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A contemporary model for professional society membership

Fiona's Red Kite has delivered a membership model analysis for the Institute of Physics. The project's innovative use of member profiles enabled IOP officers and a small group of current members to explore new ideas. The project reviewed practices and stakeholder needs. It considered the barriers to membership throughout different careers and developed understanding of the value of membership. The ideas were introduced to a diverse group of members including academics, technicians, teachers and business managers from new and aspiring members to Honorary Fellows. This was just the start of a consultation with members on how to create membership categories that can include all physicists.

Previous news articles from Fiona's Red Kite

Technicians Registration at IOP
Fiona's Red Kite is helping the Institute of Physics deliver its 2015 strategy objective to create a professional register for technicians. The project will design a scheme to run alongside CPhys and CEng. The new register will enable the many thousands of technicians whose work includes physics to demonstrate and develop their professionalism. It will help employers build career pathways for technicians.

New Technicians Research Project
The Institute of Physics has awarded a contract to Fiona's Red Kite to investigate the non-graduate workforce in the UK and Ireland with funding from the Gatsby Foundation. The study will examine the number of workers in physics-related roles, uptake of and eligibility for professional registration, education pathways, and employers' needs. The findings will be submitted to the Institute in January 2015.

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Built environment and infrastructure project at Oxford
Fiona has taken up a part-time role at the University of Oxford to increase the impact of research into UK infrastructure and the built environment on society and the economy. The research tackles adaptation and resilience to climate change, and other changes. Working as part of the UKCIP team at the Environmental Change Institute, she will be developing a new data and information management system to ensure that research results can be found and applied by researchers, and other users in government, business and elsewhere, even after the projects have closed. The role will also include promoting and supporting the uptake of research by stakeholders from the ARCC Network of adaptation and resilience projects. The projects are funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.

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New Government Chief Scientist sets out his themes
The new Chief Scientific Adviser to Her Majesty's Government set out the five themes for his tenure, at the Royal Society on 18th April. Sir Mark Walport, who took up his post just two weeks earlier, has quickly announced that, in these times of poor economic performance, translating scientific knowledge into economic growth will be his first theme. Second comes infrastructure resilience, including resilience to climate change and weather. Also on his list are underpinning policy with evidence, science for emergencies, and advocacy and leadership for science. He described how scientific advice to policy makers should look at policy questions through several 'prisms', or different perspectives, to ensure the advice is appropriate. He will also be looking for ways to improve how the scientific community reports back to funders on the achievements of science programmes.

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Greenhouse gas emissions pathways report
Fiona's Red Kite has written a note for policy-makers on how soon greenhouse gas emissions need to start falling, how quickly they must then fall and the long-term emissions level to limit global surface temperature rise. Published by the AVOIDing dangerous climate change programme, the note is based on scientific research conducted at the Met Office Hadley Centre. It is published online with the "Outputs" on the AVOIDing dangerous climate change web site as Flyer 6, "Emissions pathways to limit climate change".

This study could not find a feasible pathway to limit warming to 1.5 degrees C, and found pathways to 2 degrees C challenging, requiring large but feasible changes to energy generation and consumption. Pathways with a 50% chance of limiting global temperature rise to 2 degrees C, also reduce the chance of exceeding 4 degrees C to 1%.

Click here to download the pdf (2.6Mb).

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Book on Understanding the Earth System
A new book on Understanding the Earth System has been published by Cambridge University Press. Written by scientists from NERC's QUEST research programme , it covers climate change impacts, climate change adaptation and feedbacks between elements of the Earth System including forests, oceans and human activity. top of page...


The UK umbrella drought
No sooner had hosepipe bans been announced in parts of England, than it started to rain and rain and rain, leading to the wettest June on record for England, and indeed the whole of the UK. So what's going on? Is it climate change? The hosepipe bans were called as a result of a couple of drier-than-usual winters, that failed to replenish the groundwater supplies on which many depend. And then the jet-stream winds in the upper atmosphere meandered south, steering low pressure systems that we might normally expect further north, over the southern UK. Low pressure systems carry rain-bearing weather fronts and showery conditions. The UK experienced heavy rainfall events in June, at the same time as hosepipe bans due to the water shortage accumulated over the previous winters. There is some reason to think that with the Arctic warming more rapidly than the tropics, the jet stream will go for a meander more often, but on average summers in the UK are expected to become drier and hotter. I hope this year the rain holds off enough for a glorious Olympic Games in London. top of page...


Reports on climate change in over 20 countries delivered
New reports on the impacts of climate change in over 20 countries, including independent expert review work by Fiona's Red Kite, were launched in Durban. The South African City hosted the 17th intergovernmental climate change Conference of the Parties. Fiona worked on 7 of the reports: Argentina, Bangladesh, Brazil, China, Mexico, Japan and Spain. The reports identify increased risks due to changes in rainfall patterns including of water stress, reduced crop production and flooding.   The full list of reports can be downloaded from the Met Office web site here.

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Climate change advice for BBC
Fiona's Red Kite has won a contract to deliver climate change advice to the BBC Media Action, formerly the BBC World Service Trust. The Trust is the BBC's international charity funded by external grants and voluntary contributions. It also receives a small amount of core support from the BBC in cash and in kind. It uses media and communications to reduce poverty and promote human rights, thereby enabling people to build better lives. This project aims to increase responses and improve resilience to climate change in Asia. Fiona is helping the Trust understand the scientific evidence for the impacts of climate change in seven Asian countries: Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Nepal, Pakistan and Vietnam. The science is being used to design approaches to public perception surveys that can be used to target communication on climate change. Evidence has been drawn from the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report and more recent work on ocean acidification and cross-border vulnerability. Focusing on future climate risks in which science demonstrates the highest confidence, 10 key areas have been identified and are being used to structure the project plans.   See other projects by Fiona's Red Kite in Asia for China Light and Power.

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UK climate risk
The UK government has challenged 107 energy, water and transport organisations to submit reports on the risks and opportunities of climate change. These organisations, mainly responsible for major national infrastructure, have also been asked to describe the policies and proposals they will make in response. This is the first phase of implementation of the Adaptation Reporting Power, imposed under the UK Climate Change Act 2008. The first few reports submitted demonstrate strengths and weaknesses in current adaptation practice. On the positive side, there is evidence that organisations have embedded planning for climate change in business processes such as the corporate risk register and have developed capacity to adapt and take on responsibility for adaption planning at several levels in the organisations. These reports also show good identification of research needs on climate risk, and some advanced thinking on how to identify and use partnership working to alleviate regional and cross-sector problems. However, the reports identified several barriers to adaptation planning, and a need for the risk analyses to be pulled through into risk management plans.   See samples of adaptation projects by Fiona's Red Kite.

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Earth System science research programme - QUEST
Fiona's Red Kite has been awarded a contract to deliver climate change policy briefings and engage stakeholders for the £23M QUEST research programme on "Quantifying Earth system processes and feedbacks for better informed assessments of alternative futures of the global environment". This National Environment Research Council programme's themes include the interactions between land and marine life and climate change, global climate change impacts, reducing GHGs through land-use change and understanding climate over geological time scales, with projects on biofuels, wildfires, forestry, volcanoes and fisheries. Fiona will be working with project stakeholders from UK government, private and third sector and academics from UK and Europe to explain the science and interpret policy-maker needs.
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Fiona Hewer, fiona@fionasredkite.co.uk
Last updated:  2 June 2016