By Annabel Cooper, Communications Officer, Edinburgh Climate Change Institute.

The Edinburgh Climate Change Institute (ECCI), hosted by the University of Edinburgh, is a leading centre for interdisciplinary research, teaching, policy and practice for climate action. It was created in 2010 and is focused on creating a resilient, thriving and climate neutral Scotland and wider world.

ECCI collaborates with governments, businesses and academics to help facilitate interdisciplinary interactions across natural and social sciences, guiding research and its translation to promote a just and resilient transition to the post-carbon world.

One of our aims is to help make Edinburgh one of the cleanest cities in the world. We hope that by showing leadership and showcasing the work in our city it can inspire other destinations to do the same.

Workspace at ECCI

Workspace at ECCI. Alumni of the EIT Climate-KIC Accelerator programme. Douglas Martin, Founder of MiAlgae, Stephanie Terreni Brown, Founder of Clean Water Wave and Ifeyinwa Kanu, Founder of IntelliDigest (Left to right).

The benefits of partnerships

ECCI is home to a community of researchers and practitioners working together to ensure Scotland and the wider UK is prepared for the threats it faces now and in the future due to climate change.

We work with businesses, charities, local authorities and national government to provide technical advice, tools and an evidence base for effective decision making so that we can support the most vulnerable and build our resilience. We harness academic staff expertise from across the University of Edinburgh and beyond, influencing and shaping its development towards impact.

Our team members play key roles in initiatives like Place-Based Climate Action Network (PCAN), Sustainable Scotland Network, ClimateXChange (CXC), the Edinburgh Earth and Environment Doctoral Training Partnership and the Scottish Alliance for Geoscience, Environment and Society.

ECCI is also a hub for professional development and training. Through practice-based learning we equip our students to understand not only the science of climate change, but also the actions required to reduce emissions and support communities as they adapt.

We offer our students a chance to get practical experience and build professional networks across the public and private sector. Delivered by the University of Edinburgh, our MSc in Carbon Management is one of the longest running climate change courses in the world and now boasts a global alumni community of over 600 carbon management experts working across more than 60 nations.

A community of practice

ECCI is more than a building – it is a community of leading researchers and practitioners, driving forwards resilience and zero carbon action across Scotland and beyond. ECCI is home to:

  • Post-graduate students spanning the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities. specifically reading carbon management; energy, society and sustainability and environment and development
  • Sustainable Scotland Network – Scotland’s largest network of public section sustainability professionals
  • SNIFFER and Adaptation Scotland – A charity that provide advice and support to help Scotland be prepared and resilience to the effects of climate change
  • ClimateXChange (CXC) – Working on behalf of the Scottish government and its agencies, CXC acts as a knowledge broker between researchers and policy
  • Scottish Carbon Capture and Storage – The largest CCS research group in the UK, coordinating all aspects of CCS in Scotland
  • Wave Energy Scotland – Accelerates development of cost-effective wave energy technology for deployment in Scotland
  • Tomorrow’s Cities – The UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) Urban Disaster Risk Hub
  • Place-Based Climate Action Network (PCAN) – A UK Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) supported network that is about translating climate policy into action on the ground

The COP26 Universities network

We are proud members of the COP26 Universities Network, which is led on behalf of the University of Edinburgh by ECCI’s Director Professor Dave Reay.

Its mission is to ensure that the UK academic sector plays its role in delivering a successful COP26, getting all players on track to deliver a low-carbon, resilient world. We will do this through easing access to evidence and academic expertise for government, non-governmental organisations and by taking action ourselves.

The network is actively developing activities and outputs across a range of key areas, such as public engagement, adaptation, innovation, and net-zero universities. This includes climate change briefings for government and other major stakeholders, with University of Edinburgh experts having already contributed to influential briefings on ‘Green Recovery’ and on ‘Just Transition’.

The COP26 Universities Network released a briefing in January that advised  reducing emissions must be a priority for UK universities, but carbon offsetting can also play an important role in the transition to net-zero.

The briefing, developed with the Environmental Association for Universities and Colleges, provides guidance to support universities and colleges developing offsetting policies as part of their net-zero strategies.

Global Leaders

We are working with local and national partners to ensure that Edinburgh and Scotland show global leadership in addressing the problem of reducing climate emissions. This means quantifying and taking ownership of our contribution to climate change and using a place-based approach to bring emissions down to net zero.

One of the ways we are doing this is through the Edinburgh Climate Commission, a cross-sector network established in February 2020, which is hosted by ECCI and co-sponsored by the University of Edinburgh and City of Edinburgh Council.

The Edinburgh Climate Compact is the latest output of the Edinburgh Climate Commission. It is the first time in Scotland that employers spanning the education, health, finance, construction, public and private sectors have come together to agree a change in working practices in order to address climate change. The partnership currently has six signatories: The University of Edinburgh, Baillie Gifford, NatWest, NHS Lothian, Robertson Group and the City of Edinburgh.

The Commission is part of Place-Based Climate Action Network (PCAN), which helps turn climate policy into action on the ground in Edinburgh, Leeds and Belfast. PCAN aims to accelerate action and impact on climate change in cities and provides independent, expert advice to enable and support the best choices being made for Edinburgh.
To find out more about the ECCI visit -