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University of California Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation

The Security Implications of Climate Change

Climate change is an urgent and growing threat to U.S. and global security. In a sobering assessment report released on June 28, 2022, NATO recognized climate change as an “overarching challenge of our time” that will “measurably” increase the risks to security and “worsen as the world warms further.” Global climate change will challenge international governance systems, force a reimagining of the roles of militaries and defense communities, spark migration and border disputes, disrupt global trade, prompt conflict within and between countries over scarce resources, and threaten social cohesion and economic stability.

There is a wealth of climate science detailing the process and impacts of a warming world—sea level rise, heat waves, wildfires, droughts, more intense storms, ocean acidification—and enormous scientific confidence in the fundamentals of climate change: that it is real, that it is accelerating, that it is caused by human activities, that it will worsen before we can stop it, and that we will be better off if we take aggressive action now. There is also a substantial body of social science research that sheds light on how particular impacts are likely to affect, or be affected by, particular communities in particular places.

What there is much less of—and what is vitally needed—is macro, transnational social science research on the security implications of climate change writ large that can inform international and national strategies and processes as the world prepares for a fundamentally changed landscape.

To fill this gap, IGCC is launching an initiative on climate change and security that will support social science research collaboration across the UC system, and the building of networks—among faculty, students, and the policy community, both in California and beyond. The first phase of this initiative will focus on a new research competition, in which IGCC will allocate up to $150,000 to support UC faculty research in specific areas in order to generate new and exciting policy-relevant research across the UCs and meet institutional goals that will serve IGCC’s long-term interests.

Goals for Research:

  1. Support the production of a new body of research across the UCs—in an area where there is a clear gap.
  2. Stimulate development of an interdisciplinary and policy-engaged UC network in this research area.
  3. Support up-and-coming scholars from diverse backgrounds.
  4. Support dissemination and elevation of this research among key audiences.


IGCC is inviting proposals on the following themes. We will consider proposals that explore the impacts of climate change in these domains both for global security and/or U.S. national security:

  1. Migration and Border Disputes
  2. Trade and Global Value Chains
  3. Energy, Food Supplies, Water, and Infrastructure
  4. Political Violence, Radicalization, Fragility
  5. Implications for militaries and the defense community
  6. International governance

Number of Awards

IGCC will make up to three awards for up to $50,000 to support interdisciplinary and policy-engaged research across the UC campuses on sub-themes related to climate change and international security.


Full-time UC ladder-rank faculty and LPSOE/LSOE faculty are encouraged to apply.

The competition is open to all academic disciplines. Multidisciplinary approaches are encouraged where relevant, as is the inclusion of nonacademic experts and students.

Proposals will be evaluated on their quality and on their relevance to IGCC’s goal of understanding the threats to international security posed by climate change, which can benefit from global cooperation to solve.

IGCC seeks innovative approaches to international cooperation and conflict resolution. The international sources and/or consequences of the phenomenon studied must be an integral part of the project.

Projects at any stage of development may be proposed; however, preference will be given to projects that have already made some substantial progress (for example, having the research team organized, or advanced plans for a workshop in place).

Expected Outcomes

  1. Dissemination and Collaboration Plan: We want to make sure that IGCC-supported research not only advances scholarship, but also has an impact on the world outside the academy and contributes in some way to solving pressing global challenges. For this reason, we will ask awardees to consider ex ante how their research can support and influence actors who have the ability to turn research into real-world action. Who these actors are and how best to engage them will differ from project to project, but we expect all awardees to develop a plan identifying important stakeholders and avenues to influence them.
  2. Completion of working paperjournal article, or detailed end-of-year report.
  3. Completion of public-facing, accessible derivatives. Awardee will publish at least one blog post, magazine essay, or op-ed translating research for a wider audience.
  4. Participation in dissemination conferences or other events.
  5. Participation in IGCC dissemination efforts, including interviews and news stories.

How To Apply

Proposals must include:

  1. Applicant information and abstract: Complete the required applicant information on the web form and provide a brief summary (1,000 characters) of your research project.
  2. Detailed description of the research project: The narrative description of the project should not exceed 1,500 words. This limit is strictly enforced. Please make sure to include these elements:
    • Goal of the research: What do you hope to accomplish through this research? How will lessons learned from your research benefit efforts outside the academy to address security threats posed by climate change? What is unique or innovative about your approach to the problem or question addressed by your research project? Although not required, we encourage awardees to consider how their research can benefit the State of California.
    • Elements of the research: You may propose fieldwork, access to data, graduate student researchers, or a workshop, symposium, or other type of meeting that fits within the budget, but please explain how it will contribute to your research objectives. A proposal for more than one meeting is acceptable, but must be justified.
    • Contribution to the scholarly and policy community: How will your research advance academic understanding or inform policy? What other practical applications or outcomes do you foresee? Please include initial thoughts on a dissemination and collaboration plan (see Expected Outcome #1).
  3. Planning timeline
  4. Dissemination plan
  5. List of research partners and roles
  6. Curriculum vitae (maximum two pages each), for the PI (organizer) and co-PIs (co-organizers).
  7. Budget and Budget Justification: Use the attached “Sample Budget Worksheet” to build your budget. Include a budget justification (narrative) explaining the purpose of the expenses and how you calculated the costs. See next page for allowable costs and budget restrictions.

Allowable Costs and Budget Restrictions

Allowable Costs and Budget Justification: Proposal budgets may include direct cost expenditures that are incurred to directly support the proposed research activities only. Funding requests must be judicious, well justified, and follow UC guidelines. Non-allowable costs will be deducted from the funding request.

Non-Allowable Costs and Budget Restrictions: Funding provided by this opportunity may not be used to cover patient care costs, clinical trials, patent execution costs, fundraising costs, subawards to non-UC-affiliated entities or indirect cost recovery.

Local Campus Requirements

Your campus may have internal requirements and deadlines that must be followed when applying for financial support. Contact your department’s business administrator or your campus Office of Contracts and Grants/Sponsored Projects for guidance and campus deadlines.


Online application materials must be submitted by 5:00 p.m. PST, Monday October 31, 2022.

We will not review late or incomplete applications.

Proposal Review and Award Notification

The award will be made by the IGCC working group on climate and security, a multidisciplinary group with representatives from across the UC campuses and from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

The initial review of the proposal will not involve the committee member from the applicant’s home campus.

Applicants will receive written notification of results by December 15, 2022.

Administration of Award and Reimbursement of Expenses

At the time of award, IGCC funds are transferred to the awardee’s department and administered locally. IGCC funds are administered through the applicant’s local fiscal administrator, not by the IGCC central office.

Award funds are transferred to the recipient’s home department and administered locally on his or her home campus via Interlocation Transfer of Funds (ILTF). For UC San Diego, awards will be processed via the online Transfer of Funds (TOF).

Original receipts are required by the University of California for reimbursement of travel and most entertainment expenses. Receipts should be submitted to the fiscal administrator on the home campus for reimbursement. Questions about research and travel reimbursement should be directed to the fiscal administrator on the home campus.

Acknowledgement of IGCC Support

IGCC support should be acknowledged in all publications, flyers, conference/workshop programs, newsletters, and website announcements relating to this project. While IGCC requires recognition of its financial contribution, IGCC is not responsible for your results or opinions and no such suggestion should be made.

Please email a copy of all publications, press releases, flyers, invitations, conference programs, reading lists, syllabi, newsletters, or website announcements generated by this project to IGCC at


This award may not be renewed or extended. Unspent funds must be returned to IGCC.

Additional Information

For additional information, contact Marie Thiveos Stewart (, 858-822-4959) or email