Calling Early Career Scientists: Become a Chapter Scientist for the IPCC

IPCC Working Group III recently launched a call for Volunteer Chapter Scientists to support the authors responsible for producing one of the three Special Reports coming out this cycle. The Working Group III Technical Support Unit talks about the role of Chapter Scientists in the IPCC process and how to get involved.

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Last month, the IPCC Working Group III launched a call for Volunteer Chapter Scientists to support the authors responsible for producing the IPCC Special Report on Climate Change and Land (Climate Change and Land: an IPCC Special Report on climate change, desertification, land degradation, sustainable land management, food security and greenhouse gas fluxes in terrestrial ecosystems, or SRCCL).

We are really excited about the launch of the call for Volunteer Chapter Scientists for a number of reasons. Not only is this an amazing opportunity to provide the critical support that SRCCL chapter teams need to manage a demanding workload in the production of this report, it is also a fantastic way of increasing Early Career Researcher involvement with the IPCC.

What is a Chapter Scientist?

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A Chapter Scientist’s role is to provide technical support to a team of authors as they go through the intensive process of developing chapter content for an IPCC report. Day to day responsibilities can include anything from fact checking, to assisting with the development of figures and tables, and reference management.

Taking on the role of Volunteer Chapter Scientist is a great way for Early Career Researchers to gain important insights into what it means to work at the science-policy interface, to work first-hand with leading international experts, to build a global network of research contacts, and to learn about how the IPCC really works from an insider’s perspective.

IPCC authors at the first Lead Author Meeting of the Special Report on Climate Change and Land in Oslo in October 2017. Credit: M.Ferrat.
IPCC authors at the first Lead Author Meeting of the Special Report on Climate Change and Land in Oslo in October 2017. Credit: M. Ferrat.

Chapter Scientists have access to the cutting-edge literature that forms the underpinning of all IPCC reports. They are also invited to attend three Lead Author Meetings in different locations across the globe with the report authors. These meetings provide the chance for Chapter Scientists to participate in high-level chapter discussions of innovative concepts, to work alongside leading experts in their field and, to not only experience first-hand, but also develop the professionalism and leadership skills required to succeed within a global, multi-cultural research environment.

Chapter Scientists in previous IPCC cycles

A chapter scientist and IPCC authors at a Lead Author Meeting. Credit: R. van Diemen.
An IPCC author, an IPCC Vice-Chair and a chapter scientist at a Lead Author Meeting. Credit: R. van Diemen.

In previous IPCC assessment cycles, Chapter Scientists have played an invaluable role in supporting author teams to develop and deliver high-quality IPCC products. Along with the author teams, Chapter Scientists dedicated their time to producing internationally renowned reports, which were ultimately used by governments all around the world as critical evidence to support the development of policies for the mitigation of climate change.

However, the IPCC has also heard that it needed to do better at improving regional representation within its process. Participation in the IPCC in general, and report authorship in particular, has not always been as diverse as possible, with developed countries being somewhat overrepresented in IPCC processes and products.

2To be selected for this report, applicants must be citizens of and resident in a developing country (countries not included in Annex I of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change). We are hopeful that by proactively engaging more Early Career Researchers from developing countries in the development of the Special Report on Climate Change and Land we can make a positive contribution to expanding the participation of developing countries in the IPCC, and incorporate some new voices into the report development process.

This is also a chance to build upon the groundwork laid in previous IPCC assessment cycles and provide a platform to proactively support the career progression of Early Career Scientists in developing countries.

Chapter Scientists and the Special Report on Climate Change and Land

An author team working on the Special Report on Climate Change and Land. Credit: M. Ferrat.
An author team working on the Special Report on Climate Change and Land. Credit: M. Ferrat.

For the Special Report on Climate Change and Land in particular, we are seeking to recruit Volunteer Chapter Scientists who have recently obtained, or are currently studying towards, a Masters degree or PhD in a subject related to the interface between climate change and land. To support the training of the next generation of assessment scientists, preference will be given to graduate students and recent graduates.

How to apply

For further information please see the Call for Volunteer Chapter Scientists, and read more about the Volunteer Chapter Scientist role and selection criteria. If this sounds like you or someone you know then we really would encourage you to submit an application before the deadline on 17 December, 2017.

Other ways to get involved

If you do not meet the selection criteria for the SRCCL Volunteer Chapter Scientists role, don’t be disheartened. We would recommend you visit the IPCC website for additional information about Other Ways in which Early Career Researchers can contribute to the work of the IPCC, and consider other roles that might be appropriate to your circumstances.

If you are interested in regular updates about our activities, subscribe to the IPCC WGIII Newsletter here.

The IPCC Working Group III Technical Support Unit

The IPCC Working Group III Co-Chairs and members of the TSU. Credit: J. Baidya.
The IPCC Working Group III Co-Chairs and members of the TSU. Credit: J. Baidya.

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