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Nicholas Simpson

Affiliateship: 2021-2025

Cohort 6

Country (Nationality)



Geological, Environmental, Earth & Space Sciences


Dr. Nicholas Simpson works with the Africa Climate & Development Initiative (ACDI), University of Cape Town. He is Chapter Scientist for the Africa chapter of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 6th Assessment contributing author to Chapter 1 (Complex Risk Framework), Chapter 8 (Economy, Poverty and Livelihoods), Chapter 9 (Africa) and Chapter 16 (Key Risks) of the IPCC. Nick's current research concentrates on the assessment and management of complex climate risk. In Africa, this includes assessment of responses to water scarcity, climate change literacy and perception, climate change finance and insurance, climate resilient development pathways and the adoption of renewable energy, climate change and the United Nations Security Council, and risk to Africa’s coastal heritage. His previous research extended security studies and criminology to the governance of new 'Anthropocene harmscapes’, exploring how, why and with what effect resilience has been employed as a means of understanding and responding to unanticipated and severe climate change events. In doing so his publications have coined the terms ‘climate gating’, ‘resilience policing’, and ‘partial functional redundancy’ through empirical analysis of the distributional characteristics and capabilities of forms of adaptation arising globally in response to climate insecurities. His PhD extended the practice of environmental assessment to better conceptualise human well-being and equitable participation. He  has conducted empirical field work in 6 African countries and taught postgraduate courses in four different departments at the University of Cape Town including environmental, law, engineering and climate science departments.