Institutions, climate services and adaptation: Examining co-production of knowledge in Regional Climate Outlook Forums

New studies being conducted by CCCEP researchers in Leeds seek to examine and ultimately improve the co-production of climate knowledge.

The project, conducted by Dr Meaghan Daly and led by Prof Suraje Dessai, compares Regional Climate Outlook Forums in South Asia, southern Africa and the Mediterranean, looking at the way national, regional and international climate experts come together to develop consensus-based regional climate forecasts.

It seeks to discover whether co-production takes different forms in different regions, and what can be learned from any similarities and differences.

Further research will follow in 2018, examining case studies from newly-formed National Climate Outlook Forums.

It is hoped the project will provide valuable insights for those involved in working with RCOFs across the globe.

Project Rationale

‘Co-production of knowledge’ is often conceived of as iterative and collaborative engagement between scientists and decision-makers to produce actionable scientific knowledge. Co-production is increasingly considered an important component of generating climate information and services that can inform climate adaptation decision-making, but there is still uncertainty about how co-production processes should be designed and implemented.

Regional Climate Outlook Forums (RCOFs) were first established in Africa 20 years ago, but have since expanded to many regions around the world. RCOFs bring together national, regional, and international climate experts to develop consensus-based regional climate forecasts. RCOFs are also dedicated platforms for scientists, policy makers and non-governmental actors to interact with climate scientists on a regular basis to develop outlooks and advisories. RCOFs are sites of co-production and therefore present a valuable learning opportunity to understand opportunities and barriers to co-production of climate services in the future.

Project Approach

This project proposes a comparative research study to examine co-production processes within multiple RCOFs, in order to enable learning across multiple cases through a multi-methods research approach. It is anticipated this research will generate learning to inform improved knowledge co-production in the future.

Examination of the RCOFs would seek to address the following questions:

  1. Does co-production take different forms in different regions? What are the similarities and differences? Why do these exist and what can we learn from this?
  2. How do various actors involved in the RCOFs understand the concept of ‘co-production’? How does this influence the co-production processes and outcomes?
  3. How do co-production processes influence the perceived credibility, salience, and legitimacy of the seasonal forecast information among the various actors? The project will comprise a comparative study of 3 RCOFs in 2017, including the South Asia Climate Outlook Forum (SASCOF), the Southern Africa Climate Outlook Forum (SARCOF), and the Mediterranean Climate Outlook Forum (MEDCOF). The research will employ a mixed methods (quantitative and qualitative) approach. National case studies will be selected for further study in 2018. National case studies will examine newly formed National Climate Outlook Forums (NCOFs).It is anticipated the study will provide valuable insights for actors and organisations that coordinate and implement RCOFs around the globe. Learning across sites can help to strengthen knowledge co-production processes for climate services development in the future. Results from this study will be shared widely within the climate service community, RCOF networks, and among affiliated stakeholders, both in written publications and presentations.

The CCCEP project is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, and the research will be conducted between October 2016 and September 2018.

For further information, contact  Prof Suraje Dessai ( or post-doctoral researcher Dr Meaghan Daly (