Climate change is one of the most pressing problems of humanity. The very blunt beginning of the executive summary of the Stern Review, published in 2006, says: “The scientific evidence is now overwhelming: climate change presents very serious global risks, and it demands an urgent global response.” And yet the carbon emissions have not decreased but increased since 2006. Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M) wants to show its full commitment to contribute to climate change mitigation and adaptation. To this end, it has set up this Strategic Initiative to combine the full intellectual weight of UC3M faculty and staff to work on ambitious but feasible evidence and research-based policy proposals to combat climate change, and to disseminate them to society at large. Within this Climate Strategic Initiative, the main actions to be carried out are:


UC3M is a relatively small university. Yet, it has reached a high level of distinction in the technological and social sciences (the latter including law). The combined power of top-level groups in the various faculties, some of which already have experience in interdisciplinary work would allow for new insights and discoveries at the highest level of rigour and originality. Currently, there are research groups at UC3M closely aligned with the Lines of Action indicated in the Plan Nacional de Adaptación al Cambio Climático. Work is been carried out on Lines 2 “Human health”, 8 “City, urbanism and housing”, 9 “Cultural heritage”, 10 “Energy”, 11 “Mobility and transport”, 14 “Financial System and Insurance Activity” and 17 “Education and Society”. Actually, ClimStIn would in itself be in the spirit of Line 16.2 about creating and strengthening spaces for the exchange of ideas between researchers and stakeholders. Work is currently under progress to integrate and coordinate all these groups within this initiative, so truly interdisciplinary capabilities are put to work together.


Even top research is irrelevant if the knowledge it generates is not transferred to policymakers. The ClimStIn will deliver education and policy initiatives to communicate the research to regulators, business and high-level officials and use their feedback to make the research-based policy proposals more attuned to what is feasible in the ground. A short course proposal was already held in June 2020 and will be fully launched in 2021.


The process of change we envision cannot be only top-down. The reforms needed will not be sustained unless society at large is not convinced of its need. The ClimStIn has wide experience in blogging, media and citizen science, and can deliver the appropriate actions to both inform society about scientific advances and use societal feedback as input into further research.


UC3M is global brand name among top universities. It can become a center of excellence in a network of similar minded organizations. Work is in progress in order to join university alliances equally committed about this issue.


This Strategic Initiative is part of the work by Vicerrectorado de Relaciones Institucionales y Desarrollo Sostenible, and is coordinated by Antonio Cabrales, David Ramos and Anxo Sánchez.