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There are a number of ways in which University members can engage with the UNFCCC. Apart from purely personal engagement through Submissions, it is possible to participate as University delegates at Conference of Parties (COP) Sessions and at intersessional meetings (of Subsidiary Bodies, Committees, and Boards) and to hold side events at some of them. In addition, the University also regularly holds debrief seminars following UNFCCC Sessions. 

Over the years, participation in COP Sessions have grown significantly, not only in the form of UNFCCC registered ‘Blue Zone’ participants (as illustrated below), but also as ‘Green Zone’ participants.  


The Blue Zone is the venue of the negotiations and UNFCCC approved side events and, as such, is managed by the UNFCCC Secretariat. The Green Zone is managed by the COP Presidency and/or the host country and is the venue of events and exhibitions organized mostly by corporates and Civil Society/Non-Governmental Organizations (CSOs/NGOs).

Being an admitted non-governmental observer organization, the University can register members to have access to the Blue Zone at UNFCCC sessions and meetings as non-governmental observers, and also apply to hold a Blue Zone side event at UNFCCC Sessions. 

Access to the Blue Zone also entitles access to the Green Zone, but not vice-versa. However, the University is not involved in providing access to the Green Zone. University members who would like to attend the Green Zone (only) will have to apply for a Green Zone badge through the Presidency/host county website by themselves.

This section lists the upcoming sessions of the UNFCCC governing and permanent subsidiary bodies (see ‘Background’ above), together with information regarding participation in them by University members.


 Dates: November 2024
 Location: Baku, Azerbaijan
 Contact: UNFCCC Secretariat
 E-mail: secretariat@unfccc.int
 Website: https://unfccc.int/calendar/events-list


As the number of participants for NGO observer participants is usually capped at 3-4 per week by the UNFCCC, the University’s UNFCCC Selection Panel, i.e. the OCRN Steering Group and the University’s UNFCCC Contact Point, have  established the following procedure for applying to be part of the University Blue Zone delegations.

  • Once the UNFCCC Secretariat opens the nomination process for Blue Zone badges the Contact Point, notifies University members through the ICP mailing list and the ‘Upcoming Sessions’ section of this page.

  • University members are invited to register for nomination by the University to participate (receive a badge for the Blue Zone)

  • The Contact Point nominates all the University members that have correctly registered by the registration deadline with the UNFCCC.

  • The UNFCCC then determines the number of Blue Zone badges made available to the University.

  • If not all nominations can be accommodate, the Selection Panel decides who will be on the University’s delegation, according to the selection criteria listed below. 

Delegate Selection Criteria

Apart from general criteria concerning the overall composition of the University’s delegation (staff-student balance, gender balance, departmental balance), the selection of University Blue Zone delegates will be based on a number of personal criteria, such as involvement in a proposed (University) Blue Zone Side Event, research/work relevance of a participation, relevance to the University. University members will be asked to make a case with respect to such personal criteria when they register for nomination (and a failure to do so may invalidate the registration). 

Admitted observer organization can propose to (co-) host a single Blue Zone side event in any one session. The University's UNFCCC Selection Panel has adopted the following procedure for University members to put forward Blue Zone side event proposals for selection to be .

The University’s Contact Point announces on the ICP mailing list and other appropriate media that application for the internal selection of a Blue Zone side event is open. Applications are usually made by means of a web-form within a specified timeframe. Note that applicants will have to apply separately to be part of the University (Blue Zone) delegation, if they wish to participate in their side event.

Side Event Selection Criteria

Once the internal deadline has closed, the Selection Panel will select a University sponsored side event proposal, based on the following criteria:  

  • Alignment with preferably multiple research activities across the university 

  • Alignment with the themes of the Session in question

  • Number of other admitted observer organizations that have confirmed to co-sponsor the event (given the scarcity of side event slots, the UNFCCC Secretariat tends not to accept only multi-single sponsor event proposals, and even they have no guarantee for success)

1728 cop26 screenshot 2020 07 20 at 12 31 29 1030x481

The Conference of the Parties (COP) has been held annually since 1995 by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). It was established to facilitate dialogue, showcase climate science and to provide a space for countries to negotiate ways to combat climate change.  COP26 was held in Glasgow on 31 October – 13 November 2021. For information about the event in general you can go to the UK's COP26 website.

The University of Oxford has been deeply committed to participating in the UNFCCC COP process and COP 26 was no different. Climate, social and political scientists were there to support the negotiation process in a number of roles. 


Attendees: 94 (that we know of!)

Alumni:  17
Students:  41
Research staff:  36

Sessions: 64

Leaders Summit  4
Finance  7
Energy  8
Nature (Water etc.)   10
Nature (Landuse)  7
Resilience  10
Industry  6
Transport  4
Cities, built environment  6
Final day  2

November 2, 2021

Risk matters: making resilience add up in a Net Zero transition

with Nicola Ranger

November 3, 2021

How can climate-informed stress testing support a more resilience global economy and society?

with Ben Caldecott, Nicola Ranger and Jim Hall











Predictors of Success in a Greening World

with Cameron Hepburn and Sir Martin Smith











The Voiceless Revolution

with Alexis McGivern











Departments: 15+

Dept. of Anthropology
Dept. of Earth Sciences
Dept. of Engineering
School of Geography
Dept. of Physics
Dept. of Sociology
Dept. of Zoology
Faculty of History
Faculty of Law
Oxford School of Global and Area Studies

Social media

  • Social media was promoted through the True Planet campaign
  • Specifically at COP26:
    Media engagement strategy generated 1,142 stories mentioning Oxford researchers
  • Interviewed by the BBC, the Evening Standard, Time, the Washington Post, and Sky News; quoted in these and the Sun, the Economist, Forbes, Bloomberg, France 24 and many more – as far as the Hawaii Telegraph, the Times of India, and even Breitbart!
  • 1-minute climate ‘myth-busting’ videos on Instagram Reels generating 330k views in 2 weeks
  • Countdown to COP videos – ~350k-400k social media views (still being counted!)
  • True Planet overall: 1m social media engagements |12 policymakers briefings

The multilateral climate change negotiations involve three interrelated multilateral treaties: the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC, entry into force 1995), The Kyoto Protocol (KP, 2005), and the Paris Agreement (PA, 2015). Each of these treaties has its own governing body:

  • the ‘Conference of the Parties (COP) of the UNFCCC’;

  • the ‘COP serving as the Meeting of the Parties of the KP’ (CMP); and

  • the ‘COP serving as the Meeting of the Parties of the PA’ (CMA),’

the meetings of which are referred to as ‘Sessions’, and identified by their number (‘COP27’ is the 27th Session of the COP).

Apart from the governing bodies, the multilateral climate change negotiations (informally often also referred to as ‘UNFCCC’) involve a number of process management-, subsidiary- and constituted bodies, of which the latter two may admit observers to their meetings.

The two permanent Subsidiary Bodies – for Implementation (SBI), and for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) – meet during the annual governing body Sessions, and intersessionally (usually in June in at the seat of the UNFCCC Secretariat in Bonn/Germany).

The UNFCCC website lists 14 constituted bodies involved in the UNFCCC process, namely:

Many of these admit observers to their meetings, but the University is not involved in the selection process for attending these meetings, which is in most cases managed by the UNFCCC Secretariat through the relevant UNFCCC observer constituencies. To find out about upcoming meetings of these bodies, please consult their webpages (as hyperlinked in the list above).

The University is a member of the Research and Independent NGO (RINGO) constituency of admitted UNFCCC NGO observer organizations. Notifications of opportunities to participate as an observer at constituted bodies meeting are usually be disseminated through the ICP mailing list. 

University members who want to participate will normally be requested to apply to the RINGO focal points. The selection of participants is carried out by the RINGO Steering Committee, in accordance to criteria listed on the RINGO website (which also has a calendar with the upcoming opportunities to attend constituent bodies meetings). 

University UNFCCC Session Seminars will be advertised via the International Climate Policy (ICP) mailing list (see below), on the ECI website and via Oxford Network for the Environment events email bulletins.

To be kept informed about events and opportunities for engaging with the UNFCCC, register with the University’s International Climate Policy (ICP) mailing list. N.B. The mailing list is open to members of the University of Oxford only.


To join, send your University (‘ox.ac.uk’) email address to the University’s UNFCCC contact point at administrator_crl@ouce.ox.ac.uk with subject-line: ICP mailing list.

The governing bodies of the multilateral climate change agreements (see 'Governance') decide, from time to time, to request submission on specific topics from stakeholders to inform the respective negotiations. Until recently, the stakeholders in question had to be governments or observer organizations, that is to say entities, such as the University, that are officially admitted as observers and, as such are also allowed to register individual participants and side events for the sessions of the relevant governing bodies and their subsidiaries.

However, it in certain cases also possible for individuals without formal observer status to send submissions to the UNFCCC secretariat in response to a request by the COP/CMA/CMP.

The ‘Open Calls for Submission' section below lists such requests and gives University members the chance to be listed  if they are interested in making a submission, while the section below lists ‘Past University Member Submissions’.

The following Guide on how to make a submission provides some further practical information, in particular also how individuals (without observer status) can submit their views as submissions to the relevant bodies.

Non-Party Stakeholders: How to make a submission to the UNFCCC Secretariat


From time to time, Parties and non-Party stakeholders are invited to make submissions on particular topics. These invitations are made in decisions of the relevant bodies of the multilateral climate change regime. Submissions are made available on the UNFCCC Secretariat website.

What is the Purpose of Submissions?

Submissions by a Party help provide other Parties with preliminary views on a certain topic. They help inform future negotiations on an issue. Submissions from non-Parties can play a similar role if they are focussed on the issue at hand. Submissions from non-Parties stakeholders can provide a fresh perspective on an issue.

Steps to consider in preparing a submission
1. Read the invitation to determine:
  • Who is invited to provide a submission of views.
  • The subject matter on which the invitees are requested to provide views.
  • The deadline for submissions of views.
  • How these submissions will be used in the process going forward.
2. Such invitations might be found in, e.g.:
  • Decision of the Conference of Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP), the Conference of serving as the meeting of Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP) and the Conference of Parties serving as the meeting of Parties to the Paris Agreement (CMA).
  • Conclusions coming out of the meeting process.
  • The proceedings of constituted body meetings (e.g The Standing Committee on Finance).
3. In preparing to write a submission of views, consider:
  • The history of negotiations on the issue in the UNFCCC process (look up past issues of Earth Negotiation Bulletin and past Decisions).
  • Making contact with Parties that have similar views to your own. Ask them what they would like to see in a submission. (Sometimes Parties are constrained by political or diplomatic perspectives that they have to follow. They may welcome a “less constrained” perspective.).
  • Look at the submission portal for the issue you are writing about and see what others are saying.
  • The kind of technical information, expertise and / or experience your organisation can provide that may help lead Parties to an agreement or solution at the negotiating table.
  • Whether advance discussions and or forming alliances amongst other like-minded organisations could help strengthen your voice on the matter at hand.
4. What to include in a submission:
  • An indication of who you are writing the submission on behalf of.
  • A short reference to the mandate for the submission.
  • A focussed discussion on the issue at hand, using concise, clear to understand language with short sentences.
  • A proposal for resolving the issue. Make this proposal as close to decision language as possible, without pre-empting the negotiation process.
  • A brief, diplomatic response to submissions that may not support your perspective.
  • A short note indicating how your proposal appears to represent a good compromise.
5. What to avoid in a submission:
  • Long exposés on an issue.
  • A treatise on why the global system is failing.
  • Theories that may be found in a technical or academic journal.
  • Technical, or academic language that may not be easily understood by decision makers. (Remember, for many Parties, English is not the first language).
6. The Process of making your submission as non-Party stakeholder without observer status: *

Non-Party stakeholders without observer status are welcome to make submissions in response to a specific call for submissions by emailing them to the UNFCCC Secretariat. Received submissions will go through a clearing process and once cleared will be published in the Submission and Statement Portal.

Submissions must indicate the exact issue, title, and mandate they are in response to (as listed on the UNFCCC Submissions Page of the OCRN website). As regards formatting:

  • The letterhead must carry: the name. logo. and contact details of the organization.
  • Do not use any special characters (e.g. # % & { } \ < > * ? / $ ! ‘ “ : @) and do not exceed a maximum of 31 characters for the file name and keep to a maximum of 10 MB per file to ensure proper processing of the file.
  • A pdf of the submission must be sent by email to submission-info@unfccc.int.

* The process of making submissions by organisations with official observer status is explained here.

Authors: Linda Siegele, Ian Fry, and Benito Müller 

 Topic: Finance

Call: Submit their views on the objective in line with paragraph 15 (“the new collective quantified goal aims at contributing to accelerating the achievement of Article 2 of the Paris Agreement of holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels, recognizing that this would significantly reduce the risks and impacts of climate change; increasing the ability to adapt to the adverse impacts of climate change and foster climate resilience and low greenhouse gas emissions development, in a manner that does not threaten food production; and making finance flows consistent with a pathway towards low greenhouse gas emissions and climate-resilient development;”)

Details and apply here >>>

Deadline: 15 August 2022

 Topic: LCIPP

Call: Views on their experience with the test version of the reporting tools, including experience with integrating the tools into their national inventory arrangements, and inputs on improving the tools at the latest six months after the release of the test version

Details and apply here >>>

Deadline: 31 August 2022

 Topic: Adaptation

Call: Information on their progress towards the achievement of the objectives of the process to formulate and implement national adaptation plans, as well as on their experience, best practices, lessons learned, gaps and needs, and support provided and received

Details and apply here >>>

Deadline: 1 February 2024

This section lists submissions by University members following past calls (with their topic, mandate, and deadline) in reverse chronological order.

University members are invited to share their submissions on this platform by sending them with the relevant topic, mandate and and submission date/deadline to the OU UNFCCC contact point: administrator_crl@ouce.ox.ac.uk (with the subject line: “past UNFCCC submission”).


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There are various opportunities for PhD students to be seconded to the civil service or other policy-related bodies. These placements give researchers direct experience of the policy-making process. Below is an inexhaustive list of the schemes which usually offer PhD policy placements each year. Please check the linked pages for each scheme for the most up-to-date information, including application deadlines and whether the scheme is running. Note that not all schemes have been announced yet for the coming year and may or may not be running, but take a look at the details from previous years to get a sense of the usual timelines and types of projects.

For general questions about undertaking a policy internship during your PhD at Oxford, contact our Policy and Comms Officer. For questions about specific schemes, please refer to the information and contact details on the websites linked below.

UKRI Policy Internship Scheme

This scheme supports UKRI-funded PhD students to undertake a secondment in a host institution. In past years, host institutions have included several civil service departments and organisations that work on climate change and environmental issues, such as the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the Committee on Climate Change, and the Department for Energy, Security and Net Zero.

POST Fellowships

The Parliamentary Office for Science and Technology offers fellowships to PhD students or those who have recently completed their PhD. Activities might include writing a POSTnote or POSTbrief or assisting with select committees. More information can be found on the POST Fellowships FAQs page.

In previous years, the Nuffield Foundation has offered funding for POST Fellowships, as has UKRI through the UKRI Policy Internship Scheme detailed above.

Open Innovation Team PhD Placement Scheme

The Open Innovation Team (OIT) is a cross-government unit in the UK Civil Service which works with experts to generate policy ideas and analysis. They host PhD students to work on policy projects. There are two recruitment rounds each year. 

Note that OIT does not provide funding. In order to carry out the placement interns have to secure funding from their university, PhD funding body or another suitable organisation. Contact your Doctoral Training Centre at Oxford to find out if they have funds available for such placements. 

 Plant varieties and seeds strategy: call for ideas
UK government consultation | Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs
The policy area of Plant Varieties and Seeds (PVS) covers Plant Variety Rights (intellectual property rights of plant breeders), plant variety registration, setting standards for marketing and certification of seed and other plant propagating material and ensuring that these standards are upheld. The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs, Scottish Government, Welsh Government and Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs in the Northern Ireland Executive are working together to develop a UK PVS Strategy spanning 5 years. This will be the first strategy in the PVS area and will be an opportunity to engage with industry and other stakeholders to set out a shared vision, priorities, and actions to achieve these. The strategy is intended to be a means of setting direction, providing an overall framework to support prioritisation and provide clarity.
Deadline: 19 December 2022

  Methane suppressing feed products: call for evidence
UK government consultation | Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs
Cows and sheep are the main cause of methane emissions from farms. Introducing feed products that reduce methane to livestock diets may have the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs wants to know: if you’re aware of the role of feed additives in farming, and of feed products that reduce methane; if you’re aware of anything that could prevent these products being introduced; and how government can work with farmers and agri-businesses to encourage the use of feed products like these.
Deadline: 23:45 GMT, 15 November 2022

  Agriculture (Wales) Bill
Welsh Parliament inquiry | Economy, Trade and Rural Affairs Committee
The Economy, Trade and Rural Affairs Committee is undertaking Stage 1 scrutiny of the general principles of the Agriculture (Wales) Bill (the Bill). To help inform its scrutiny, the Committee is asking for views on the general principles of the Agriculture (Wales) Bill and the need for legislation to deliver the stated policy intention. The Bill includes multiple parts, including: sustainable land management; support for agriculture; matters relating to agriculture and agricultural products; forestry; and wildlife.
Deadline: 11 November 2022

  Regional flood and coastal committees: membership and boundary change
UK government consultation | Environment Agency
Regional Flood and Coastal Committees (RFCCs) are Committees established by the Environment Agency under the Flood and Water Management Act 2010. They bring together members appointed by Lead Local Flood Authorities and independent members with relevant experience. There are 12 Committees in England and each has a Chair appointed by the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs. The Environment Agency has two changes to the RFCCs that it would like your views on: variation of the composition of 3 RFCCs and a proposed amendment to the English Severn and Wye RFCC boundary.
Deadline: 23:45 GMT, 8 November 2022

  Review of Net Zero: call for evidence
UK government consultation | Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy
The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Secretary of State has commissioned a review to ensure that delivering the net zero target does not place undue burdens on businesses or consumers. The review will report at the end of 2022. As part of the review, the Chair, Chris Skidmore MP, will consult widely with a diverse range of stakeholders, including investors, industry, and experts in different fields, through a series of roundtables and direct meetings. BEIS is supplementing this with a broad call for evidence, giving the general public, businesses and other organisations a chance to share their views on the whole economy transition, maximising net zero growth opportunities, the challenges to address in this review and the future of net zero. The call for evidence includes a number of questions, including two questions specifically for academia and innovators: How can we ensure that we seize the benefits from future innovation and technologies? Is there a policy idea that will help us reach net zero you think we should consider as part of the review?
Deadline: 23:45 BST, 27 October 2022

 Expert database for the media: The University of Glasgow is hosting the COP26 Consortium of Universities expert profiles. Researchers should complete and submit the online to be contacted by the media for expert comment and input on research and issues relating to COP26.

Take the survey and sign up to the expert database here >>

 UKRI Policy Internships scheme
Are you a UKRI-funded doctoral student interested in undertaking an internship at a policymaking organisation? As part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI)’s postgraduate training portfolio, the UKRI Policy Internships scheme provides an opportunity for UKRI-funded doctoral students to undertake a three-month placement at one of a selected group of influential policy organisations. Currently the scheme supports on average 123 internships per year across all host partners. This year, internships are available with 27 host partners, including: government departments; Government Office for Science; non-departmental public bodies; House of Commons Select Committees; UK and devolved parliaments; and learned societies. During their internship, the student undertakes work on a policy topic agreed with their host partner that is relevant to both parties. At the end of the internship, the student is expected to have: produced a briefing paper; participated in a policy inquiry; and, or organised a policy event. The intention of the scheme is to embed students in an environment where they can engage with the process of converting research outputs into policy. These internships equip students with transferable skills and training relevant to the future career paths that the student may choose. This scheme is only open to doctoral students funded by the research councils of UKRI.
Deadline: 16:00 GMT, 4 November 2022

 Embedding methodological development in social science research: 2022
Proposals funded through this Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) highlight notice will refine methodological approaches developed since March 2020 to enable them to be fully embedded in research practice, maximising their contribution to social science research. Many of the adaptations and innovations that occurred across a range of methodologies during the pandemic will offer long-term benefits to the community. This opportunity aims to maximise the impact of these by providing an opportunity for researchers to consolidate and refine methodological approaches to ensure they represent good practice and are accessible widely across social science research. Innovative, cross-sector and cross-disciplinary approaches are encouraged. Applicants are encouraged to think particularly about use of social science research methods across policy, commercial and third sector settings. The full economic cost of your project can be up to £1 million. ESRC will fund 80% of the full economic cost. Funding is available for up to three years. Projects can start from 1 May 2023 and must start no later than 1 July 2023.
Deadline: 16:00 BST, 25 October 2022

 Research and Public Policy Partnership Scheme

In collaboration with the UK Civil Service Policy Profession, the University's Research & Public Policy Partnership Scheme offers awards to support partnerships between researchers at Oxford and policymakers.

This call focuses on policy challenges outside the UK, and those that require international responses, and offers support for partnerships between researchers at any department or faculty at Oxford and policymakers in and outside the UK.

Deadlines: tbc