Submitted by Lydia Cumiskey, Anticipation Hub, and Dorothy Heinrich, Climate Centre
15 Feb 2022

The SHEAR legacy lives on

Over five years, the Science for Humanitarian Emergencies and Resilience (SHEAR) programme has carried out innovative, paradigm-shifting research in some of the most hazard-prone places in the world.

To draw its findings together, the SHEAR ‘Common Ground Finale’ event took place on 11 February 2022. The event showcased some of the evidence and learning captured by the programme’s multiple projects, including FATHUM, ForPAC, Landslide-EVO and LANDSLIP, as well as the Catalysts grants and its studentships. Over 100 people attended from all over the world, including many early-career students and researchers, representatives from government agencies, and humanitarian and development practitioners.

The Anticipacion Hub supported the event through a keynote address and an interactive MINGLE! session to spark connections between partners. “Good science is humble… good science builds bridges... good science centres around people,” said Kara Siahaan, head of the Anticipation Hub.

Training the next generation

A major legacy of the SHEAR programme is that it educated, trained and strengthened the capacity of current and next-generation scientists, practitioners and policymakers. These include 58 early-career researchers who worked on SHEAR’s various projects, and 13 PhD students took part in the SHEAR studentship cohort. They gained new interdisciplinary skills and access to networks that will help them bridge science and practice in their careers. Ultimately, this will increase their potential to strengthen early warning systems, implement anticipatory action approaches and build resilience - now and in the future.

In policy, uncertainty is not spoken about much; it is often regarded as negative. But building a better understanding of the nature of the challenge is essential.

Olivia Taylor SHEAR studentship cohort and PhD candidate at the University of Sussex

Expanding and bridging knowledge

Co-production and multidisciplinary approaches were core to SHEAR’s projects, and were instrumental in spearheading key developments in anticipatory action. For example, government, humanitarian and academic partners helped to co-produce the Early Action Protocol for Floods in Uganda.

Many of the lessons from the project were captured in its numerous knowledge resources, including over 100 academic publications, reports and case studies. The Climate Centre and Practical Action Consulting UK acted as knowledge brokers for the SHEAR programme, helping partners to span the boundaries between what science can offer and what is needed on the ground. You can find many of these resources on the Anticipation Hub.

The SHEAR programme’s outputs included:

  • over 90 research-practice projects
  • almost 70 partners around the world
  • 58 early-career researchers including 13 PhD students.
  • over 100 academic publications
  • over 70 new tools.

Community spirit

It was exciting to see a dynamic, friendly and interdisciplinary community grow through SHEAR. This community spirit will undoubtedly live on through the individuals and upcoming projects it inspired. “We have done something that is visionary, but realized in real-life practice,” said Maarten van Aalst, director of the Climate Centre. “It is a continued journey that we will all be part of, as the legacy lives on.”

The Anticipation Hub is committed to strengthening the partnerships built between producers and users of scientific information for anticipatory action. We welcome SHEAR alumni to engage in our working groups, participate in our dialogue platforms and use our community directory to further collaborate to build and exchange knowledge.

The SHEAR final event

This video captures some of the highlights from the SHEAR final event.

Play Video

If you missed the event, you can still register to access all the recordings and view the live blog.

You can also find the event’s resource page, packed full of cartoons, interviews and case studies.