Skip to main navigation Skip to main content
The University of Southampton

Southampton researcher joins Commonwealth partnership of rising stars to accelerate climate action

Published: 18 March 2021
Hands in soil with plants
Commonwealth Futures Climate Research Cohort features 26 rising-star researchers from 16 countries.

Later this year in Glasgow, one message will take centre stage at the 26th UN Climate Change Conference (COP26): to safeguard our planet, we must work together across borders, industries, and academic disciplines.

With universities round the world playing an essential role in the success of the planet’s collective climate agenda, the Commonwealth, the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU) and the British Council have partnered to establish the Commonwealth Futures Climate Research Cohort , supporting 26 rising-star researchers from 16 countries to bring their expertise to a global stage.

Amongst those named is Dr Wassim Dbouk , University of Southampton alumnus and Policy Research Fellow in the Southampton Marine and Maritime Institute (SMMI) and Public Policy|Southampton .

Following his PhD in Marine Environmental Law at Southampton, and building on his diverse experience in the private, public, legal, and research sectors - most notably with the Lebanese Parliament – Dr Dbouk has a broad, flexible skillset and an astute understanding of the interaction between research, law and policy.

In his current role, he is actively collaborating with colleagues within the SMMI on several interdisciplinary research projects and specialises in creating and delivering policy engagement opportunities. He is currently working closely with the Maritime and Coastguard Agency to create and ensure impactful knowledge exchange from expertise found within the SMMI and policymakers.

“Climate change poses a significant threat to communities and biodiversity all around the globe,” says Dr Dbouk. “As we work towards averting dangerous levels of climate change and mitigating its detrimental consequences, it is now crucial for researchers from around the world to bring together their various areas of expertise in collaborative projects. Moreover, and in order to produce tangible positive impact, it is equally as important for such projects to embed clear strategies for translating research outcomes into evidence capable of informing future policy action.

Dr Wassim Dbouk
Dr Wassim Dbouk is a Policy Research Fellow in the SMMI.

“I am delighted to be selected as a member of the Commonwealth Futures Climate Research Cohort and I am very excited to start engaging with fellows and senior experts around various research and policy engagement activities ahead of the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) in November,” he adds.

This Cohort pools expertise in areas closely aligned with the COP26 UK Presidency’s thematic priorities, including climate adaptation and resilience, climate finance, agriculture, land and marine ecosystems, and energy transition. By facilitating international collaboration, the programme seeks to break down silos between disciplines and borders, enabling bright minds to work together in pursuit of a common goal.

In the run up to COP26 , Dr Dbouk will join his fellow rising stars as they access expert-led training to build their skills in leadership, knowledge exchange, and policy influence – and work collaboratively to identify opportunities to engage with issues related to climate and environment. Senior experts in climate research will also be participating as mentors to the rising stars, creating an enabling environment for success in the pivot from research to action.

Dr Joanna Newman, MBE FRSA, Chief Executive and Secretary General of the ACU said: “With the UK-chaired COP26 over the horizon, we’re proud to be supporting a new generation of climate research leaders -- who will be critical allies for governments to deliver on their climate commitments and promote a just, green recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Professor Damon Teagle , Director of the SMMI, said: “Dr Dbouk’s maritime law background, experience with influencing and guiding policymakers and regulators, and his growing technical knowledge of many of the challenges facing the oceans, its life and the large populations who live by and rely on the oceans, make him well placed to both benefit from this opportunity as well as make extremely valuable contributions to the Commonwealth Climate Research Cohort.”

Dr Dbouk is one of just two members of the Cohort based at UK universities. The remainder of the group are at institutions in Jamaica, Sri Lanka, Nigeria, Cyprus, the Seychelles, Ghana, New Zealand, Eswatini, Australia, Mauritius, Barbados, Fiji, Canada and Singapore.

Privacy Settings