Nicholas Simpson

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Nick Simpson is a postdoctoral research fellow at the African Climate & Development Initiative (ACDI), University of Cape Town. Nick’s current research concentrates on the complexity of climate risk, climate change literacy, perception and response, energy access, and security practices at the interface of climate change and conflict. He is a Lead author on Chapter 9 “Africa Climate Change Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability” of the 6th Assessment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the Lead Author of forthcoming ICAMOS-IPCC-UNESCO White Paper on impacts, risks and vulnerability of heritage from climate change globally. He is a research fellow with the Global Risk Governance programme.

Nick's previous research has extended security studies to the governance of new 'Anthropocene' harmscapes. This work has extended our understanding of responses to unanticipated and severe Anthropocene events; such as the Cape Town drought. Nick was also the first to establish theoretical and practice ready consilience between the capabilities approach and environmental assessment. His PhD concentrated on participatory sustainable decision making and human wellbeing.

Nick’s research also focuses on the very bottom end of the economic spectrum, aiming to support the creation and improvement of livelihoods and small businesses of those most at environmental and economic risk. His work with Tearfund (UK) has identified 'design principles' that inform the conceptualization and evaluation of projects to aid in the replication of emerging sustainability-orientated work for humanitarian NGOs. Their latest collaboration concentrates on off-grid low carbon energy and credit solutions in Africa for informal and marginalized communities.

Some examples of Nick’s recent research:

Simpson, N.P., et al., 2022. Decolonising climate change-heritage research, Nature Climate Change

Vousdoukas,M.I. et al. including  Simpson, N. P. 2022.  African Heritage Sites threatened as sea-level rise accelerates. Nature Climate Change.

Zvobgo, L ., Johnston, P., Williams, P.A., Trisos,  C.H.,  Simpson, N.P. & Global Adaptation Mapping Initiative Team.2022. The role of indigenous knowledge and local knowledge in water sector adaptation to climate change in Africa: A structured assessment, Sustainability Science

Filho,W.L. et al. including Simpson, N.P. 2022. Understanding responses to climate-related water scarcity in Africa,
Science of The Total Environment, Volume 806, Part 1,

Simpson, N.P.,  et al., 2021. Climate Change Literacy in Africa. Nature Climate Change

Vousdoukas, M.I., et al., Simpson, N.P.[1] 2022. African Heritage Sites threatened as sea-level rise accelerates. Nature Climate Change

Simpson, N. P., Mach, K. J., Constable, A.,et al. 2021. A framework for complex climate change risk assessment. One Earth. 4(4): 489-501.

Simpson, N.P. Rabenold, C., Sowman, M., Shearing, CD., 2021. Adoption rationales and effects of off-grid renewable energy access for African youth: A case study from Tanzania, Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 141(110793): 1-17,

Simpson, N.P., and Daehnhardt, M., 2021. Design principles for sustainability: Tearfund’s expanding international development approach, Development in Practice

Cole, H.D., et al., (2021). Managing city-scale slow-onset disasters: Learning from Cape Town’s 2015-2018 drought disaster planning. International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction   

Williams, P., Simpson, N.,  Totin, E., North, M. and Trisos, C. 2021. “Feasibility Assessment of Climate Change Adaptation Options across Africa: An Evidence-Based Review.” Environmental Research Letters, 2021.

Turek-Hankins L.L. et al., 2021. Climate change adaptation to extreme heat: A global systematic review of implemented action, Oxford Open Climate Change

Simpson, N.P., 2021. Insurance in the Anthropocene: Exposure, Solvency and Manoeuvrability, in Cameron Holley, Liam Phelan and Clifford Shearing (eds.) Criminology and Climate: Insurance, Finance and the Regulation of HarmscapesRoutledge Series: Criminology on the Edge, Routledge, Sydney.

Simpson, N.P., Shearing, CD., Dupont, B. 2020. ‘Partial functional redundancy': an expression of resilience in the Cape Town drought. Climate Risk Management. 28,

Simpson, N.P., Shearing, CD., Dupont, B. 2020. Gated adaptation during the Cape Town drought: Mentalities, transitions and pathways to partial nodes of water securitySociety & Natural Resources. 33(8): 1041-1049,

Simpson, N.P., Ouweneel, B., 2020. Synthesis Report: South Africa climate change and security, in Hardt et al., Climate change in security perceptions, conceptions and practices at the United Nations Security Council, Berlin Climate and Security Conference 2020, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and The German Foreign Office, Potsdam, Germany.

Simpson, N.P. 2020. Demonstrating the use of a theoretically inspired Q-methodology for the evaluation of public participation in EIA, Operant Subjectivity: The International Journal of Q Methodology, 42: 1-31.

Simpson, N.P., Shearing, C. & Dupont B. 2019. Climate gating: A case study of emerging responses to Anthropocene RisksClimate Risk Management vol. 26.

Simpson, N., Simpson, K., Shearing, C. & Cirolia, L.R. 2019. Municipal Finance and Resilience Lessons for Urban Infrastructure Management: A Case Study from the Cape Town Drought. International Journal of Urban Sustainable Development (TJUE).

Liu Liu and  Simpson, N.P. 2019. Building a sustainable future: Environmental and economic sustainability: a practical guide. Tearfund.

Simpson, N.P., Shearing, C. & Dupont, B.. 2019. When Anthropocene shocks contest conventional mentalities: a case study from Cape Town, Climate and Development, DOI: 10.1080/17565529.2019.1609402

Simpson, N.P. and Krönke, M. 2019. Police in Zimbabwe: Helping hand or iron fist? Afrobarometer

Mutongwizo, T., Holley, C.,  Shearing, C.D. &  Simpson, N.P. 2019. Resilience policing: An emerging response to shifting harm landscapes, Policing.

Simpson, N.P. 2018. Accommodating landscape-scale shocks: Lessons on transition from Cape Town and Puerto Rico, Geoforum

Simpson, N.P. and Basta, C. 2018. Sufficiently capable for effective participation in environmental impact assessment? Environmental Impact Assessment Review,

Simpson, N.P. 2018. Applying the capability approach to enhance the conceptualisation of well-being in environmental assessment. Journal of Human Development and Capabilities,

Williams, et al., 2018A systematic review of how vulnerability of smallholder agricultural systems to changing climate is assessed in Africa, Environmental Research Letters,