DECIMALS is the world’s first international SRM research fund and the first aimed at researchers from the Global South. It supports teams of researchers in developing countries as they model how SRM could affect their regions. In time, it is hoped this will transform the international conversation around SRM geoengineering. The DECIMALS research projects will put developing countries and emerging economies at the centre of efforts to understand its local risks and benefits, and will kick-start further conversations about the ethics, governance and politics of engineering the climate.
Background to DECIMALS
The modelling fund is an idea that was repeatedly raised and consistently supported at our workshops around the developing world. From Brazil to Bangladesh, participants said that they wanted local scientists to research the local impacts of SRM, while noting the absence of funding for such research.
The design for DECIMALS was shaped by climate experts from across the Global South and some of the world’s leading SRM scientists. The fund is administered by The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS), which distributes more than $1M in research grants every year to support science across the developing world.
The DECIMALS launch in April 2018 was accompanied by a Comment in Nature. A group of eminent Southern scholars and NGO leaders – all organisers of Degrees workshops in their respective countries – called for developing countries to play a leading role in SRM research and discussion.
The 2018 call for proposals
The first call returned 77 DECIMALS applications from 30 different developing countries. Following independent scientific review, eight grants were awarded to teams from Argentina, Bangladesh, Benin, Indonesia, Iran, Ivory Coast, Jamaica, and South Africa. This group includes BRICS, SIDS and LDCs and represents most developing regions of the world.
The teams typically work with data generated by large climate model runs such as the Geoengineering Model Intercomparison Project (GeoMIP) or the NCAR Geoengineering Large Ensemble (GLENS). Grants of up to USD 70k have been supporting the researchers as they explore the climate impacts that matter most locally, from droughts to extreme temperatures to precipitation changes.
In 2021, six of these teams were awarded continuation grants, and three new teams were awarded initial grants in Bangladesh, Kenya, and the Philippines. To date, a total of 75+ researchers from 19 developing countries have contributed to projects, making DECIMALS the world’s largest SRM research programme in terms of scientist numbers.
The DECIMALS Fund aims to go beyond research. Its wider goals include capacity-building, community-building, and expanding the conversation around SRM. DECIMALS research teams will receive financial support to attend conferences, to collaborate with each other and with SRM modelling experts, and to discuss the findings of their research with local communities.
Experts from around the world provided a huge amount of advice and guidance about the design of the DECIMALS Fund. In particular, we would like to thank the participants of a planning workshop for DECIMALS, held in the margins of the Global Forum in Berlin in October 2017:
- Prof. Paulo Artaxo (University of São Paulo, Brazil)
- Dr Peter Irvine (Harvard University, USA)
- Prof. Asfawossen Kassaye (University of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia)
- Prof. Ben Kravitz (University of Indiana, USA)
- Prof. Felino Lansigan (University of the Philippines Los Baños)
- Dr Douglas MacMartin (Cornell University, USA)
- Prof. Saroj Kanta Mishra (Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, India)
- Dr Christopher Oludhe (University of Nairobi, Kenya)
- Prof. Alan Robock (Rutgers University, USA)
- Dr Fahad Saeed (Climate Analytics, Germany)
- Prof. Michael Taylor (University of the West Indies, Jamaica)
- Dr Simone Tilmes (National Center for Atmospheric Research, USA).
as well as Prof Govindasamy Bala (IISc, Bangalore) and Rodel Lasco (University of the Philippines, Los Baños). Their support and advice were invaluable. Responsibility for the final design of the Fund—and any shortcomings—are our responsibility alone.