Katharine Vincent

Visiting Researcher, University of Leeds

Katharine Vincent

Director at Kulima Integrated Development Solutions (a South African-based specialist climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction consultancy) and Visiting Associate Professor at the School of Architecture and Planning at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg


I am a geographer with longstanding interests in the broad field of global dimensions of environmental change and its linkages with society.  In particular my interests are vulnerability to climate change and adaptation, including the effective use of climate services to inform decision-making and promote adaptive development.  I focus on applied qualitative research, and am committed to taking a gender-sensitive approach.

My PhD research was undertaken at the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research at the University of East Anglia, and examined the gendered nature of vulnerability to climate change.  I then held a postdoctoral fellowship at the School of Geography, Archaeology and Environmental Studies at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, investigating institutional aspects of climate change, adaptation theory and practice, and food security and social protection.

I remain engaged with the climate change adaptation scientific community, and served as a Lead Author on the Rural Areas Chapter, Technical Summary, and cross-chapter Gender Box of the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report (Working Group 2 on Vulnerability, Impacts and Adaptation).  I was also a Contributing Author to the Africa chapter of AR5, and to the Africa and Adaptation chapters of the Fourth Assessment Report.  As a Visiting Associate Professor at the University of the Witwatersrand, I supervise and teach postgrads.

My main role is as a Director of Kulima Integrated Development Solutions.  As a research-informed consultancy, we work globally, but with a particular focus on southern and eastern Africa. We support governments, organisations, communities and businesses in reducing vulnerability, and adapting to climate change.  In so doing, we often act as a boundary organisation at the interface between scientists and end-users, including policy-makers, practitioners (in both the public and private sectors) and community members.

Our role centres around making sure that relevant scientific information is “translated” to end-users in a format that enables them to integrate it into their strategic decision-making, and ultimately to adapt to climate change.  The methods through which we fulfil our role as a boundary organisation include research and analysis, scoping studies, screening activities for climate risk, institutional and policy analysis, developing strategy documents, guidebooks and toolkits, presentations, training courses and facilitation of conferences and workshops, and project design (particularly with reference to climate finance opportunities). We believe in the use of participatory processes of needs assessment as a prerequisite to designing effective and targeted strategies for climate change.

Research interests

  • climate vulnerability, including the development and use of indicators (including for use in monitoring progress towards vulnerability reduction)
  • adaptation and adaptive pathways/adaptive development
  • gender, intersectionality and vulnerability and adaptation to climate change
  • climate services, particularly in southern Africa
  • institutional structures around addressing climate change at various levels of governance
  • environmental and climate policy

Research articles

Working papers

Policy publications