Skip to content
Search Digital Science

New Digital Research Report Looks at the Landscape of Climate Research Funding

By Alex Jackson May 8, 2017

Analysis of climate research funding data highlights infrastructural dependency

  • This is the latest Digital Research Report, part of an ongoing series by Digital Science’s Consultancy team.

LONDON, UK & BOSTON, USA: May 8th 2017: Digital Science, a global technology company serving the research community, releases a new report titled: The Landscape of Climate Research Funding. This Digital Research Report looks at the growth and content of climate research investment and note its deep impact on monitoring, regulatory and policy  organisations.  The report is being presented at the Week of the Arctic event in Fairbanks, Alaska, May 8th – 14th.

Key findings, the Landscape of Climate Research Funding report:

  • Funding towards climate research has grown since 2003 and forms around 1.7% of total research grants or $1.5 billion annually
  • Climate change research has shifted from the understanding of global systems research towards impacts and responses – studies around adapting to and mitigating climate change.
  • Critical cuts may not be to research but to the agencies that implement the research.  Direct USA funding data for climate change research reveals just the tip of the iceberg.
  • USA policy change could undermine the efforts of many other nations and international organisations unless other governments step in to remind the USA of its mutual service obligations.
  • Changes in the focus or magnitude of research funding in one research-intensive economy can have direct and significant consequences for the wider global research landscape; these impacts will not be recognized for quite a while since the nature of this research spans years.
  • U.S. historically leads in climate change funding, while the E.U. has significantly increased funding in recent years.
  • Research funding for ‘climate change’ is not spread evenly across the globe, because some systems and some peoples are much more vulnerable to its impact than others; Arctic habitats and communities face climate change at twice the rate of the rest of the world.

This report uses data from the Dimensions database of competitive research grants, which indexes more than $1 trillion across more than 1.5 million individual grants and awards, linked to principal investigators and to their institutions. In light of new US government policy and funding changes around environmental protection and climate research, it will be difficult to assess the impact of these new rulings until years after the policy has been enacted. However, funding data provide a more proximate bellwether than traditional research analytics: research grant data can track overall trends highlighting where the impacts will fall, providing a useful reference point.

Figure: The distribution of grants awarded to countries for research on ‘climate change’. More intense colour indicates a greater relative number of grants to the country.

You can download this report now via Figshare here and we will be discussing online using #climatechangereport.

About Digital Science

Digital Science is a technology company serving the needs of scientific and research communities at key points along the full cycle of research. It invests in and incubates research software companies that simplify the research cycle, making more time for discovery. Its portfolio companies include a host of leading brands including Altmetric, BioRAFT, Figshare, IFI CLAIMS, Labguru, Overleaf, ReadCube, Symplectic, ÜberResearch, Peerwith, GRID, TetraScience and Transcriptic. It is operated by global media company, the Holtzbrinck Publishing Group. Visit and follow @digitalsci on Twitter.

About Digital Science Consultancy

Digital Science consultancy team delivers custom reporting and analysis to help you make better decisions faster. With in-depth knowledge of the historical and current research ecosystem, our unique perspective helps get the most value from data on the research lifecycle. The team of data scientists are experts in using innovative analytical techniques to develop revealing visualisations and powerful insights. They understand the changing research landscape, and can help develop an evidence base on which to build the best research management and policy decisions.
For further information, or if you would like to receive a printed copy of this report, please contact: Laura Wheeler, Digital Science /

© 2023 Digital Science & Research Solutions Ltd. All Rights Reserved