Academies & Trainings

Climate Services Academies

In order for countries to meet their commitments on climate adaptation and to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), decision makers from government officials to farmers require increased capacity to understand the risks posed by climate variability and change and address those risks effectively. To address these needs, IRI is building on decades of experience in climate services by developing a network of Climate Services Academies. Read more about our approach and focus areas here.


In order for countries to meet their commitments on climate adaptation and to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), decision makers–from government officials to farmersrequire increased capacity to understand the risks posed by climate variability and change and to address those risks effectively. 

This requires a coordinated approach to the creation of climate services that produces reliable climate information and ensures it aligns with the practical needs of decision makers.  A functioning climate service must engage both the producers and the users of climate information. The producers of climate information must understand the decision-making needs of their “customers” working in agriculture, energy, water, transportation and other at-risk sectors through a collaborative process spanning the generation, translation, transfer and use of climate information. And those customers must know how to apply climate information for better outcomes.

This rise of climate adaptation to the top of the development agenda has created a strong demand for a comprehensive, high quality curriculum to facilitate building of climate services around the world. The global COVID pandemic has caused a shift to online learning that has the potential to augment learning environments through remote support of local trainings and hybrid formats.  

To address these needs, IRI is building on its decades of experience in climate services by developing a network of Climate Services Academies.  A Global Academy and curriculum will serve as a centralized hub, which  will be linked with national and regional level Academies.  To address the need for virtual engagement during the COVID pandemic, IRI’s Climate Service Academies are now delivering trainings remotely while maintaining high standards of quality and effectiveness. 

The IRI Climate Services Academy Model

A major challenge in the development of effective climate services is the disconnect that exists between providers (national meteorological services, regional climate centers) and sectoral users (scientists, practitioners, policy makers and more). Other common development issues that have limited  capacity building include duplication of efforts, lack of coordination between initiatives, and difficulty sustaining project-based activities.

The Climate Service Academies model addresses these key issues directly, going beyond the disconnected, ad hoc, one-off training efforts that hamper shortterm efforts. Academy functions include:

  1. CONVENING.  Creating and expanding networks opens dialogue across sectors and stakeholders to identify existing initiatives, challenges and opportunities.  Convening stakeholders promotes greater understanding of actors, opportunities and challenges in the climate services landscape, including identifying key capacity gaps among producers and users and strengthening connections within and across climate services pillars. Convening also institutionalizes capacity building with “legacy partners” beyond the lifetime of individual projects. 
  2. PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT TRAININGS. Tailored short courses and training programs target building capacity around identified needs focused on best available science and practices. IRI is developing sector-specific training programs with partners at the national, regional, and global levels.
  3. UNIVERSITY ENGAGEMENT. Climate change adaptation and resilience is a young and urgently needed field. There is an opportunity to create a new generation of climate-smart professionals through higher education programs, including graduate-level curricula.

Sample Training Programs (in development)

  • Climate Foundations, focusing on climate and climate services literacy essential for defining needs and working across pillars. Includes a Climate Justice Module.
  • Training National Hydro-Meteorological Services in the generation and provision of climate services (link to NextGen flier)
  • ENACTS for met services and users (link to ENACTS page/flyer)
  • Climate Services for Agriculture (info/link to Ethiopia trainings when available)
  • Index Insurance (need to check on what we can link to)
  • Training program alignment with the newly launched Columbia Climate School 


The Global Academy is also developing a comprehensive curriculum based on practical competencies. This curriculum focuses on building capacity strategically across the four pillars of climate services and relevant sectors.

All trainings and materials are being designed in accordance with evidence-based educational design principles and the prevailing heuristics of relevant fields of practice. Inclusion, accessibility and climate justice are also being prioritized  by developing digital and analog modalities for each training and the related assets/materials if/as needed; and localizing each training (i.e., adapting the learning experience as well as training objectives and materials for respective sociocultural and political contexts and language requirements).

Looking Ahead

After launching the Global Climate Services Academy, IRI is now exploring opportunities to engage with a broad range of interested organizations requesting this type of curriculum and training, including international humanitarian organizations (e.g World Food Program), university networks (e.g. Least Developed Countries Universities Consortium on Climate Change), and grassroots, community based organizations (e.g. 2050 Collectives).  


Initial funding support for IRI Climate Services Academies comes from ACToday, the first Columbia World Project and the SHRJMLEY Fund.