COPCAS 2023 – COP28

The seventh COPCAS took place during COP28 between the 30th November and 12th December 2023 hosted in Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). This year, 16 PhD students take part in this COPCAS from the SCENARIO and FoodBioSystems Doctoral Training Partnerships.

collage of all copcas participants

As in previous years, a competition was run to select the SCENARIO and FoodBioSystems students who would attend the conference in person. This year two students from SCENARIO DTP, Philippa Oppenheimer and Fiona Spuler attended COP28 during week 1, and one from FoodBioSystems DTP, Hannah Case attending the conference with Dr Harley Pope, Walker Academy Lead, during week 2. These students had full access to the conference’s Blue Zone as they held ‘Observer’ passes.

During COP28 itself, an updated, and dedicated space was made available for the COPCAS course in the Walker Institute, with face-to-face support from one member of the Walker Team during each session. Every weekday and one Saturday during COP28, the Climate Action Studio was open from 08:45 am until 17:00 pm. Students from the Climate Action Studio connected with students attending COP28 in Dubai via MS Teams calls twice a day. Students on the ground provided updates on the issues arising every day and reported on sessions they attended as well as the general vibe of COP28.

COPCAS morning briefing; students in the studio connecting to students in Dubai
COPCAS afternoon briefing

This year the COP Climate Action Studio was run as a virtual Newsroom where students were encouraged to chase down leads and craft engaging stories around their research interest and the climate policy events unfolding at COP28. For this purpose Dr Harley Pope created a virtual whiteboard / Mural Board which allowed students participating on different days to request specific content for participants on the ground at COP28, develop stories, and share outputs – both amongst themselves and with students not present on that specific day. You can view the Mural board here

During the Climate Action Studio, the students in Reading engaged remotely with COP, watching sessions via the official COP28 platform, conducting interviews, and discussing the issues they encountered on the day. They were also encouraged to write blog articles for topics which interested them and/or related to their research. These blog posts were proof-read by the Walker Team, and then posted on the Walker Website, helping students develop their writing skills and improving their exposure. All blogs were shared with the University of Reading press office and publicised from the official media platforms. Students also created short video updates at the end of every day, which were shared with the wider University community, and used within COPCAS to inform participants of the developments of the day.

Emmanuel Essah_Philippa Oppenheimer_Fiona Spuler at COP28
Hannah Case

The UNFCCC streamed panel and side events. Additionally, in a separate area of their website, it was possible to watch plenary events, a range of ‘special events’ and press conferences. The streamed sessions remain available for a short amount of time on the website. There was also a dedicated YouTube channel which was easier to navigate. Some pavilion events were also streamed live and were accessible via YouTube or via their official webpage.

COP Climate Action Studio Blogs

This year we saw a record number of blogs being produced. Students benefited from feedback on their work before they were posted on the Walker Website and made available to the public. Blogs were also shared on twitter to reach an even wider audience. The titles, authors, and links to the blogs are detailed below.

COP Climate Action Studio - Student short videos and video blogs

This year we also introduced the idea of creating short videos that captured the most important points of the day. Students were enthusiastic about sharing their experiences and what they had learned from those attending the conference in person, with the wider University community. All videos students created can be viewed below.

The Walker Institute had valuable support from the Digital Campaigns and Engagement team from the University of Reading. We would like to extend our gratitude to Pete Castle, Ben Warden, Sasha Fitzgerald and Sara Lovejoy for providing students with insights into the workings of a newsroom and filming short videos for non-academic audiences. The DCE team edited most of the short videos students created and posted them in the University social media.

Featured Videos

PhD student Hannah Case talks to us about her experience attending COP28 in-person.

PhD student Alex Moores has created a video on how he experienced COP28 remotely, attending the Climate Action Studio.

COP Climate Action Studio Gallery

2023.11.30 - Picture taken from Fiona Spuler; entrance to the blue and green zone in COP28
2023.12.06 Emmanuel Essah_Philippa Oppenheimer_Fiona Spuler at COP28 b
2023.12.03-credit Emmanuel Essah-COP28 Dome
2023.12.09-COPCAS day 8 saturday
2023.12.07-Image credit Hannah Case
2023.12.08-Image Credit Harley Pope_COP28 Dubai Expo
2023.12.09- Image Credit Deepa Senapathi in Terra at COP28 -Bee the change
2023.12.09-Image credit Hannah Case - protesting at COP28 c - Copy
2023.11.30 - COPCAS afternoon briefing a
Bee the change event
Dubai exhibition centre COP28
Hannah Case at COP28
image by Hannah Case at COP28 general view
Image by Hannah Case at COP28 indigenous women from Peru
image by Hannah Case at COP28 negotiations
2023.12.04-COPCAS day 3
image by Hannah Case at COP28 ocean talk
image by Hannah Case at COP28 round table talk
image by Hannah Case at COP28 transparency team
2023.12.07-Image credit Hannah Case af
image by Hannah Case at COP28
2023.12.08-COPCAS day 7b
image by Harley Pope COP28 activism poster
image by Harley Pope COP28 youth poster
image by Harley Pope COP28
Image credit Hannah Case COP28 blue zone
Image credit Hannah Case COP28
image credit Harley Pope COP28 dome at night
2023.11.30 - COPCAS morning briefing a - Copy
2023.11.30 Philippa Oppenheimer - Fiona Spuler at COP28
2023.11.30 street view of Dubai
2023.11.30-COPCAS participants taking lunch
2023.12.01-COPCAS day 2
2023.12.03-credit Rosalind Cornforth-addressing climate risks
2023.12.04 - COPCAS briefing with students in Dubai
2023.12.04-Credit_Fiona Spuler at COP28 b
2023.12.04-Credit_Fiona Spuler at COP28 c
2023.12.05 - COPCAS Day 4
2023.12.05 - Image credit Fiona Spuler, paintings created at the Women and Gender Pavilion at COP28
2023.12.05 Credit Emmanuel Essah_ building in the Expo in Dubai
2023.12.05 Fiona Spuler and Philippa Oppenheimer at COP28
2023.12.06-COPCAS day 5
2023.12.07-Image credit Hannah Case Harley Pope at COP28
2023.12.08-COPCAS day 7
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I very much enjoyed...

“Firstly, I think [attending COPCAS] will help me with any applications/ grant writing as they often have a ” general public section” and I think I will be much better at conveying my own work in this manner. Secondly, I think COPCAS has given me the confidence to approach my internship in policy head on. .”

Lynn de Miranda FoodBioSystems DTP student

I really felt like...

“[I gained] experience engaging with and communicating policy events to a wide range non-scientific audience and enjoyed the collaboration with other students creating written work.

Megan Sherlock, Scenario DTP student

This has made me...

“There are so many events happening at COP it is difficult to keep up/track, but having someone you know there who you can talk to about their personal experiences is much more engaging than following along through external news channels.

Emmeline Smith, Scenario DTP student

I learnt about...

I learnt about interviewing skills and was able to gain awareness of my own strengths and weakness. I engaged and connected with many people in relevant fields and enjoyed being exposed to different ways of thinking and approaching the issues I am interested in.

COPCAS student

I got exposed to...

“I gained new skills about science communication. I was also engaged more in COP. And I enjoyed my time with people in the studio and working on project together.

Charlie Davies, Scenario DTP student

I got exposed to...

“Personally, the experience has increased my appetite for engaging with climate action. I have also been able to pursue creative projects alongside of this for which I am very grateful.”

Anonymous COPCAS 2023 student