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‘Supporting Climate Action Through Tree Planting’ recognised in UCD Research Impact Competition

Thursday, 30 November, 2023

Dr Chiara Cocco

Today, UCD Vice-President for Research, Innovation and Impact Professor Orla Feely announced the winner and runners-up of the 2021 UCD Research Impact Case Study Competition. The annual competition encourages researchers of all disciplines to write a case study that tells the story of how their work has made a positive difference.

Runner-up this year, ‘Supporting climate action through tree planting’ describes the research and impact of Coastal Communities Adapting Together, led by Dr Chiara Cocco, UCD School of Architecture, Planning and Environmental Policy.

Coastal communities are at significant risk from the impacts from climate change, such as coastal erosion and flooding, so it is important that these communities are collectively involved in local actions, like tree planting, to mitigate the impacts.

The Coastal Community Growing Together (CCGT) project developed an online platform to foster this type of collective action despite social distancing measures. The platform included a mapping tool, a tree carbon calculator, a community response dashboard, and interactive educational resources.  By showing the best location to plant trees, and explaining the benefits of doing so, these tools helped to raise awareness of climate change and increase community participation.

Over 800 participants were involved, including school children and citizen’s groups in Pembrokeshire, Wales. The project has promoted the uptake of local climate actions, helping to protect the environment and promote biodiversity.

Professor Feely commented: “I am always impressed with the quality of the applications we receive and this year was no exception. As chair of the judging panel, it is a great pleasure to learn more about the many ways UCD’s researchers strive to make the world a better place. 

“Among this year’s finalists we have researchers helping to tackle the ongoing pandemic, protect the environment, enrich people’s lives, influence policy, simulate sustainable economic growth, improve health and wellbeing, and inspire the next generation.

“I would like to congratulate all of our finalists. Their commitment to ensuring people benefit from their research is admirable and I am delighted to be able to recognise it through these awards.”

The 2021 UCD Research Impact Case Study Competition winner and runners-up were:



Professor Feely said: “I encourage all researchers to consider entering this year’s competition when it launches in the spring. To help you reflect on your impact and write a compelling entry we invite you to explore the UCD Impact Toolkit."

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