The Centre of Environmental Change and Human Resilience (CECHR) was a partnership between the University of Dundee and the James Hutton Institute and provided a hub for interdisciplinary research that focused on how societies can increase resilience to environmental change and promote sustainable futures.

The aim of CECHR was to showcase the University’s environmental portfolio in a single space, welcoming participation from all areas of the University and striving to promote and create interdisciplinary interactions. This strategy led to the creation of a network of associated staff with research expertise across the University of Dundee.

CECHR integrated the scientific, social science, policy and legal expertise in the University of Dundee and the James Hutton Institute. Food, water, energy and health security provide four pillars of research excellence linked by cross-cutting themes such as governance and regulation, agriculture and ecosystem services, population growth and migration, adaptive engineering, vulnerability, new technologies and translation of research into public policy. This framework enabled us to consolidate existing strengths and also build new linkages within and between our institutions.

In addition we also developed exciting new agenda-setting research clusters tackling cross-cutting themes across the four main research pillars and ensured vitality and focus aligned to key national and international policy drivers:

With regard to resilience, our people understand it to be about peoples’ reactions to disturbance and approaches to change which can include:

  • Resistance holding the line; preparing for anticipated change
  • Bounce-back getting back to normal; change is not required
  • Adaptation adjusting to a new normal; accepting that change is necessary
  • Transformation acknowledging the need for, and pursuing, radical change

Following the establishment of the School of Social Sciences in 2015, it was decided that a new nexus for interdisciplinarity was needed to connect the school’s seven disciplines not only with regard to environmental matters but all the fields that the social sciences interact with. This led to the inception of the Institute for Social Sciences Research (ISSR) and the transitioning of CECHR’s remit to the ISSR’s purview as of 31 July 2018.