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ASATRYAN Gayane Laureate of the German call
Home institution : Australia, University of Queensland
Project : Paleogene Polar Plankton and Productivity (the P4 Project)
Host institution : Museum für Naturkunde, Leibniz-Institut für
Evolutions- und Biodiversitätsforschung, Berlin

Virtually all carbon dioxide (CO2) released to the atmosphere is eventually removed by the ocean’s phytoplankton, which capture it as living tissues (organic carbon or skeletal materials) in the sunlit surface oceans; then when the plankton cells die and sink, export it into the deep ocean and ocean bottom sediments. This process, called the ocean carbon pump, is the only significant planetary long-term (centuries or longer) removal mechanism for CO2, as other forms of capture (e.g. land vegetation) only store carbon as long as the vegetation grows. Polar phytoplankton, particularly the silica-shelled diatoms, are particularly important in the carbon pump. The species dominating pump activity are mostly cold water forms and may become less effective, or in part even go extinct, if ocean waters warm to levels predicted by global warming climate models, thus damaging the pump and worsening global warming. The only analogs to such a future warm polar ocean are however found only in the distant geologic past, e.g. in the warm Eocene period, shortly before the oceans cooled into the following glacial Oligocene period. The project will clarify how polar plankton, the carbon pump, and climate change interact via an integrated study across the Eocene-Oligocene boundary. Our goals are 1) to better understand how changes in oceanography and plankton evolution, particularly in polar regions, contributed, via changes in global ocean productivity and the earth’s carbon cycle, to the dramatic cooling of global climate during this time interval; 2) to characterize how polar ocean productivity and the carbon pump functioned in the warm, high atmospheric pCO2 world, and 3) to identify environmental controls on silica-shelled plankton evolution and biodiversity, particularly extinction risks in plankton associated with major climate change. Our study uniquely blends paleoclimate and paleobiodiversity methods to understand the joint climate-biotic system. It also uniquely focusses on the most direct records of these events – the plankton and deep-sea sediments in polar regions, although we also include geochemical proxies of ocean conditions from low latitude regions, and syntheses of published global deep-sea sediment data. Diatoms are targeted but we also use radiolarians as these are well preserved, species rich, and highly sensitive to ocean conditions in both polar and tropical regions, including water depth specific marker species. Methods include tracing polar water mass development and intermediate water depth export of nutrients from poles to low latitude upwelling systems; global syntheses of ocean productivity via biogenic opal and carbonate export rates in ocean sediments; standard geochemical proxies (stable isotopes, element ratios) of ocean water conditions in both low and high latitudes; and biodiversity surveys of diatom and radiolarian biotas over time. Innovative technical tools will be used in the project, including advanced 3-D microimaging for radiolarian species taxonomy, “big-data” syntheses of global ocean sediment export via integration of global community science databases (Pangea, NSB), and ocean circulation models to place our data in a meaningful global oceanic context.


BALAJI Venkatramani Laureate of the French call
Home institution : USA, Princeton
Project : HRMES – High-resolution Modeling of the Earth System
Host institution : Laboratoire des sciences du climat et de l’environnement, Saclay

Project Hermès has the key aim of addressing sources of uncertainty in our understanding of the Earth system and its variability and evolution under changes in external forcings. The uncertainty comes from our inability to resolve key processes relevant to climate: principally the role of clouds, but we hypothesize that similar approaches can be applied in the ocean for key mixing processes that are also below the current resolution threshold. The project can be summarized as follows: Conduct very high-resolution simulations of key processes in the atmosphere and oceans which are below the threshold available in global models today. Such simulations will be at the limit of capability on todays computing technology. Given trends in computational technology, use these simulations to build and train fast approximate models of the Earth system, to explore uncertainties in the system using ensembles that are beyond possibility with the full model.


BALLANTYNE Ashley Laureate of the French call
Home institution : USA, University of Montana
Project : POMELO – Testing processes in Earth System Models with global satellite and atmospheric observations
Host institution : Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l’Environnement, Saclay

One of the largest sources of uncertainty for climate predictions is due to carbon-climate feedbacks in Earth System Models (ESMs), where some ESMs indicate that land carbon (C) sinks will persist and others indicate that they may become C sources. For this reason the World Climate Research Program has identified carbon-feedbacks in the climate system as one of their grand challenges. To address this challenge, we have proposed three specific research objectives within the Process Oriented Model Evaluation- Linked to Observations (POMELO) project. (R1) We will combine satellite observations and atmospheric observations to resolve Net C Exchange (NEE) into its key processes of gross primary productivity and total ecosystem respiration (NEE=GPP-TER) to test their sensitivity to climate. (R2) To better diagnose processes leading to biased estimates of C turnover times in ESMs, we will evaluate how well ESMs perform at reproducing 14C tracers in Earths atmosphere, biosphere, and ocean to constrain turnover times of anthropogenic carbon. (R3) We will also evaluate stomatal response to changes in climate and CO2 in ESM simulations. It is apparent that ESMs use different stomatal functions in predicting vegetation response to changes in atmospheric CO2 and H2O vapor, which results in different rates of C uptake. All analyses in R1-R3 will be compared to the latest ESM simulations made available through the 6th Climate Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP6). By accomplishing these short-term research objectives, we wish to promote the long term goal of process oriented global model evaluation linked to global C cycle observations-POMELO.


BOUCHARD Frédéric Laureate of the French call
Home institution : Canada, Institut national de la recherche scientifique du Québec
Project : PEGS – PErmafrost and Greenhouse gas dynamics in Siberia
Host institution : Laboratoire Géosciences Paris-Sud (GEOPS), Saclay

Occupying nearly a quarter of the land surface in the northern hemisphere, permafrost (frozen ground) is currently undergoing rapid and dramatic changes because of climate warming. Containing nearly twice as much carbon as in the global atmosphere, permafrost landscapes can be considered as potential hotspots of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, notably CO2 and CH4 released from thermokarst (thaw) lakes. Moreover, several Artic villages are built on permafrost and their communities strongly rely on lake-rich landscapes for their traditional lifestyle (e.g., fishing/hunting grounds). Climate change is thus putting pressure on Arctic ecosystems, and thermokarst lakes play a central role in mobilizing organic matter within these sensitive environments. As a global society, how will we cope with such a quick change? We must foster new discoveries in this vitally important new area of permafrost systems science. The main goal of this project, called PErmafrost and Greenhouse gas dynamics in Siberia (PEGS), is to identify the factors that control organic carbon mobilization (especially GHG emissions) resulting from permafrost degradation in Central Yakutia (Siberia), a region affected by one of the thickest and ice-richest permafrost in the world. Combining field- based, laboratory and analog modelling experiments, we will investigate the complex permafrost-carbon- climate feedbacks at the critical zone of the Earth’s surface. By providing urgently needed field and lab data to complement and enhance existing Earth surface models, PEGS will contribute in structuring and consolidating the French Arctic science community as an international leader in climate change issues.


BOUCHAREL Julien Laureate of the French call
Home institution : USA, University of Hawaii
Project : TROCODYN – Tropical Cyclone activity and upper-ocean Dynamics
Host institution : Laboratoire d’Etudes en Géophysique et Océanographie Spatiales, Toulouse

Identifying and understanding the mechanisms involved in hurricane genesis and intensification is paramount to building reliable forecast systems that are beneficial for risk management agencies and coastal populations. The two main goals of the proposed study are 1) to assess and quantify the control of the upper-ocean dynamics on the variability of hurricane activity in the Eastern Pacific and Atlantic basins from intraseasonal to seasonal timescales, 2) account for these mechanisms to provide a theoretical basis crucial to upgrade physical-empirical forecast models. It is proposed to critically evaluate the most recent oceanic, atmospheric in-situ data, reanalyze products and storm track archives focusing on the following key questions: how much of the variability of cyclonic activity in these regions originates from changes in oceanic conditions? To what extent are these changes related to natural modes of oceanic variability? What can we learn from the relatively predictable tropical ocean dynamics to improve hurricane forecasts in these basins? Results derived from observation-based products and theoretical analysis will be confronted to output from state-of-the-art forced and coupled global and regional climate models. This will allow quantifying and comparing, via a variety of sensitivity experiments, the control of different timescales of oceanic variability on the cyclonic activity in these two basins. This research activity fits adequately the scope of the host institution LEGOS, involves numerous internal and external collaborations and will train a PhD student.


CAPRON Emilie Laureate of the French call
Home institution : Denmark, University of Copenhagen
Project : HOTCLIM – CHaracterisation & dynamics Of pasT warm CLIMates
Host institution : Institut des Géosciences de l’Environnement, Grenoble

The anthropogenic-induced warming in the high latitude regions has global climatic implications due to polar ice mass loss, sea level rise and ocean circulation changes. To evaluate the risk of major current and future environmental changes, it is essential to understand climate, cryosphere and carbon cycle feedback processes that occurred during past time periods that were warmer than today. The HOTCLIM project will investigate the strength and variability of high-latitude climate during past warm periods, which exhibit a polar warming comparable to that projected by 2100 due to specific combinations of orbital and atmospheric CO2 forcing. It is based on an approach combining gas analyses on the air trapped in ice cores drilled in Antarctica, climate data syntheses from marine and terrestrial archives, and comparison with outputs from state-of-the-art climate models. The HOTCLIM project will improve our understanding of (1) natural climate variability under orbital and CO2 forcing and (2) of the response of polar ice sheets, sea level and ocean circulation to a prolonged warming. It will provide benchmarks to test climate model performance outside the short-term climate observation range and in a range of temperature changes comparable to projected future warming, hence helping improve climate projections.


CLARK James Laureate of the French call
Home institution : USA, Duke University
Project : FORBIC – The capacity to explain and forecast change in ecological communities with changing climate
Host institution : Laboratoire des écosystèmes et des sociétés en montagne, Grenoble

Climate change is an emerging threat to biodiversity, with risks that cannot be anticipated using current models. The central problem is that species are inter-dependent; the response of any one depends on the responses of all others with which it interacts. Current predictions range from 0 to 50% of species at risk of extinction from climate change. These models either fit and predict each species independently of others, or they ignore species entirely. We propose to develop Generalized Joint Attribute Modeling (GJAM) for ecological forecasts of entire ecological communities and make them accessible to a broad audience in near-real time, emphasizing their applications in Europe. We will develop this approach to address basic science questions and to communicate results through web-based forecasts of the species and communities vulnerable to climate change. First, we will determine to what extent the different combinations of climates and habitats of North America and Europe can explain differences in diversity patterns. With prediction from the fitted model, we can ‘transplant North American floras and faunas to Europe and vice versa. We will determine how combined climate and habitat explain these differences. Second, we will determine how the direct and indirect interactions between species contribute to their climate vulnerabilities. We propose to develop dynamic GJAM to estimate direct species interactions. The two science questions are part of the broader objectives of our study, i) the assimilation of biodiversity and habitat data for habitat prediction under climate change, and ii) web-based forecasts of climate vulnerability, available for scientists, managers, and decision makers.


DERRY Louis Laureate of the French call
Home institution : USA, Cornell University
Project : CZ-TOP – Water, reactions and isotopes in the Critical Zone
Host institution : Institut de Physique du Globe, Paris

Relationships between variations in stream discharge and solute concentrations (C-Q relations) contain information about multiple Critical Zone (CZ) processes, from hydrologic flow paths to weathering reactions to transport time scales. By adding high resolution time series of reactive tracer data (R – isotope ratios of reactive solutes) we will generate C-Q-R data to better understand water movement and reaction in the CZ. By combining recent advances in non-steady state hydrologic modeling, quantitative reactive transport processes, and geochemical tracer data, we can significantly advance our understanding of the combined geochemical and hydrologic processes that generate C-Q-R patterns. Our approach is to treat the Critical Zone as a complex biogeochemical reactor in which fluids and minerals interact as a function of fluid flow path, residence time and reaction. Tracers for weathering reactions such as Ge/Si, ?30Si, and ?44Ca reflect both their mineral sources and equilibrium and kinetic fractionations along their transport path, potentially providing unique constraints on flow paths and time scales. Stream outflow values are the result of a convolution of multiple individual transit times. Working with newly developed infrastructure for high resolution chemical sampling and analysis (CRITEX) we will develop methods for rapid isotope tracer analysis, and integrate new time series for tracer data into reactive transport and non-steady state TTD models. The integrated approach will allow us to interrogate the dynamic subsurface and build a more mechanistically based understanding of the key processes controlling water availability and quality in the Critical Zone.


DEWAR William Laureate of the French call
Home institution : USA, Florida State University
Project : CONTACTS – Parameterize energy dissipation
in the ocean surface/bottom boundary layers for climate simulations Host institution : Institut des Géosciences de l’Environnement, Grenoble

The Earth’s climate evolution and sensitivity to human influences strongly depend on the dynamics of the ocean, which absorbs most of the excess heat and greenhouse gases, redistributes them around the globe, and may eventually flux them back into the atmosphere. Numerical climate simulators now partially resolve ocean ‘weather’ (spatial scales of ~100km, time scales of a few months, the strongest ocean variability in climate dynamics) and because of that provide better climate forecoasts than previous models. The dynamics of mesoscale ocean weather at larger scales is rather well simulated today. In contrast, the interaction of ocean weather with smaller scale flows (scales of ~10km) represents a significant sink of kinetic energy, which is still crudely understood, quantified, and simulated. More importantly, the misrepresentation in ocean models of this small-scale energy sink adversely affects the ocean’s full energy spectrum, and hence yields important inconsistencies in ocean-atmosphere models used for climate projections. The CONTaCTS project aims to study and parameterize this missing effect where it is critical: within the surface and bottom boundary layers of the ocean, where it interacts with the atmosphere and topography. Our team will gather experts in Geophysical Fluid Dynamics, sub-meso/mesoscale turbulence, and high-resolution global ocean models. The project will contribute to improve such models (in particular NEMO) and climate simulators, to interpret and exploit future observations at very high resolution (SWOT satellite altimeter to be launched in 2021), with foreseen benefits for operational oceanography.


ERVENS Barbara Laureate of the French call
Home institution : USA, Cooperative Institute for Environmental Sciences (CIRES, University of Colorado) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Project : MOBIDIC – Modeling biologically-driven processes in clouds
Host institution : Institut de Chimie, Clermont Ferrand

The project MOBIDIC (MOdeling BIologically-Driven processes In Clouds) aims at improving the representation of biological processes in clouds. Cloud droplets can be considered media where chemical, physical and biological processes occur. Chemical composition of cloud water affects rain composition which impacts air quality and soil; in addition, evaporating cloud droplets release aerosol particles that – depending on their composition and size – lead to cooling or warming of the atmosphere and to subsequent cloud formation.
While chemical processes in cloud droplets are relatively well studied, the importance of bacteria in converting chemical species in clouds cannot be estimated yet due to the lack of suitable numerical model codes. Laboratory and ambient data (e.g., from the local Puy de Dôme station) on bacteria processes and abundance in clouds will be used to complement current chemical clouds models to assess the importance of biological processes in cloud droplets.
In addition to their role in liquid water clouds, biological particles are known to act as nuclei, on which the formation of ice clouds can occur. We will evaluate available data on ice nucleation activity of various microbiota and categorize them under physical, chemical and/or biological aspects. This approach will lead to identifying trends and to finally develop comprehensive model descriptions of ice cloud formation.
In summary, MODIBIC will result in highly needed tools to the scientific community to predict the role of microbiota in the atmosphere and their subsequent interactions with all compartments of the Earth.


FEDOROV Alexey Laureate of the French call
Home institution : USA, Yale University
Project : ARCHANGE – The impact of Arctic sea ice decline on ocean circulation, decadal variability and climate change
Host institution : Laboratoire d’océanographie et du climat : expérimentations et approches numériques, Paris

Global climate change is already affecting major elements of the Earths climate system, but its impacts are especially pronounced in the northern high latitudes. Specifically, a dramatic decline of Arctic sea ice has occurred over the past three decades with the sea ice areal extent decreasing by nearly 30%. Moreover, permanent sea ice is expected to disappear before the end of this century. The goal of this project is to investigate how this sea ice decline affects global ocean circulation including the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) – the key component of the ocean conveyor that transports heat from low to high latitudes, modulating global and European climates. The projects central hypothesis is that sea ice decline acts to warm and freshen the upper Arctic ocean, generating positive buoyancy anomalies. On multi-decadal timescales, these anomalies spread to the North Atlantic, suppressing deep convection (the sinking of cold surface waters) and thus weakening the AMOC. The resulting changes can modify weather and climate patterns around Europe (e.g. North Atlantic temperatures and the jet stream path) and globally (El Niño and tropical precipitation). A critical question is whether Arctic sea ice decline can accelerate the potential collapse of the AMOC with global warming. Another important question concerns climate links between different ocean basins – for example, the Arctic and the Atlantic, or the Arctic and the Pacific. To study this broad problem, the project invokes a hierarchy of numerical experiments using state-of-the-art climate and ocean general circulation models (GCMs) and comprehensive data amd model analyses. The work is conducted at Institut Pierre Simon Laplace (IPSL), the largest climate research institution in France, and is hosted at Laboratoire d’Océanographie et du Climat: Expérimentations et Approches Numériques (LOCEAN).


FORTE Alessandro Laureate of the French call
Home institution : USA, University of Florida
Project : Geodynamic perturbations of climate signals
Host institution : Equipe de géomagnétisme, Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris

The focus of this project will be on the quantification and mapping of the detailed spatio-temporal connections between Earth’s internal dynamics and climate related signals recorded by surface geological markers. These signals include sea level variations and astronomical (Milankovitch) forcing of paleoclimate variations recorded in sedimentary rocks and deposits. The sea level data of special interest are highstands recorded during warm periods, notably Pleistocene interglaciations, the Mid Pliocene Warm Period, and the Paleoce- Eocene. Geological sea level markers during these warm periods provide important clues about the future vulnerability of polar ice masses. Earth’s internal dynamics are driven by global scale movement of hot rocks, a process called thermal convection, that occurs deep inside our planet’s rocky mantle. The current outstanding questions concern the impact of mantle convection on: (1) bedrock topography and sea level changes; (2) Earth’s orbital parameters and Milankovitch cycles; (3) changes of Earth’s rotation axis. It has recently become evident that mantle dynamics can significantly perturb these surface processes on multi-millennial time scales, where glacial isostatic adjustment is usually regarded as the dominant contributor. This project will therefore carry out state-of-the-art computational geodynamic simulations that build on realistic inferences of internal 3-D structure and viscosity of the mantle. These calculations will reconstruct the evolution of mantle dynamics over the past 70 million years of Earth history. This modelling, in conjunction with data analysis, will seek to resolve outstanding questions regarding past sea level changes, the implications for the stability of large polar ice masses in the geological past and hence the implications for their future evolution.


GUEMAS Virginie Laureate of the French call
Home institution : Spain, Centro Nacional de supercomputacion
Project : ASET – Atmosphere – Sea ice Exchanges and Teleconnections
Host institution : Centre National de Recherches Météorologiques, Toulouse

Over the last decades, the Arctic sea ice has experienced a drastic decline which is expected to continue in the near-term future. Arctic changes are thought to impact the mid-latitude atmospheric circulation to an extent and through mechanisms which are still highly debated. The inability of state-of-the-art climate models to capture accurately both the rate of Arctic sea ice changes and their impact on lower latitudes is hypothesized to originate from inaccuracies in the representation of atmosphere-sea ice heat exchanges. The ASET project offers to improve the realism of modelled Arctic climate changes and linkages between polar and mid-latitude regions through the development of novel formulations of turbulent heat exchanges between the atmosphere and sea ice. The inadequate formulations currently used for turbulent heat fluxes are mostly due to the lack of available observations in polar regions up-to-date. Within the framework of the Year of Polar Prediction which starts in 2017 and will last until 2019, several observational campaigns are being or will soon be launched in the Arctic and Antarctic. ASET aims at exploiting these new data to develop novel formulations for sensible and latent heat fluxes at the sea ice surface. The impact of these developments will be assessed in historical simulations and in climate change projections. Improving the realism of climate models is an essential step to provide trustworthy climate information to end users. The novel formulations of turbulent heat fluxes to be proposed in ASET could be exploited in the whole fluid mechanics domain.


KIKO Rainer Laureate of the French call
Home institution : Germany, GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel
Project : Tropical Atlantic Deoxygenation
Host institution : Laboratoire d’Océanographie, Villefranche sur Mer

Ocean deoxygenation disrupts marine ecosystems, affects fish stocks and aquaculture and leads to loss of habitat and biodiversity. (Kiel Declaration 2019; Oschlies, […], Kiko et al.). Ocean deoxygenation in the recent past was to a large extent caused by global warming, but residual effects might be linked to enhanced oxygen demand in deeper water layers. Ocean deoxygenation affects the highly dynamic upwelling ecosystems of the Eastern Tropical Atlantic (ETA). These ecosystems are regions of intense oceanic productivity and critical for food supply to millions of people. Ocean deoxygenation in these regions might continue due to increased stratification, feedbacks in plankton dynamics, increased respiratory demand and a slowing-down of oxygen supply via the equatorial current system. Establishment of a sustained observation and modelling system for plankton and particle dynamics in the ETA and particularly at the equatorial gateway to the ETA is the major objective of our project. The planned efforts will enable us to elucidate how equatorial current dynamics and biological oxygen demand impact atmospheric carbon uptake, oxygen distribution and available habitat for fish in the ETA. Our work will also establish a basis for a global network of autonomous integrated observation systems on moorings, floats and gliders that will allow a real time assessment of crucial aspects of the global carbon cycle and marine food security.


LUCAS-PICHER Philippe Laureate of the French call
Home institution : Canada, Université du Québec
Project : KM-IMPACTS – Analysis of the impacts of climate change using kilometer-scale regional climate models over Europe
Host institution : Centre national de recherches météorologiques, Toulouse

With the recent increase in computational power, long 1-3 km grid-mesh Regional Climate Model (RCM) simulations became computationally affordable few years ago. This new generation of RCMs, often called CPRCMs for Convection-Permitting RCMs, has the particularity to resolve explicitly deep convection phenomena, thus removing one of the key uncertainty in nowadays climate simulations. This project will address the improvements of fine-scale high-impact weather events in CPRCM simulations on climate time scales to pave the way to the next generation of climate services. Moreover, a thorough analysis of global climate model (GCM), classic RCM and new CPRCM simulations will be performed to assess the robustness of their climate- change signals. This project will take advantage of the simulations from the CORDEX Flagship Pilot Study Convection and EUCP projects covering a large part of Europe. Additional CPRCM simulations with the AROME model will be performed over two new regions, one covering the Mediterranean Islands and another covering France. One major aspect of this project will consist in the analysis of the changes of fine-scale meteorological phenomena over the Mediterranean Islands in climate change simulations. Through the project, best practices in using regional climate models will also be elaborated. Finally, new CPRCM climate simulations will be exploited in two impact studies. The first one consists in the analysis of the impacts of climate change on floods using improved hourly meteorological variables over Europe. The second impact study will focus on the future evolution of the urban climate of some large European cities using the more realistic simulated meteorological variables over a diurnal cycle.


RICHARDS Christina Laureate of the German call
Home institution : USA, University of South Florida
Project : Genomics and Epigenomics of Plant Invasion
Host institution : Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen

In the context of climate change, understanding the mechanisms involved in species resilience is a critical issue for maintaining biodiversity and global sustainability. Biological invasions are an increasing global problem, with dramatic ecological and economic consequences. To manage current invaders and prevent future invasions it is critical to understand the processes underlying successful biological invasions. For instance, we know that successful invasive species often rapidly evolve and adapt to their novel environments. The precise mechanisms, from genome to plant phenotypes and biotic interactions, are however rarely understood. Moreover, a true understanding of an invasive species requires a cross-continental perspective, and the comparison of its ecology and evolution in the native versus introduced range. In project “Genomics and epigenomics of plant invasion”, we will complete an integrative and cross-continental study of the aggressive plant invader Japanese knotweed, which experiences drastic changes in abiotic and biotic environments pressure in its introduced range. To understand the evolutionary processes during this invasion, and its underlying mechanisms, we have assembled a team of German, US and Chinese researchers with complementary expertise in invasion biology and ecological genomics. We will complete a global survey of molecular and phenotypic diversity coupled with measures of the abiotic and biotic environments of 200 Japanese knotweed populations. Then, we will combine field observation with common-garden and experimental approaches, with genomic methods to characterize how this globally successful invasive accommodates environmental challenges. Our project will be unique in its combination of geographic scale and biological depth, and it will provide important insights about one of the world’s worst invasive species. We hope that it will become a model for successful cross-continental collaboration.


TANAKA Katsumasa Laureate of the French call
Home institution : Japan, National Institute for Environmental Studies
Project : Achieving the Paris Agreement Temperature Targets
Host institution : Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l’Environnement, CEA, Gif-sur-Yvette

The Paris Agreement aims to stabilize the global warming at 2 °C and eventually at 1.5 °C. Many countries, regions, cities, sectors, organization, and individuals are making efforts and commitments to achieve such goals. However, the actual challenges are so gross that the current efforts and near-future commitments do not add up to meet the goals effectively. The present circumstance points to a need to understand the consequence of exceeding 2 °C at least temporarily. This project consists of three studies related to temperature overshoot scenarios. The first study will be based on the scenarios containing temperature overshoot of different durations and magnitudes. It will investigate the underlying emission pathways and other phenomena such as sea-ice extent, ice sheet melting stability, shifts in hydrology, and abrupt ocean circulation changes. The second study will address “learning” of uncertainties as a result of more observations and better understanding in the future. It will explore how the learning might be in the future and how future emission pathways could adapt to such learning. The third study will deal with emission metrics to express non-CO2 emissions on the common scale of CO2, a key tool to for the multi-gas policy. It will investigate what metrics are consistent with the Agreement goals including overshoot cases. These three studies will be carried out by means of a compact Integrated Assessment model, compact and full-fledged earth system models, and CMIP6 datasets where applicable. The project will aim to inform the political debate on the choice of future pathways and provide inputs to the Global Stocktake in 2023.


TEIXIDO Nuria Laureate of the French call
Home institution : USA, Hopkins Marine Station of Stanford University Project : 4Oceans – Predicting future oceans under climate change Host institution : Laboratoire d’Océanographie, Villefranche-sur-Mer

The increasing concentration of atmospheric CO2 is driving changes in the oceans physical and chemical properties, with important consequences for its ecosystems and the critical services they provide to humans. Projections using the IPCC business-as-usual scenario (RCP8.5) suggest a sea surface warming of 3.2°C, a decrease in surface pH of 0.4 units by 2100 relative to 1870, and an overall increase of environmental variability. Despite the oceans critical role in regulating Earths climate and contributing to the overall biodiversity of Earth, knowledge on the impacts of global change on marine ecosystems lags behind those on terrestrial ecosystems. The 4Oceans project seeks to investigate the physiological, ecological and adaptive responses of marine organisms to ocean warming and ocean acidification. We will adopt a multidisciplinary approach by combining: i) ecological and physiological field surveys and experiments in marine volcanic CO2 vents, which cause local acidification of seawater and are used as proxy to represent future acidification conditions; and sites in the NW Mediterranean with highly variable seasonal temperatures and extreme heat waves;; ii) ecophysiological laboratory experiments; iii) functional, trait-based analysis of biodiversity and synthesis; and iv) ocean-based solution and restoration actions to minimize the impacts.This project aims to advance our understanding of species and ecosystem resilience under present conditions and future climate scenarios and will be critical for developing regional and local strategies to reduce ecological and economic loss through mitigation and adaptation.


THOMAS Helmuth Laureate of the German call
Home institution : Canada, Dalhousie University
Project : The Ocean’s Alkalinity : Connecting geological and metabolic processes and time-scales
Host institution : Helmholtz-Zentrum hereon –  Institut für Kohlenstoff-Kreislauf, Mariner Kohlenstoffkreislauf

The project addresses the role of oceans as regulators of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2), thus making a crucial contribution to maintaining climate on Earth in a habitable range. This regulatory function is biogeochemically performed by the ocean’s CO2 and pH buffer capacity: alkalinity. Alkalinity is generated by rock weathering, and by natural and human-induced anaerobic processes in sediments of coastal seas. The processes in coastal seas are related to eutrophication such that enhanced nutrient runoff increases alkalinity generation and the risk of deoxygenation and acidification. Climate change and its mitigation both have the potential to perturb the long term stability of the ocean’s alkalinity: ice traction will expose rock surface, hitherto covered, to weathering and erosion. Attempts to mitigate and lower atmospheric CO2 levels will necessarily involve the use of bioenergy to a large extent, which comes with the need to massively employ fertilizers and its consequence: eutrophication and potentially alkalinization of coastal seas. Research will investigate in which measure and to which extent human activities and climate change affect the ocean’s alkalinity, particularly the impact of nitrogen fertilizers on coastal seas including the subsequent risk of acidification and deoxygenation. The project will be carried out collaboratively with the Universities of Oldenburg, Hamburg and Exeter (UK), and the Alfred-Wegener- Institute for Polar and Sea Research.


VALLA Pierre Laureate of the French call
Home institution : Switzerland, Universität Bern
Project : MAGICLIM – Earth Surface dynamics: mountain glaciers
& landscape evolution under a changing climate
Host institution : Institut des Sciences de la Terre, Grenoble

A quantitative understanding of landscape sensitivity to (anthropogenic) climate change requires reconstructing environmental records of past climatic variations and the coupled landscape response. This project focuses on mountain environments (European Alps and Pyrenees) to investigate the interactions between time-evolving climatic settings, (paleo-)glacier dynamics and mountain erosion. Geomorphological and paleo-environmental records will be acquired and combined to evaluate how climate, glaciers and erosion processes interact over millennial timescales. A multi-disciplinary approach will be applied following two complementary directions: (1) high-resolution reconstruction of past glacial extents from innovative methods in earth-surface geochronology and numerical ice-flow models to disentangle the respective forcing of temperature and precipitation changes on paleo-glacier fluctuations; (2) quantification of both glacial and post-glacial erosion in alpine settings, combined with sediment provenance to apprehend how geomorphic processes and timescales interact in regulating the landscape response to a changing climate. Paleo-glacier reconstructions, paleo-environmental data and erosion records will be integrated as calibration constraints into surface-process models to quantitatively assess the sensitivities of mountain glaciers and landscapes to long-term climate forcing. This will ultimately provide a deeper understanding of the physical processes and interrelated mechanisms involved in the Earth Surface dynamics, thus enabling predictive tools to evaluate the Earth Surfaces response to past, current and future climate change.


WANG Chien Laureate of the French call
Home institution : USA, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Project : EUROACE – Enhancing the Understanding of the Roles of Aerosols in Climate and Environment
Host institution : Laboratoire d’aérologie, Toulouse

Aerosol remains one of the most uncertain factors in projecting climate change. The project is to advance the knowledge about the critical while still poorly understood issue of climate impacts of aerosol-cloud interaction, and to innovate new methods to improve representations of key aerosol-cloud physical processes. A multiscale modeling framework including global, regional and cloud-scale models developed by the partners will be improved and deployed to study the responses of cloud features, circulation, and precipitation to aerosol variations from abundance to chemical compositions and mixing states. Observations from field campaigns, satellite, to climate, aerosol and atmospheric chemistry networks will be extensively used to constrain model simulations. The cloud system responses will be simulated with convection-resolving resolution while large domain coverage to resolve aerosol-cloud interaction in sufficient details under various large-scale environments. Advanced methods such as probabilistic collocation method will be used to derive computationally efficient meta models in high-dimensional parametric space to represent critical processes including ice multiplication, ice nucleation, and precipitation onsite. We will experiment using deep learning and large quantity of results from large-eddy-simulation model with explicit aerosol and cloud microphysics to derive parameterization for aerosol-cloud interaction in deep convection for global and regional models. New schemes will then be used in global model to further examine the climate impacts of aerosol-cloud interaction. We will also share new schemes and findings with broader research communities.
CNRS-French National Center for Scientific Research, IRD-LOCEAN, LSCE, Paris, France]


WU Henry C. Laureate of the German call
Home institution : France, CNRS-French National Center for Scientific Research, Paris
Project : Witnesses to the Climate Emergency: Ocean acidi?cation crisis and global warming observations from tropical corals (OASIS)
Host institution : Leibniz-Zentrum für Marine Tropenforschung, Bremen

Human-induced global climate change is one of the biggest threats and concerns for our society and environment. The increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide levels are not only warming the Earth’s surface and ocean temperatures but are also increasing the ac idity of our shallow marine environments. This process, known as ocean acidification, occurs because our oceans absorb massive amounts of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide from the Earth’s atmosphere. When excess carbon dioxide reacts with seawater, carbonic acid is formed and this results in the decrease of seawater pH that threatens the ability of calcifying organisms to build their functional skeletons. The consequences of decreasing ocean pH are severe for ecosystems because these calcifying organisms form the food-web foundation in shallow tropical oceans. Thus stresses in those ecosystems have also implications for global fishing economy.
Project OASIS will investigate the development of ocean acidification because current understanding and scientific knowledge on the effects of ocean acidification in the tropics has so far been very limited. This is due to the lack of reliable long-term seawater pH monitoring and measurements as well as the difficulty in reconstructing past changes in pH and ocean chemistry in the oceans. Through the analysis of boron isotopes in long-lived massive tropical corals, the goal of Project OASIS is to determine the pH values of seawater in various geographical regions of the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans. Boron is a natural component of seawater and its isotopes are sensitive to changes in ocean pH. Corals take in this seawater to form their calcareous skeleton and any change in pH can be detected in the boron isotopes incorporated in the coral skeleton. By determining the pH over the most recent few hundred years, Project OASIS will reconstruct the global development of ocean acidification and assess the rates of change in ocean chemistry of our tropical oceans before and after the Industrial Revolution. These results will provide valuable data to understand the process of carbon dioxide uptake into the oceans, the magnitude of global ocean acidification, and draw conclusions on the changing climate parameters. Furthermore, the scientific outcome of this project can provide important information to policymakers and stakeholders who are committed to mitigating the increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide and comprehend the impact of corrosive seawater on fragile marine calcifiers.


CADIAU Amandine Laureate of the French call
Home institution : Saudi Arabia, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology
Project : APPAT – Discovery of new fluorinated MOFs for toxic gas capture, conversion/degradation into valuable fuel
Host institution : Institut Charles Gerhardt, Montpellier

Air quality is a must and becomes a major concern in our modern society. There is a wide array of hazardous pollutants (NOx, SOx, COx…) that provokes severe health issues and death in Europe. The only plausible solution for air purification is air filtration using adsorbents. Unfortunately, the standard adsorbents (carbons, zeolites) are nowadays largely inefficient because of their non-selectivity, difficult recyclability and no catalytic activity at ambient conditions. The aim of this project is to design a series of highly chemically stable hybrid porous materials, i.e. Fluorinated Metal Organic Frameworks (FMOFs) integrating the functionalities required to capture the most dangerous toxic gases (NOx, SOx and COx) and degrade/transform them into valuable fuel or inert gas. The targeted FMOFs will be constructed from cations with high oxidation states and organic linker displaying high pKa values (azolates) to ensure high stability toward toxic gas and (ii) incorporate chemical (Lewis acid sites or redox active cations)/structural features to selectively adsorb the gases at ppm level and further convert them into valuable fuels or non-toxic molecules. This ambitious project requires to venture into frontier materials chemistry/engineering and to develop an innovative experimental/computational strategy. Propitiously, the transferability of such a concept at the industrial level offers a remarkable ground-breaking solution for our modern society to address the major issue of climate change and to promote a new source of green energy and/or chemicals. These objectives fit with the two priority axes of MOPGA call, i.e. “Climate Change and “Energetic Transition The central component of ACROSS will be a comprehensive summertime field study with many instruments for the measurement of primary and secondary constituents. Measurements will be made from research aircraft, a tower located in a forest, tethered balloons, and mobile platforms. Observations from the field study will be analyzed in a variety of ways involving statistical approaches and comparisons with different types of numerical models. The results of the campaign will be widely disseminated through presentations and peer-reviewed publications. Significant broader impacts are expected including training of students, public outreach, and providing useful information to policymakers.


CANTRELL Christopher Laureate of the French call
Home institution : USA, University Colorado Boulder
Project : ACROSS – Atmospheric ChemistRy Of the Suburban foreSt
Host institution : Laboratoire Interuniversitaire des Systèmes Atmosphériques, Créteil

Humans have recognized for a long time that their air can become contaminated through natural and non- natural events. The problem became particularly apparent as people moved into large cities where the high population density exacerbated the pollution associated with home heating and industry. Awareness became particularly acute when thousands of people died in a few days from severe episodes.In recent decades, significant progress has been made understanding the causes and impacts of urban air pollution, and generally urban air quality has improved through enhanced knowledge and regulatory action. While significant numbers of people still die prematurely each year from air pollution, progress continues to be made. Scientific investigation has exposed the processes by which primary pollutants, such as oxides of nitrogen and volatile organic compounds, are processed in the atmosphere, leading to their oxidation and ultimate removal, while at the same time producing secondary species such as ozone and organic aerosols. Such substances can be toxic for humans, animals and plants. Recent research has uncovered the complex chemistry of natural organic compounds released from trees and other plants. Because of the different chemical structure of these compounds, they react differently than organic substances typically found in urban environments. At present, it is not clear if the mixing of biogenic organic compounds with urban makes air quality better or worse. In the end, the answer may be much more complex than such a question implies. Our goal as scientists is to improve understanding of all relevant processes now, and in the future better solutions to urban air quality problems will be possible. The ACROSS project focuses on scientific research to understand the detailed chemistry and physics of the chemistry of mixed urban and rural air with the goal to use this knowledge to improve the performance of air quality models. Enhanced knowledge and improved models will allow us to develop better strategies to improve air quality and save lives.


COJOCARU Ludmila Laureate of the French call
Home institution : Germany, Institute of Sustainable Systems Engineering
Project : ECS – Hybrid systems combining perovskite solar cells and supercapacitors based on coconuts activated carbon for Energy Conversion – Storage devices
Host institution : Institut des Sciences Moléculaires, Université de Bordeaux

The continuous increase in energy demand and carbon emission has raised the urgency of changing to renewable energy sources. Among the renewable energies available, photovoltaics, which directly converts solar light into electricity, is one of the attractive methods to harvest solar energy, which is the most abundant and available energy source on earth. One of the main limitations of solar cells as a reliable and stable source of power is the fluctuation of the Solar Sun irradiation due to the cycle of day and night. On cloudy days solar cells do not perform as well as on bright sunny days and at night time solar cells do not generate electricity at all. A combination of solar cells with energy storage devices may be a solution to this problem because of the concomitant electricity storage. As promising low-cost efficient solar cells, organic-inorganic hybrid perovskite solar cells exhibit great potential to be interconnected with supercapacitors in order to create energy conversion-storage devices. In this context, this project aims at designing, processing and characterizing the performances of integrated devices combining perovskite solar cells and supercapacitors connected through a common electrode based on activated carbon. Furthermore, along with the fabrication of high quality perovskite solar cells, this project’s aim is to use activated carbon produced from a renewable resource, more precisely coconut shells, for the electrodes of the supercapacitor and the perovskite solar cell. Using biomass materials as a renewable source of activated carbon can help us to limit the unsustainable exploitation of fossil carbon deposits. In this context this work will benefit from the excellent expertise of the National Institute of Fundamental Studies (Sri Lanka) on activated carbon materials.


ESPINOZA Jhan Carlo Laureate of the French call
Home institution : Peru, Instituto Geofisico del Peru
Project : AMANECER – Quantify the Amazon-Andes climate connectivity and impacts of climate change in Amazon rainforest
Host institution : Institut des Géosciences de l’Environnement, Grenoble

The goal of this research project is to better understand how global warming and regional modification of land cover could affect the water cycle in the Andes-Amazon transition area, a key tropical region. This region is the richest in the world in terms of biodiversity, and the Amazon rainforest is key for global climate equilibrium. A significant decrease in rainfall and an increase in dry-season length have been documented in the southwestern Amazon during the last three decades. These changes caused an increase in biomass mortality, resulting in a long-term reduction of the Amazon carbon sink. During the extreme drought years (2005, 2010), the Amazon ecosystem suffered a transition from carbon sink to source, producing impacts on the global climate balance. Most future climate scenarios envision a longer dry season by the end of the 21st Century; this could shift the Amazon toward a climate more appropriate to savannah than tropical rain forest. The AMANECER project will provide significant improvements regarding the future impacts of climate change in this key region by combining diagnostic studies and modelling simulations. Our main objectives are to: 1) Diagnose the impacts of extreme drought events on vegetation conditions in the Bolivian and Peruvian Amazon; 2) Quantify the Amazon-Andes connectivity in terms of Amazonian evapotranspiration, moisture transport and precipitation in the Andes; and 3) Provide realistic scenarios of climate-related changes in Amazonian vegetation and their implications for precipitation in the Andes. The expected results will provide key input for the IPCC Special Reports and for decision makers in the Andean-Amazonian countries.


GIANNINI Alessandra Laureate of the French call
Home institution : USA, Columbia University
Project : PRODUCT – Processes of climate change in the tropics
Host institution : Laboratoire de météorologie dynamique, Paris

The goal of this research project is to reduce uncertainty in projections of tropical precipitation change. In the tropics, climatic impact – e.g., on agriculture, water resources and public health – is driven by variation in precipitation more than in temperature, yet it is precisely in these regions that model projections are most uncertain. To advance these goals, I propose two parallel lines of research.
1. Analysis of existing and planned model simulations, e.g., phases 3, 5 and 6 of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project [CMIP], to diagnose the sensitivity of tropical climate to different configurations of external forcing
2. Design of “sensitivity simulations” based on the analyses under (1), to test the sensitivity to model formulation of the processes that translate oceanic influence on continental climates. A process-based approach to the reduction of uncertainty in projections of climate change in the tropics adds value to the analysis of model simulations, because it facilitates comparison between simulations and the reality of climate change as experienced on the ground, in rural and urban communities, in the present. Model projections are but one element of scenario building for practical purposes, such as the development of national adaptation plans.


HOVEYDA Amir Laureate of the French call
Home institution : USA, Boston College
Project : Multi-Catalyst Systems for Energy-Ef?cient Chemical Synthesiss
Host institution : Institut de Science et d’Ingénierie Supramoléculaire, Strasbourg

Catalysis is crucial to basic and applied chemical science; it is the key to minimization of energy usage, matter consumption and waste generation. Catalysis in laboratory research, and its implementation in large chemical companies can contribute significantly to sustainable development and to goals of the present call, “Make Our Planet Great Again”. Catalysts provide access to otherwise inaccessible compounds, and do so with minimal energy expenditure. We will develop new catalysts and catalytic methods for chemical synthesis, combining them for maximum effect. More specifically, we will pursue the following objectives: 1. We will design and develop new catalysts that can transform simple renewable feedstock to highly valuable products. We will develop catalysts that function in a complementary manner so that they will provide us with effective, practical, energy efficient, and readily scalable protocols for a large array of valuable compounds that are of significance to development and marketing of new drugs, agrochemicals, and materials at low cost. 2. We will develop simple and small organic molecules that can be easily converted to active catalysts with just one proton. We will exploit these catalysts for practical, energy-efficient, easily scalable, and broadly applicable preparation of a large assortment of otherwise difficult-to-access and enantiomerically pure amines and alcohols. These entities will be of great importance to drug development, availability of new and environmentally benign agrochemicals.


KAPLAN Jed Laureate of the German call
Home institution : Switzerland, University of Lausanne
Project : Feedbacks between land cover, people, and climate in the seasonally arid tropics (MONSOON)
Host institution : Universität Augsburg

Possibly more than anywhere else on the planet, the seasonally arid tropics of Africa and South Asia are critical for understanding the feedbacks between climate and society in the future. Home to nearly a quarter of the world’s population and experiencing faster demographic growth than anywhere else on the planet, these regions are currently undergoing rapid landscape changes caused by deforestation, agriculture, and urbanization. At the same time, fossil fuel consumption and other industrial activities that affect climate globally are leading to increases in the frequency of extreme climate events in these regions, including drought and heat waves. In Africa and South Asia, local weather and climate is strongly influenced by land cover. This means that human activities such as deforestation, irrigation, and urbanization could exacerbate the effects of global climate change. Africa and South Asia are thus at a nexus for global change, where climate combined with land use and land cover may determine the future habitability of landscapes and the success or failure of societies to adapt to climate change. Parts of these regions are already affected by water and therefore food insecurity; reductions in rainfall caused by global climate trends and exacerbated by regional land use and land cover change in the future could lead to conflict, migrations, and social instability. At the same time, increases in the frequency of climate extremes such as heatwaves, wildfire, and dust storms, also potentially exacerbated by land use, could cause large regions to become at least seasonally uninhabitable, and provoke the spread of diseases that affect humans and their animals. For these reasons, it is essential that we have a good understanding of both climate and land cover change in the seasonally arid tropics.
The MONSOON project asks the question: How do climate change and human activities combine to influence the risks of environmental and social disruption? Addressing this question is critical if we want to develop strategies to ensure the resilience of people and nature in the face of ongoing climate change. Yet our knowledge of the way landscape influences weather, and how human activities affect local and regional climate, is severely limited. The project will focus on the seasonally arid tropics, where the relationship between land surface conditions and regional climate is known to be very important, but where computer simulations perform poorly and characterizations of land use are overly simplistic, and where large populations with high demographic growth place societies at risk of future environmental and demographic tipping points.
The MONSOON research team will use a combination of novel field studies and state of the art computer simulations to investigate land-climate interactions in South Asia and West Africa, two regions that are currently undergoing large-scale changes in land cover and climate that put societies at risk of disruption. The project study regions cover gradients in both the properties of the physical environment, such as rainfall and soil type, and sociocultural characteristics, such as population density and economic systems, that will allow us to identify places and land use strategies that put people and ecosystems at risk. We will make a significant advance in computer simulations of land cover and land use in seasonally arid climates, and better quantify the way land cover influences climate in these regions. The project builds upon Dr. Kaplan’s long experience in land surface and climate modeling, and expertise in meteorology, land use, and soil science in the Department of Geography at the University of Augsburg. The project will further benefit from cooperation with the new Faculty of Human Medicine at the University of Augsburg, particularly through their research focus in Environmental Health Science.


LAUVAUX Thomas Laureate of the French call
Home institution : USA, Pensylvania State University
Project : CIUDAD – Quanti?cation of urban greenhouse gas emissions
Host institution : Laboratoire des sciences du climat et de l’environnement, Saclay

Urban emissions of Greenhouse Gases (GHG) represent currently about 70% of the global emissions and could increase rapidly as large metropolitan areas are projected to grow twice as fast as the world population in the coming 15 years. Monitoring these emissions will require the use of independent approaches to implement transparent regulation policies. The deployment of atmospheric GHG sensors across few metropolitan areas combined with meteorological models offers a unique solution to quantify GHG emissions rapidly and at high resolutions.
Building upon existing measurement networks and satellite missions, the CIUDAD project will construct an adaptive assimilation system able to produce GHG emissions for each sector of the economy over multiple cities. The project will focus on Paris, Mexico City, Indianapolis and Los Angeles, four urban environments with varied economies and demographics. The first objective of the project is to quantify urban GHG emissions by utilizing atmospheric GHG data and aerosols with socio-economic information into a single data assimilation system. In the second objective, we propose to advance significantly the capability of current assimilations systems by implementing the next generation of meteorological models for urban applications.
Our novel approach will use an Adaptive Mesh Refinement atmospheric model to simulate GHG mixing ratios over the entire globe at coarse resolution (few degrees) while zooming on specific cities at high resolution (about 1km) without any discontinuities in the atmospheric flow. The adaptive system will integrate urban deployments into broader observing networks to produce national-scale GHG emission assessments.


LEE Carol Eunmi Laureate of the French call
Home institution : USA, University of Wisconsin, Madison
Project : Rapid Evolutionary Responses to Climate Change
Host institution : Marine Biodiversity Exploitation and Conservation (MARBEC),
Université de Montpellier

Climate change threatens biodiversity and ecosystem integrity of the oceans. In particular, salinity is declining rapidly and dramatically in many high latitude coastal regions due to increased precipitation and ice melt, while temperatures are rising. Such coupled changes will likely have severe detrimental impacts on organismal physiology, population growth, and production. Evolutionary responses are critical to avoid extinction when environmental stressors exceed physiological thresholds. However, no study has explored evolutionary responses to the combined effects of salinity and temperature. Thus, the goal here is to address the questions:
(1) To what extent could populations evolve in response to changes in salinity, temperature, and their interactions? (2) How will physiological limits and evolutionary potential of populations impact range shifts and future probabilities of local extinctions? We will address these questions by exploring (1) physiological limits of wild populations, (2) constraints on physiological evolution in laboratory selection experiments, and (3) future range shifts and probability of extinctions in response to climate change, by including data on physiological limits (#1) and evolutionary potential (#2) into mechanistic models. Evolutionary information is necessary to make climate change models predictive. This study is transformative in injecting evolutionary data into predictive models of climate change impacts, in order to make accurate predictions on limits to future range shifts and probability of extinctions. Such insights are critical for projecting the future sustainability of ecosystem integrity of the planet.


PALOMO Ignacio Laureate of the French call
Home institution : Spain, Basque Centre for Climate Change
Project : Pathways for transformation in the Alps
Host institution : Laboratoire d’Ecologie Alpine, CNRS, Grenoble

A good Anthropocene would be a world very different to the one we live in now. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Agreement mark the targets for a sustainable world, but the pathways to achieve them are unclear. Broad evidence indicates that business as usual will not be enough to achieve these targets, and that society needs to undertake radical changes towards sustainability, the so-called transformative change. However, despite abundant theoretical studies of transformative change, very few empirical case studies exist to date that analyse transformative change in practice. This project, Pathways for Transformation in the Alps (PORTAL), aims to analyse climate change driven transformation pathways towards sustainability, using nature-based transformation initiatives. These include very diverse, small-scale, initiatives like new technologies, economic instruments, social organizations, movements or approaches, that make a substantial contribution towards sustainability in the direct context of climate change. PORTAL will focus on identifying, characterizing and assessing the barriers and enabling factors to increase the impact of these nature-based transformation initiatives towards reaching the Paris Agreement and SDG targets. Various methods including interviews, questionnaires, normative scenario planning, back-casting and knowledge innovation hubs will be combined in this highly transdisciplinary project. PORTAL will target transformation initiatives in a diversity of social-ecological settings in the Alps, covering eight European countries, where a diversity of these initiatives has been identified. PORTAL will showcase the front-runners of transformation and support decision-making to up-scale the impact of initiatives and reach sustainability targets.


PARMESAN Camille Laureate of the French call
Home institution : USA, University of Texas – UK, University of Plymouth
Project : CCISS – Climate Change Impacts on SpecieS
Host institution : Station d’écologie théorique et expérimentale, Moulis

More than a decade has passed since it became clear that anthropogenic warming was driving observed changes in wild species. My group’s recent work has concentrated on improving understanding and future projections of responses to climate change by wild speciesin their timing and their geographic ranges. My strength is in linking impacts of climatic trends and extreme climate events on ecological, evolutionary and behvioral processes at the population level to patterns of biodiversity change at the global level. I will continue this research into two new areas: (a) Impacts of societal importance: changes in human disease risk as a consequence of range shifts of disease organisms, their wild vectors and reservoirs; (b) Impacts in high-risk habitats: assessing climate change risks for species inhabiting montane and boreal regions, under-studied but vulnerable systems.
Tackling impacts of global climate change at the population level also provides an appropriate platform for exploring uncertainty in future impacts, and incorporating that uncertainty into conservation planning for the coming century. I will use techniques from economic modeling to incorporate Robust Decision-Making (RDM) theory into conservation planning. RDM uses scenario modeling to provide a range of possible futures that accommodate uncertainties in what the future climate may be and how species may respond. RDM algorithms then allow us to select actions that could be taken now that lead to the highest probability of a positive outcome across all possible futures. Such an action is, then, “robust” to those uncertainties.


POSSNER Anna Laureate of the German call
Home institution : USA, Carnegie Institution for Science
Project : Organisation and Cloud-Radiative Properties of Low-Level Mixed-Phase
Host institution : Goethe-Universität Frankfurt/Main

Clouds, which reside close to the ground are good reflectors of incoming sunlight and trap little heat radiated outward to space. In some sense these clouds shade the Earth’s surface and changes in cloud area or changes in their reflective properties constitute a pretty sensitive temperature dial for Earth’s climate. Any sheet of low- level cloud may span hundreds of kilometers and all together they span around one fifth of Earth’s oceans. In some regions of the globe, in the mid-latitudes and the Arctic, these clouds do not only consist of water drops, but may contain a mixture of ice particles and water drops. We, as a community, are currently limited in our understanding of how the presence of ice crystals impacts the areal coverage and reflective properties of these clouds at the scale of an entire cloud field as opposed to a single cloud. To answer this question, we will use satellite retrievals and sophistacated numerical models, which resolve many of the fundamental processes governing the cloud evolution.


RENARD Delphine Laureate of the French call
Home institution : USA, University of California
Project : ASSET – AgrobiodiverSity for a food-Secure planET
Host institution : Centre d’écologie fonctionnelle et évolutive, Montpellier

Ensuring food security under a changing climate is among societys greatest challenges. Rising temperatures, heat waves and droughts have caused crop failures, reduced potential yields, and driven instability in global food markets. Climatic projections suggest that these impacts and their associated human costs of poverty, malnutrition, and political unrest will worsen. Research on solutions to develop robust food systems is therefore urgently needed.
ASSET will evaluate the potential effectiveness of a novel agrobiodiversity-based strategy. Evidence suggests that increased agrobiodiversity reduces climatic risks to food production, but how to leverage such benefits remains largely unknown. ASSET will fill this critical gap by providing regionally-specific knowledge on (1) the spatial scale(s), (2) the combinations of crops, and (3) the existing practices adopted by farmers that promote the yield stabilizing effect of agrobiodiversity against climatic variability. We will combine statistical analyses of existing long-term datasets across Europe, the Mediterranean and Sub-Saharan Africa with mathematical simulations and ethnobiological fieldwork in three case studies (France, Morocco and Senegal).
By placing farmers at the center of our approach, ASSET will yield transformational insights into the design and implementation of diversified agricultural systems that provide agronomic benefits while being feasible for and desirable to farmers. ASSET will thus help strengthen societies capacities to face climate change, contributing to meeting the objectives of the Paris COP 21, implementing multiple Sustainable Development Goals, and ensuring a food-secure future for all.


RIDDE Valery Laureate of the French call
Home institution : Canada, Université de Montréal
Project : CLIMHB – Climate Change, Migrations and Health Systems Resilience in Haïti and Bangladesh
Host institution : Centre population et développement, Paris

Migrations have reached globally an unprecedented scale and represent major challenges for societies and health systems to guarantee access to healthcare of the most vulnerable. Climate change, by increasing the intensity of natural disasters and catalyzing environmental degradation, leads to questioning the nature and extent of these ongoing mobility trends. It is the case in Bangladesh and in Haiti where, respectively, 400 000 and 100 000 people move every year from rural areas towards their respective capitals (Dhaka and Port-au- Prince). The capacity of health systems to meet the health needs of displaced persons in their country of origin, or ‘climate refugees’ in the countries where they migrate temporally or definitely, has so far not received much attention from research. Neither have the resilience and the capacity of adaptation of health systems and professionals in relation to increased migrations. Also lacking is research on migrant strategies to access healthcare services. Empirical studies will be conducted using mixed methods in Haiti and Bangladesh to better understand links between climate change, migrations and health system. Deliberative workshops will be organised and notes of policies will be broadcast to decision-makers and representatives of civil and international organisations (IOM, PAHO, WHO). It will be for IRD to collaborate with researchers of Bangladesh and Haiti, to integrate several disciplinary fields (Health, Migration and Climate Change Studies) and various institutions in France and abroad (Germany, Canada, USA).


SANDERSON Benjamin Laureate of the French call
Home institution : USA, National Center for Atmospheric Research
Project : RISCCi – Risks and Uncertainties under Climate Change
Host institution : Laboratoire Climat, Environnement, Couplage et Incertitudes, Toulouse

A comprehensive climate risk exposure exercise is proposed to assess fundamental uncertainties in model parameterization, with a focus on impacts in central Europe, and for a set of societally relevant climatic hazards (urban heatwaves, flooding, drought, wildfire & crop failure). The core of the project will involve a parameter perturbation exercise for the CNRM-CM6 climate model, with a series of idealized experiments to isolate key parameters in the land and atmospheric components which are critical for controlling the extent of societally relevant impacts under climate change. A surrogate model emulator will be constructed to model performance metrics and model response to greenhouse gas forcing as a function of model parameters.
An optimization suite will be used to propose plausible model configurations which represent a range of climate feedback strengths and future impact intensity. These idealized experiments will then be used to inform a fully coupled ensemble of perturbed climate simulations which will be made available to the wider climate community for impacts analysis. Coupled historical and future simulations will represent uncertainty in a range of societal impacts. For example, model configurations will be constructed which minimize and maximize respectively the risk of urban flooding. The PI will then work with impacts experts within CERFACS and CNRS (and externally where necessary) to produce targeted risk assessments in the context of model uncertainty for a number of key impacts which might influence France and central Europe under climate change. All code and simulations will be made available to the community.


SCHEER Clemens Laureate of the German call
Home institution : Australia, Queensland University of Technology
Project : Climate change, reactive nitrogen, denitri?cation and N2O : Identifying sustainable solutions for the globe
Host institution : Karlsruher Institut für Technologie (KIT)

The use of synthetic N fertilizers has grown over the last century, with severe environmental consequences. Denitrification will ultimately remove most of the anthropogenic reactive nitrogen (Nr), but it is very uncertain to which degrees this process will take place. There is substantial interest in mitigating N2O emissions from agriculture activities as a part of the strategy to combat global climate change, yet methods for estimating N2O emissions from agricultural sources remain highly uncertain. As Nr use and N2O emissions are strongly correlated, there is a high risk that the needed intensification of crop production for feeding a growing and hungry planet, might also result in further increases of global N2O emissions from agriculture. Therefore, denitrification needs to be seen in the light of the conflict between food security for a growing world population and an augmented use of fertilizers which in turn would lead to increased emissions of greenhouse gas from global cropping systems. This project will evaluate the trade-off between crop productivity, N fertilizer use, and greenhouse gas emissions of agricultural ecosystems globally with the main objective to identify feasible, and strategies for major improvements in food production with more efficient fertiliser use and reduced greenhouse gas emissions. It aims to initialize and strengthen global research networks on denitrification, establish a missing global database, and to reduce uncertainties of current model estimates. We will use biogeochemical simulation models develop to improve greenhouse gas inventories from agricultural soils and develop region specific climate-smart management strategies for a sustainable management of global agricultural ecosystems.


SUBRAMANIAN Ramachandran Laureate of the French call
Home institution : USA, Carnegie Mellon University
Project : MAQGA – Make Air Quality Great Again
Host institution : Observatoires des Sciences de l’Univers- Enveloppes Fluides de la Ville à l’Exobiologie (OSU-EFLUVE) / Laboratoire Interuniversitaire des Systèmes Atmosphériques, Créteil

WHOestimatesthatoutdoorairpollutioncausesabout4millionprematuredeathsworldwide.Developedmegacities like Paris still experience severe pollution episodes. But operational networks in Europe do not yet measure air quality at neighborhood level, necessary to accurately assess population exposure. Most Sub-Saharan African (SSA) countries do not monitor air quality, despite heavy pollution from dust, open biomass burning, and residential biofuel use. With industrialization, pollution will worsen unless SSA countries choose sustainable development paths incorporating air quality impacts. Low-cost gas and PM sensors can lower capital costs by 95% compared to traditional monitors, with acceptable performance and lower maintenance. This enables unprecedented high spatial resolution monitoring in megacities and basic coverage in low-income countries. We propose the following objectives: 1. Bridge the gap from urban background air quality to population exposure in Western Europe by deploying Real-time Affordable Multi-Pollutant (RAMP) low-cost sensors at high spatial resolution. 2. Expand the RAMP monitor’s capabilities further by developing new sensors for VOCs and climate impacting absorbing aerosol.
3. Develop a general calibration framework for RAMP sensors over various outdoor environments in Europe and Africa, and an exploratory assessment for indoor air. 4. Expand existing monitoring networks in Africa using RAMP sensors for a first assessment of specific air pollution sources and help build local capacity.
5. Use RAMP observations for evaluation of high-resolution air quality models and estimates of surface pollution from satellite retrievals.


TESCHE Matthias Laureate of the German call
Home institution : UK, University of Hertfordshire
Project : Particles in Aerosol Cloud Interactions : Strati?cation, CCN/INP concentrations, and Cloud Lifecycle (PACIFIC)
Host institution : Universität Leipzig

Atmospheric aerosol particles are of great importance for cloud formation in the atmosphere because they are needed to act as cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) in liquid-water clouds and as ice nucleating particles (INP) in ice-containing clouds. Changes in aerosol concentration affect the albedo, development, phase, lifetime and rain rate of clouds. These aerosol-cloud interactions (ACI) and the resulting climate effects have been in the focus of atmospheric research for several decades. Nevertheless, the IPCC still concludes that ACI cause the largest uncertainty in assessing climate change as they are understood only with medium confidence.
PACIFIC will improve our understanding of ACI by enhancing the representation of the aerosols relevant for cloud processes and by quantifying temporal changes in cloud properties throughout the cloud life cycle. ACI studies using polar-orbiting sensors are limited to snap-shot observations of clouds. CCN concentrations for assessing ACI are currently estimated from column-integrated optical aerosol parameters. There is no such proxy of INP concentrations for remote-sensing studies of aerosol effects on cold clouds as INP activity depends on aerosol type and size. Quantifying the role of aerosols in ACI requires knowledge of the spatial and vertical distribution of CCN and INP. I will use my experience in advancing state-of-the-art lidar retrievals to obtain unprecedented insight in CCN and INP concentrations from spaceborne lidar data. In addition, I will characterise the development of clouds before and after the snap-shot view of polar-orbiting sensors by tracking those clouds in time-resolved geostationary observations. This novel information will be used to study the effects of CCN and INP on the albedo, liquid and ice water content, droplet and crystal size, development, phase and rain rate of clouds within different regimes carefully accounting for the meteorological background. The findings of PACIFIC are crucial for assessing and improving the performance of climate models.


VADEZ Vincent Laureate of the French call
Home institution : India, International Crop Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics
Project : ICARUS – Improve Crops in Arid Regions and future climates
Host institution : Laboratoire Diversité – Adaptation – Développement, Montpellier

Farming in dry areas like the Sahel is extremely risky because of water limitation. Climate change will only accentuate this constraint. This undermines food security in the region and impedes its economic rural development, which in turn feeds discontent and become a security issue for the region and neighbour Europe. It is then urgent to find solutions to make agriculture safer and more resilient so that it becomes a driver of development.
Pearl millet and sorghum – the food subsistence basis of dry sub-Saharan Africa – are the target of this research. Harvests fail in hot and dry conditions because the evaporative demand creates an atmospheric moisture stress for the plant. Genotypes adapted to these conditions exist and are those capable of controlling water losses under high evaporative demand. The hypothesis of this work is that hydraulic restrictions in the plant, possibly at the root system level, limit water movement under high evaporative demand and therefore contribute to saving water and making these genotypes more tolerant to water stress. Through an approach integrating physiology, molecular biology, genetics and modeling, we will decipher the mechanisms underlying tolerance, and find the genetic basis of these traits and of plant architecture traits that allow to optimize light capture per unit of water loss. By modeling, we will classify the stress scenarios of the Sahel and predict for each of these scenarios the genetic variants harboring water saving traits that are the most likely to succeed in each agroecological zone. The end products of the project are therefore a better understanding of the mechanisms of tolerance, the knowledge of the genomic regions responsible for tolerance traits, and a predictive knowledge of their effects in different agro-ecological zones. These results will guide and feed the crop improvement programs of our regional partners and those of the CGIAR, with which I am closely linked.


VINCENT Emmanuel Laureate of the French call
Home institution : UK, Factama Ltd
Project : Web platforms in?uence on climate information
Host institution : Medialab, Paris

Most of the public’s access to online information is now made via search engines, video platforms and social media. These platforms have come under heavy criticism over the past few years for their participation to the circulation of misinformation and “fake news” to a broad audience. Several platforms have announced taking steps to increase the integrity of information and fight disinformation campaigns. But there is little data available to track the efficiency of these measures and the impact they (will) have on information sharing, public access to information and attitudes. This research project will investigate the extent to which the practices and algorithms of web platforms contribute to shaping the public’s access to climate information and their attitudes towards climate change. We propose to develop methodologies to monitor and document the effects ofalgorithmicpersonalizationandthetemporalchangesintroducedbyplatformstotheirrecommendation engines. This will allow us to study how results to frequent climate queries are changing over time, and the extent to which personalization contribute to enclose people in “information bubbles”. Finally we will design experimental protocols to investigate how changes in access to climate information on platforms are able to influence public understanding of climate change and attitude towards climate policies.

Energy transition

CARRIER Marion Laureate of the French call
Home institution : UK, Aston University
Project : PYROKINE – Fast pyrolysis of waste biomass: Dual kinetics
Host institution : Centre de recherche en génie des procédés des solides divises, de l’énergie et de l’environnement, Albi

This multidisciplinary project is intended to accelerate the development of Pyrolysis ‘dynamic’ kinetic patterns of contaminated biomass considering mechanistic aspects and transfer phenomena within the pyrolysis process. This research program takes place in an energy and environmental transition context where the viable and continuous production of biofuels and fuels in the transport sector is crucial in the energy offer as it has become an essential driver for the sustainable development of the Europeans economy. In this project, contaminated biomasses, alternative feedstocks to agricultural and forest residues, will be valorized to prevent further greenhouse gases due to indirect land use change of expanding agricultural areas dedicated to 1st generation biofuel production. The scientific challenge to be tackled deals with the use of isotopically substituted biopolymers combined with pyrolysis and spectrometric techniques to determine the extent of reactions molecularity but also understand how inorganic contaminants do affect the products yield and the partition of volatiles between the gas and condensed phases. By determining accurate and consistent sets of kinetic parameters and modeling the multiphasic character of biomass pyrolysis, the new model will have the potential to provide molecular and physical level insights into the process. This proposal brings together an experienced fellow, Dr. Marion Carrier, with a world-recognized group in the treatment of contaminated biomasses, the RAPSODEE center and the director, Prof. Ange Nzihou and the Energy Institute of The City College of New York, expert in Catalytic Reaction Engineering.


CHOI Heechae Laureate of the German call
Home institution : South Korea, Korea Institute of Science and Technology
Project : Amorphous-crystal junction: a new class of photochemical semiconductor with high activity and cost-effectiveness
Host institution : Universität zu Köln

This project is aiming at developing a new class of semiconductor system, amorphous-crystal junction, to fabricate highly active photocatalysts for clean hydrogen energy and air/water purifications with lowest cost. In electronic devices and electrochemical applications, charge carrier separable functionality of semiconductors is widely utilized. Conventionally used p-n junction and heterojunction semiconductors must be fabricated via expensive and complicated processes, and hence, many factors such as dopant selections, precursors, and CVD conditions must be considered. Therefore, solar energy harvesting technology to produce clean hydrogen energy has been regarded just as a dream world technology. Many researchers in this field have started closing the possibility to use this technology for practical uses, due to many limiting factors: high cost of photocatalytic materials and very limited number of choosable semiconductor materials. In this project, I suggest a breakthrough idea to solve the problem: amorphous-crystal junction of semiconductors can be utilized as good alternatives of many of p-n junctioned and heterojunctioned. When a semiconductor material changes its crystal structure, the band edge levels are also changed. If we consider amorphous semiconductor solid as one of the phases, we can make heterojunction- or p-n-junction- like material just by partially amorphizing semiconductor solids or stopping crystallization process in the middle. My research idea can make breaking solutions for practical and cheap hydrogen energy production, due to following reasons: 1. This approach vastly broadens the choice of materials – No need for dopants 2. Enormously lowered production costs – less heat-treatment


CHRISTOFORIDIS Konstantinos Laureate of the French call
Home institution : Greece, Democritus University of Thrace
Project : SUNCO2H2EN – Multifunctional materials for a) combined CO2 capture and conversion and b) H2 production from H2O
Host institution : Institut de Chimie et Procédés pour l’Energie, l’Environnement et la Santé, Strasbourg

CO2 levels in the atmosphere have been stabilized over the last years to the highest levels ever detected, contributing significantly in global warming. The increased CO2 levels are mostly attributed to the current global energy usage. Therefore, we must review our future energy outlook. In this direction, due to our late response to global warming, closing the anthropogenic carbon cycle is an unavoidable step. This can be done via two pathways: a) carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS); b) utilization of clean fuels with zero CO2 contribution during production and combustion. In the second approach, H2 can be considered the ideal fuel since it has no carbon footprint. The present project suggests an integrated approach to reduce CO2 levels through the coupling of processes with immediate and long-term impact on global warming. This will be done through the synergy of i) CO2 capture and conversion and iii) H2 production. The first approach will have a direct impact on CO2 levels while the second will reduce gradually and maintain the CO2 in acceptable levels. CO2 capture and conversion will be performed in a single process allowing process intensification and improvement in the overall economics. This will be done by developing multi-component, dual-purpose advanced materials based on composites, where each part will play a different role (adsorption/conversion). H2 production will be performed through water splitting. Photocatalysis will be used for CO2 conversion and H2 production without the need of any external energy input. The combined study under a single project will provide critical information for optimizing materials towards the specific application.


GIAMBASTIANI Giuliano Laureate of the French call
Home institution : Italy, Institute of Chemistry of OrganoMetallic Compounds of Italian National Research Council (ICCOM-CNR)
Project : TRAINER – Catalysts for Transition to Renewable Energy Future
Host institution : Institut de Chimie et Procédés pour l’Energie, l’Environnement et la Santé, (ICPEES-CNRS, University of Strasbourg), Strasbourg

The project core moves from the preparation of tailored 1D-3D carbon networks to be employed as non-innocent platforms for the bottom-up synthesis of targeted metal and metal-free catalytic materials. Selected C-matrices with mesoporous structures and featuring with specific templating (chemical and morphological) microenvironments will be used for the controlled anchoring, growth and stabilization of single-atom or metal sub-nanoclusters as well as for the ultra-thin surface coating with defective or highly strained (exfoliated) metal-sulfide structures. Surface engineered C-based materials will be also considered as single-phase, metal-free systems for the effective activation and conversion of small molecules in processes at the heart of renewable energy technology. With its catalyst technology, TRAINER prompts the transition towards a sustainable catalysis era by addressing scientifically ambitious but technologically concrete breakthroughs. It will focus on the intensification of three highly energy-demanding processes, ensuring mild operative conditions and zero or negative CO2 impact all over the whole production chain. Its catalyst technology will be mainly applied to: 1) H2 production from water electrolysis (hydrogen-evolution reaction, HER), 2) Hydrocarbon production from hydrodeoxygenation (HDO) of oxygen-rich biomasses, 3) Production of chemicals and energy vectors from CO2 electro-reduction. Other satellite processes will complete the study, strengthening the impact and long-term vision of the proposal. Advanced characterization techniques (including operando studies) will give insight on the catalysts properties during all their operative life. An overview on the project activity and its main achievements are available on the TRAINER official web-site (


GOLDTHAU Andreas Laureate of the German call
Home institution : UK, Royal Holloway, University of London
Project: Investigating the systemic impact of the global energy transition (ISIGET)
Host institution : Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS), Potsdam

Investigating the systemic impacts of the global energy transition (ISIGET)“
The global energy transition is already delivering numerous benefits, but it is also creating new inequalities. The risks posed by this transformation will impact especially on developing countries, which lack access to technologies and capital. What, then, can be done to ensure that these countries too can make the transition to a low-carbon economy? This question is the focus of the ISIGET project that will study the systemic impacts of the global energy transition. ISIGET will be led by Prof. Andreas Goldthau, a renowned global public policy scholar of Royal Holloway, University of London, who will head an interdisciplinary team of researchers at the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS), a leading climate research institute based in Potsdam.
Unequal access to technologies and capital
The energy transition is largely presented in a positive light. This, however, does not tell the entire story, explains Andreas Goldthau: “The energy transition throws up a range of systemic risks that are particularly pertinent to the countries of the Global South: investments in fossilbased sources of energy are no longer likely to be profitable over the longer term, while those holding patents to the technologies vital to a low-carbon economy will be at an advantage in future. However these patents are held almost exclusively by OECD countries and China. This research will highlight the adjustments that need to be made in order to ensure that the gains of the energy transition are distributed fairly.” To this end, the project team will develop recommendations for new governance initiatives, with a view to reconciling conflicting policy goals.
The researchers will begin by interviewing decision-makers from the finance and insurance industries and government agencies about their views on the systemic risks entailed by the global energy transition. In a next step, the team will conduct scenario analyses, factoring in the relative economic development, quality of institutions, and fossil resource wealth of select countries. These analyses will reveal the type and extent of macro- and socio-economic risks to which countries in the Global South in particular are exposed.
Interviews, scenario analyses, and case studies to inform policy recommendations
Complementing these scenarios, the researchers will also carry out selected case studies in different global regions. These studies will include interviews with decision-makers from local businesses, corporate finance, and development agencies and banks. This will enable researchers to identify welfare effects, development impacts, and distributional effects as well as the financial and trade risks for different types of scenarios. In addition to publishing academic articles, the researchers will develop policy options for addressing the challenges facing developing nations in the context of the global energy transition. The results of this research will be fed into the public debate in France, Germany and across Europe through the publication of policy briefs and articles in media outlets.


HAMELIN Lorie Laureate of the French call
Home institution : Poland, Institute of Soil Science and Plant Cultivation
Project : CambioSCOP – Carbon management towards low fossil carbon use
Host institution : Toulouse Biotechnology Institute (TBI), Toulouse

Bioeconomy, i.e. the use of biogenic carbon for products and services where fossil carbon is used today, involves tapping into the potential of renewable biological ressources and the limited land available to grow these. Yet, it is seen as essential to induce net carbon dioxide removal, needed to limit global mean temperature rises to below 1.5°C relative to pre-industrial levels. This proposal endeavors to build geo-localized, time- dependent and sustainable strategies for the development of bioeconomy in France, identifying synergies between supplying future demands for food, renewable energy, fossil-free materials & chemicals and waste management. It targets residual biomass streams as well as terrestrial biomass species acting as bio- pumps, i.e. allowing for a net transfer of carbon towards the soil carbon pool. I propose a spatially-explicit approach combining consequential Life Cycle Assessment, Energy System Analysis, Process Engineering and Sustainability Economics to determine where, when and in which technologies investments should be made. The bioeconomy strategies proposed will investigate 2 main pillars. The first is around carbon farming and the possibility to enhance the potential of the resilient soil organic pool as a net carbon sink, among others through bio-pump species and through determining geo-localized thresholds for the harvest of agricultural residues. The second pillar focuses on the supply chain and proposes to assess the environmental performance of 300 conversion pathways diverting the biomass from its original use to produce a variety of innovative bioeconomy products (liquid hydrocarbons, proteins, bio-based materials, non-fossil methane gas, etc.). Through these pillars, cutting-edge methodological developments will be performed. This will translate into time-dependant inventories allowing to reflect the fate of carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus flows in the studied pathways and to quantify the advantage of keeping carbon in the technosphere as long as possible. It will further translate into advanced assessment models integrating life cycle assessment and economic sustainability. As a result of this 5-y project, tailored and quantified cost- and environmentally-efficient strategies towards the long-term development of France’s bioeconomy will be proposed to French policy makers and stakeholders.


HILL Eric Laureate of the German call
Home institution : USA, University of Texas at Austin
Project : Nanocomposites and Materials for Energy Solutions
Host institution : Technische Universität Hamburg – From mid 2020: Universität Hamburg

The current crisis facing our planet is significant: widespread overuse of fossil fuels threatens the globe through pollutants and greenhouse gases that can lead to catastrophic environmental consequences. In the short-term, widespread extinctions, food shortages, and desertification are already occurring, but the longer- term outlook is even grimmer, with broader disruption of climate patterns and sea level rises slated to occur within the next few decades. The sun is our planet’s principal source of energy, and when harnessed properly it can provide power without the negative effects of burning fossil fuels. In photocatalysis, light energy stimulates the breaking and/or formation of chemical bonds for the production of alternatives to fossil fuels (such as hydrogen gas) and degradation of environmental pollutants to less harmful constituents. In recent years it has become clear that direct conversion of light energy from the sun to chemical energy can be facilitated through advances in photocatalytic materials.
This project seeks to investigate the chemistry at the interface of photocatalytic nanomaterials toward advancement of clean energy technologies. It is focused on their functional properties at the nanoscale, in which opportunities are wide open to understand the diffusion and clustering of intercalants and their interactions with materials at the interface. A multi-disciplinary approach involving both experiment and theoretical calculations will enable accurate predictions and detailed mechanistic explanations of experimental observations. Furthermore, lessons learned from the proposed work in hybrid semi-conductors and photocatalytic materials can be applied to other areas of energy involving intercalation chemistry, such as photovoltaics, solid-state batteries, and gas-separation membranes.
Three separate approaches towards improved photocatalytic materials are undertaken in this project: (1) Hybrid nanostructures using a plasmonic component can enhance the efficiency of photocatalysis, and basic research into the fundamental roles of molecular aggregation on plasmonic nanoparticle growth on inorganic surfaces will be carried out. (2) The synthesis of nanoscopic semiconducting composites will contribute toward improvement of photocatalytic materials. (3) Formation of nature-inspired materials with ultra-thin semiconductors will foster development of mechanically robust functional materials with tunable transparency for photocatalysis. Collectively, these studies will lead to the engineering of mechanically robust photocatalytic materials with improved performance and low cost compared to the state of the art, in order to promote a carbon-free energy future.


RIVADA WHEELAGHAN Orestes Laureate of the French call
Home institution : Japan, Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University
Project : CAMELEON – CO2 conversion to C2 products; Homogeneous Electrochemical and photochemical catalysis ; solar fuels
Host institution : Laboratoire d’Electrochimie Moléculaire, Paris

To reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, radical shift towards environmentally friendly sources of energy is required. However, renewable energies are intermittent, and their availability at a large-scale requires flexible and long-term (seasonal) storage.. The key to success falls on the development of new strategies to store these renewable energies through the energy density of chemical bonds. In this context, we will use a series of new developed molecular catalysts for combined CO2 electrochemical and photo-electrochemical transformation into carbon-based fuels. We target CO2 conversion into highly reduced C1 species such as methane or methanol, by different molecular means upon exclusive use of Earth abundant, inexpensive first row transition metals. Moreover, we intend to develop multimetallic systems to selectively convert CO2 into C2 and C2+ products (alcohols, acids, hydrocarbons by electrochemical means. We have designed ligand platform to facilitate metal to metal cooperative effects to explore their reactivity as homonuclear systems for the promotion of multielectronic reduction of CO2. As well as specific molecular cages.. The final goal is to integrate these catalysts into lab-scale electrolyzers or photo-electrolyzers, which will bring us one step closer to applicable technology devices that will contribute to positively impact global sustainability.


SCHULZ Philip Laureate of the French call
Home institution : USA, National Renewable Energy Laboratory
Project : InHyMat-PV – Interfaces and Hybrid Materials for Photovoltaics
Host institution : Institut de Recherche et Développement sur l’Énergie Photovoltaïque, Paris

In order for photovoltaics to reach the multi terawatts level required for the energy transition we need to access new material systems and routes for their implementation into solar cells that combine low costs and high performance. The focus of the InHyMat-PV project is on the design and analysis of interfaces in photovoltaics centered on emerging hybrid energy materials and hybrid organic/inorganic interfaces, such as halide perovskites, with remarkable semiconductor properties. Our main goal is to unravel, on the basis of fundamental scientific understanding, the interdependencies between the individual building blocks on a molecular level and their impact on the macroscopic optoelectronic properties. Results will encompass a technological demonstration and design rules for tailor-made interfaces for efficient, stable and scalable devices in tandem geometry. Our approach hence promises to generate a comprehensive model of the fundamental electronic processes in hybrid compounds and across interfaces: First, we will control the energetic alignment at the interfaces in high performance perovskite solar cells for enhanced charge carrier transfer. Second, we will use wet and vacuum deposition techniques to synthesize buffer- and interlayers for integrated tandem solar cell concepts. Third, we will advance and combine our means for spectroscopic operando analysis of devices to optimize cell architecture and composition. With these assets our group at IPVF aspires to be a research hub for materials science, process development and interfacial design for solar energy applications, at the forefront of the emerging field of hybrid organic/inorganic optoelectronics.


TSAI Yutsung Laureate of the German call
Home institution : USA, University of Texas at Austin
Project : Lateral multi-junctions of 2-D transition metal dichalcogenides as optoelectronic platform for transparent photovoltaics
Host institution : Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin für Materialien und Energie

The current solar energy conversion by established photovoltaic devices does not meet the renewable energy production targets necessary for mitigating climate change. Hence, it is necessary to develop new device systems that employ inexpensive semiconducting materials and that can be processed by simple scalable techniques into high-performance devices that are capable of stable operation. Recent advances with ultra-thin two-dimensional (2D) semiconductors, particularly transition metal dichalcogenides (TMDs), have suggested that their unique properties can be leveraged for new device concepts. Foundation for this are the tunable band gaps, the ability of light absorption, and the successful proof as large-area high-performance devices fabricated using scalable and inexpensive techniques. It is the aim of this project to develop 2D TMDs lateral multijunctions as nano-optoelectronic platforms to implement their favorable optoelectronic properties for a scalable production of transparent photovoltaics. Here the generation of a fundamental understanding for the correlation of the chemical material properties and the resulting physical effects, which establish the basis for the photovoltaic performance, is of great importance to systematically optimize the material properties and thereby avoid the time-consuming trial-and-error method for the investigation of new materials. Hence, in this project both, the synthesis conditions and material characteristics, are closely studied. The vapor deposition synthesis provides a clean and reproducible preparation route and, moreover, an established tool to precisely adjust the material properties, like crystallinity and lateral expansion. To draw the connection to the photovoltaic performance, the materials are then planned to be characterized extensively using a sophisticated in-house built optical setup.


TURNHEIM Bruno Laureate of the French call
Home institution : UK, Manchester Institute of Innovation Research
Project : Governing destabilisation pathways and phase-out
Host institution : Laboratoire Interdisciplinaire Sciences Innovations Sociétés (LISIS), Marne la Vallée

Despite the significance of the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, national pledges are still far from enough and progress with low-carbon transitions needs to be significantly stepped up. More ambitious, accelerated, and feasible low-carbon pathways are required. These need to address the lock-in and inertia in established systems and the overlooked challenges related to destabilisation processes and the phase out of high-carbon activities. Understanding destabilisation as a socio-technical process is the key contribution of WAYS-OUT. The destabilisation of existing systems is an emerging research and policy concern related to socio-technical transitions. Accelerating low-carbon transitions requires not only the deployment of alternative options, but also dealing with inertia and lock-in of existing systems and actors that tend to resist, slow down or prevent transition efforts. This is often forgotten or ignored, particularly in policy debates and future visions. Relying only on emerging options and innovations without considering the destabilisation and discontinuation of incumbent systems considerably reduces the possibility of socio-technical transitions. Accelerating low- carbon transitions requires the active phase-out of high-carbon activities, with destabilising effects on existing systems which can only be appropriately handled if their potential trajectories and outcomes are anticipated. The main objective of WAYS-OUT is to generate systematic and interdisciplinary knowledge on destabilisation to inform policy in support of more ambitious and feasible transitions pathways. The project combines socio- technical and modelling approaches. WAYS-OUT contributes to efforts anticipating destabilisation arising from decarbonisation pathways and exploring the prospects for turning destabilisation challenges into opportunities for managed transitions.


ZURCH Michael Laureate of the German call
Home institution : USA, University of California, Berkeley
Project : Quantifying Ultrafast non-Equilibrium dynamicS in semiconductor quantum nanomaterials for nExt geNEration eneRGY Materials (QUESTforENERGY)
Host institution : Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena

Nanointegration and efficiency optimization of silicon-based devices clearly reached the end of the road while advancing society requires ever-increasing capacities of communication and computation and, thus, electric power. At the same time, the efficiency of homojunction silicon solar cells is physically limited and the production of more efficient hetero- and multijunction silicon cells is technologically challenging and expensive, hampering the potential for effectively counteracting climate change while meeting the needs of the digital age for advancing society. Clearly, new materials that offer high efficiencies, low losses, new mechanic and optoelectronic properties at economic large-scale production capability must become a corner stone of the transformation of energy production, conversion and storage in the 21st century. A promising material class are novel semiconductor quantum nanomaterials that offer remarkable properties addressing these requirements. Many of these nanomaterials are more deviceready than the widely known graphene due to their optical bandgap. The intriguing possibilities stemming not only from low-loss charge transport combined with a designable photo-optical response, but also the inherent nanoscopic dimensions of these materials blend ideally for future highly versatile and economic photonic devices. While the static optical and electronic properties of these materials are subject of current investigations, little is known about how these properties are altered when the systems are driven very rapidly out of thermal equilibrium by ultrafast optical excitation allowing for new electronic phases and physical effects. Studying and controlling the electronic and optical properties on the femtosecond level are paramount for designing future energy-efficient photonic devices. The goal of this research program is the time-resolved observation and control of the carrier and lattice dynamics in two-dimensional semiconductor materials driven out of equilibrium at femtosecond time scales. This interdisciplinary program interfaces between Material Science, Physical Chemistry, Optics and fundamental Physics. Studying the ultrafast photoresponse and directly observing the excitation followed by thermalization of the systems allows to predict fundamental limitations for devices, observing new quantum phases with potentially even enhanced properties and providing input for advanced modelling of these materials. Understanding and controlling the optoelectronic properties in these nanomaterials will pave the way for novel multijunction solar cells and highly efficient and highly integrated optoelectronic devices that will perform significantly beyond current silicon-based technology.