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Areas of Interest: the Concept


In line with the aim of the Climate Adaptation Research Agenda, CIRCLE-2 has conducted an assessment of current knowledge gaps and relevant areas of interest for European and national adaptation research.

The results of this assessment (survey among CIRCLE-2 partners and contributing partners) are depicted in the following sections and represent a clear indication to decision-makers and scientific communities across Europe of what are - in our CIRCLE-2 partner and contributing partner perspective - the necessary adaptation related areas where substantial support (i.e. financial) to knowledge production (i.e. research) should be placed upon during the next decade and probably beyond.

These areas neither intend, nor could have the pretension, to be an extensive guide for European climate research. They must be seen as clusters of relevant adaptation research topics that are needed to inform coherent decision-making at different levels: European, national and sub-national.

They are the outcome of an analysis carried out within the CIRCLE-2 ERA-Net participants (i.e. national Ministries, research agencies and other climate research funding/managing organisations) totalling 34 institutions from 23 European countries. But they are also the results of past and ongoing interactions between the ERA-Net and key institutions, networks and political frameworks of relevance to the production and use of adaptation knowledge [1].


Assessing the relevance of each Area of interest

In order to ensure that the areas of interest for adaptation research identified in this analysis were relevant for all levels of decision-making and could represent an advance in our understanding of what are the main priorities related to adaptation knowledge production, a set of guiding principles were agreed and applied to the assessment.

A set of quality insurance standards were also agreed in order to guarantee that the potential outcomes of future joint initiatives within each of the areas of interest match the necessary quality to improve the state-of-the-art.


Principles applied

  • Cost-efficiency/Limitation of duplication - to take advantage of already developed national and regional initiatives, background papers, etc. and reduce duplication of efforts already conducted in the Climate Change Impacts, Vulnerability and Adaptation research field. 
  • Evidence - Already something has to be going on (research or policy-wise) in each area and there is clear evidence that supports a further development of the topic.
  • Added Value/innovation - the added value of the topic beyond local, regional and national interests needs to be clearly defined - But there is the need to further enhance the development of knowledge because clearly identified gaps exist either at the national or European level.
  • Transnational relevance -topics must be based on scientific and/or policy relevance, being an entry point to be discussed within CIRCLE-2 - Areas where more than one country can benefit are considered as having additional interest to be pursued.
  • Practical response - the topics shall address practical examples and shall go beyond theory and strategizing. - Areas where there is already an identified need for practical responses to climate are given priority.



This climate adaptation agenda should provide the basis for research and policy development within CIRCLE-2 ERA-Net, but also across other European initiatives and frameworks.

The expected outcomes for each of the identified areas should clearly contribute to the development of national and European knowledge on climate adaptation and should always bear in mind the following standards:

  • Excellence - research topics should be consistent and conform to a high scientific quality standard,
  • Integration - topics need to be based on a multidisciplinary, integrated / holistic approach,
  • Ethical considerations - topics should always take into consideration fundamental ethical aspects of research and policy outcomes!


[1] CIRCLE WS on National Adaptation Strategies, Budapest 2009, WMO Zurich 2009, CIRCLE WS on Science Policy Interface Utrecht 2009, ERA-NET on Stage event Brussels 2010, UNEP mountain research meeting Vienna 2010, DRR WS Brussels 2010, JPI Conference La Huple 2010, Nordic Climate Conference Stockholm 2010, WS on uncertainties Stockholm 2010, Climate Adaptation Conference Brussels 2010, CIRCLE-2 as UNFCCC Member 200 in2010, IS-ENES WS Copenhagen 2011, MOUNTain Meeting February 2011, CIRCLE-MED Final Conference Coping with Climate Change in Mediterranean Coastal Areas - the Water Management Challenge