Climate Resilient Investing and the 2° Investing Initiative. At the COP climate action studio, Fiona is particularly interested in progress made on finance commitments for adaptation as well as loss and damage. She also looks forward to conducting interviews with delegates from different countries and hear their view on key contributions that the scientific community can make to progress in the policy space. Fiona graduated from the University of Edinburgh in Mathematical Physics and received a Master’s in Environmental Change and Management from the University of Oxford.



My research investigates upper tropospheric humidity and its role in the amplification of climate change. Upper tropospheric humidity is a fundamental component of the climate system, and its dynamics impacts our understanding of how climate change will evolve over time. Moistening of the upper troposphere plays a role in the amplification rate at which the climate warms in response to anthropogenetic activities. My research is therefore directly related investigating the atmospheric changes that result from our increased fossil fuel consumption and emission of CO2. During COP CAS I am focusing on the Action for Climate Empowerment and civil society day. Through attending this day, I am interested in investigating how different parities at COP are hoping to use engagement and education strategies to help push and develop climate action. I am hopeful that this will feel like an empowering and progressive day with many possible innovative solutions brought forward to help develop and drive new and ambitious climate policies.



My current project title is 'The role of anthropogenic aerosol in near-future sub-Saharan precipitation change', so the COP27 discussions about regional emission studies are strongly related to my field of interest. The themed days that I am the most interested in are the 'Water' day and the 'Adaptation and Agriculture' days, and I hope that during my time in COP CAS I'll be able to get a stronger grasp of the current policy directions in these areas.


   Jessica Underwood -

My research is on using simple spectroscopy to measure soil carbon, and whether it can track changes in soil under different agricultural practices. This allows farmers to assess whether a sustainable agricultural method (e.g., cover crops) is working to build soil C, and modify their methods. To achieve the Paris agreement goal off 1.5 oC agriculture needs to become a net sink rather than source of GHG emissions. It currently produces about 30% of our GHG emissions. Increasing soil carbon also helps achieve the SDG2, as it increases fertility and soil health, which makes the soil more productive and resilient. I am particularly interested in how global agreements can shape policy and actions across the world, and how this then influences the agricultural sector to become more sustainable. I am looking forward to understanding how world agreements are made at this year’s COP27 and see what progress has been made since last year.


   Sarah Watson -

Thesis topic: Solar Wind Interactions with Planets and Minor Planetary Bodies. Although my thesis is not directly related to climate change, my interests outside my PhD involve keeping up to date with new climate policies and doing what I can to educate myself and others on the climate issues facing our planet. I am hoping COPCAS will give me an insight into different countries perspectives on the actions needed for tackling climate change. I am looking forward to increasing my knowledge on certain topics, such as gender, and improving my communication skills.



My thesis covers the impact of climate change on temporal synchrony in pollination systems in apple orchards, looking at how climate impacts when apple trees flower, and their wild bee pollinators fly. Although my thesis focusses on apple orchards, the threats posed by climate change to pollination are not unique to this system. More broadly, I am interested in how biodiversity, agriculture, and the interactions between them are under threat from climate change, and will follow the biodiversity, agriculture and am hoping to follow discussions on these topics.




Participant Blogs

Walker Institute attends UN flagship event

Walker Institute attends UN flagship event

Participant Blogs

Day 1 Blog: COP22: UoR Perspective

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Day 1 Blog: COP22 - Marrakech Update

“The Paris Agreement freed Climate Research”

Day 2 Blog: COP22: UoR Perspective

Day 2 of COP22

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