Making Assessments for Policy for Environmental Research Scientists

MAPERS - NERC Advanced Training Short Course

Are you an early career environmental scientist?

Do you aspire to be a lead author of assessments from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) or World Meteorological Organization / United Nations Environment Programme (WMO/UNEP), or have your work cited in these assessments?

If so, the MAPERS course is for you.

MAPERS brings together expert assessment authors, policy advisers and communication experts to lift the veil on these processes and train 30 next generation environmental scientists on how to develop an effective assessment.

Dates: 18th – 20th September 2017

Location: University of Leeds

Number of fully funded places available: 30


More about the MAPERS course

In the policy making world, expert-led assessments are an increasingly important method of guiding and informing policymakers. But what actually goes on when world-leading experts come together to develop these assessments – and what makes a good assessment? The three day MAPERS training course provides a unique opportunity for 30 PhD students and early career environmental scientists to learn about these processes from leading international assessment authors, policy advisers and communications experts.

MAPERS provides specific policy assessment training on how to undertake assessments for: climate; air quality and ozone; biodiversity and ecosystem services. The course will cover the key factors that make your research relevant to these assessments; skills and knowledge necessary to get a seat at the author table and how to develop the content and style of an assessment that is relevant and valuable to policy makers.

Training will consist of seminars, high-profile speakers and facilitated skills-based exercises working as a full cohort and in groups based on the three assessment areas. At the end of the course each group will produce a peer-reviewed executive policy summary with a data visualisation relevant to their discipline and be ready to take the next steps to becoming an effective lead author.

MAPERS is supported by a NERC Advanced Training Short Course award providing 30 fully funded places (including tuition, activities, materials, travel accommodation, subsistence and a course dinner). These bursaries will be awarded on merit, but priority will be given to NERC funded PhD students and/or environmental sciences early career researchers.

If you have any queries please contact

Course Programme



1 month prior Participants sent 10 papers from their chosen assessments area and asked to produce i) a draft data visualisation to summarise the important findings presented on 1 slide; ii) a paragraph of text assessing the papers
Day 1  

1)    Scientific assessments – Importance, current landscape, political context, how they influence policy, and what assessments are not

2)    What do decision makers want?
3)    Scope of assessments. Why do scientists work on assessments and what are the key skills?
4)    Each student presents draft data visualisation slide
5)    How to effectively assess a body of scientific information, and how assessment differs from standard academic review.
6)    What makes an effective data visualisation?
Day 2  

1)    Role and responsibilities of scientists at working at the decision interface and effective government policy advice

2)    Consistency and integration across assessment chapters e.g. dealing with uncertainty in a consistent way
3)    Produce a group data visualisation
4)    Each group to present data visualisation
5)    Writing for policymakers
6)    Prepare a draft executive summary
7)    Working with interdisciplinary and international teams
8)    Complete executive summary and submit for peer review
9)    Peer review of groups’ executive summaries and data visualisations
  10) Workshop dinner
Day 3

1)    Address peer review comments and prepare 2 slides

2)    Each group to present key messages and data visualisation
3)    Wrap up session – How to become a policy assessment author or contributor? Career options at the science / decision interface


Piers is Professor of Physical Climate Change and Director of the Priestley International Centre for Climate at the University of Leeds. He has been a lead author on several international assessments including the WMO (2010) Ozone Assessment and the IPCC fifth assessment. Piers is currently a lead author on the IPCC special report on global warming of 1·5°C.


Lindsay is Professor of Environment and Development at the University of Leeds. Lindsay is a coordinating lead author for the IPBES Regional Assessment for Africa, and a lead author for the IPBES Land Degradation and Restoration Assessment. She was also involved in the UK Climate Change Risk Assessment 2017.


Mat is a Professor of Atmospheric Chemistry Modelling at the University of York. He is a member of International Global Atmospheric Chemistry (IGAC) Tropospheric Ozone Assessment Report steering committee and previously worked with the Task Force on Hemispheric Transport of Air Pollution, part of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution.


Keith is Regius Professor of Meteorology and Climate Science at the University of Reading. He has experience in international assessments stretching back to the 1980s, including convening lead author of the first and second IPCC assessments, a review editor on its fifth assessment, lead author in several WMO Ozone Assessments and substantial involvement in the UK Government’s Stratospheric Ozone Review Group.


Dave is Director of the Chemical Science Division at the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and has been lead author for the IPCC, WMO Ozone Assessment and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Committee on Aviation Environmental Protection.


Jan is Research Director at the Center for International Climate and Environmental Research (CICERO) in Oslo, Norway and special advisor to the Norwegian Minister of Climate and Environment's Climate Advisory Board. Jan is vice chair of Working Group I of the current IPCC bureau. In addition to his significant experience leading on the IPCC, Jan has been a lead author for the WMO Ozone Assessment.


Jolene works in the Science team at Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and previously worked for the European Commission. She has represented the UK/EU in United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) negotiations; the scoping, review and approval of IPCC reports; and negotiations of the Convention on Biological Diversity.


Steve is Head of Science at the Committee on Climate Change (CCC). Through the production of CCC reports and their communication, he is involved directly in drawing out the implications of expert assessments for national-level climate policies.