The CCT research group helps society understand and address the far-reaching challenges that climate change poses in the context of other complex societal and environmental changes and issues. Motivated by a commitment to social, environmental and climate justice, our work aims to foster positive transformational change towards more genuine sustainable development at multiple scales and in diverse localities, including cities and regions. It facilitates critically reflexive, trans-disciplinary exchange between theory and practice by coproducing research with practitioners, policymakers and communities.

We work across and within four broad themes:

Adaptation governance and practice

Climate change adaptation requires adaptation of governance, institutions and policies across all sectors and levels of government. CCT researchers work at the research-policy interface to help policy-makers, organisations, businesses and communities make sense of and act effectively on the adaptation challenge, providing high level insights about the scope of the challenge, strategic advice about the risks, opportunities and tensions, and practical tools to accelerate adaptation action.

Sustainable and just transitions

How can we transition society onto a more sustainable and social just pathway, what approaches are different groups already taking and how can they be assisted? These are key questions for the CCT group. In particular, CCT researchers are involved in working with stakeholders to transition energy systems onto a lower carbon basis and reconfigure production systems using circular economy principles in a way that improves social justice, climate adaptation and other sustainable development outcomes.

Disasters, development, and resilience

Preventing, responding to and learning from disasters is a key activity in the context of climate change. Focused on the social drivers of disasters, notably urban planning, CCT researchers use qualitative and quantitative analytical tools and insights to help improve Disaster Risk Reduction efforts and position them within climate change adaptation. Their work aims to help develop approaches to potential disasters that foster socio-ecological resilience, justice and the achievement of UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Regenerative social-ecological systems

In the face of climate change and other pressures it is increasingly apparent that it is not enough to just protect social-ecological systems; they need to be made more regenerative. CCT researchers are working with stakeholders to help rethink, reboot and redesign agriculture and natural resource management in ambitious ways that celebrate the turn to catchment and landscape scale interventions, soil health, resilience thinking, strengthened rural-urban relations and transformational climate change adaptation.

Acknowledgement of Country

The Climate Change Transformations research group brings together scholars concerned with climate justice. As a group, we wish to acknowledge the Boon Wurrung and Woi Wurring peoples of the Eastern Kulin Nation as the Traditional Custodians of the unceded lands on which we research, teach and work, and pay respect to their Elders past, present and emerging. We also wish to acknowledge and pay respect to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, Ancestors and Traditional Custodians of all the lands and waters on which we live, work and learn. We acknowledge that sovereignty was never ceded and through our work we seek to understand how we might honour our collective obligations to Country, peoples, and cultures.


Climate Resilient Urbanisation in the Asia Pacific Region (CRU-AP)

2022 (ongoing)

Urbanisation and global environmental change are two of the most significant challenges facing cities and societies in the Global South. These challenges are particularly acute in developing countries in the Asia Pacific region.

Enhancing networks for resilience

2016 (ongoing)

Developing an understanding of how social networks influence social resilience to natural disasters and climate change.

Exploring the socio-institutional dimensions of transformative adaptation


This project aims to better understand drivers and limitations of ‘new forms of governance and practice’ in different policy sectors, and the implications of these insights for theories of adaptation and learning in public policy.

Enabling east Gippsland Councils to Integrate Climate Risk and Adaptation in Local & Regional Strategies


Developing a regional framework to consider climate change impacts and adaptation options across six regional local governments, led by East Gippsland Shire Council.

Enabling sustainable management of our natural resources under a changing climate

2017 (ongoing)

This project is co-producing climate change adaptation pathways plans and action in natural resource management.

Emergency volunteering 2030: Adapting the sector


This co-designed project is a collaboration with the University of Western Australia and key emergency management organisations for the Bushfire and Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre.

Balmoral Fire Connect


The Balmoral Fire Connect bring together leaders from community by working in partnership with Balmoral Bush Nursing Centre and CFA to track the flow of information and the changed practice in the community.

Investigating energy efficiency retrofit for post-carbon and equitable housing


This project aims to provide an analysis of housing retrofit and its links with household energy costs.

Questioning the role of market-based instruments for conservation on private land


This project explores the tensions, assumptions and challenges of private land conservation in the context of neoliberal environmental governance.

Tarnagulla Community Resilience Action Plan


This project aims to develop a Resilience Action Plan with and for the Tarnagulla community.

Climate Adaptation Australia


The project investigates the framings and practices of local governments, community groups and NGOs as they seek to create local adaptation strategies.

Linking the work of RMIT academics on climate change with that of civil society


This project provides links between RMIT academics working on climate change with civil society groups and individuals whose work has a similar focus.

Can cities be liveable and sustainable? a comparative study of Melbourne and Dhaka


The PhD project is informed by an interpretivist theoretical approach, to look at the comparative case studies of Melbourne and Dhaka. The findings will be informed by semi-structured interviews, secondary document analysis, and a literature review.

The Climate Change Exchange

2019 (ongoing)

The Climate Change Exchange is a project that is establishing a collaborative climate change research-practice network to meet the knowledge sharing, capacity building, and research needs of various government and policy stakeholders.

State-wide strategic framework to support Victoria’s regions to adapt to climate change


The Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) sought independent expert advice to co-design a long-term state-wide strategic framework to support Victoria’s regions to adapt to climate change.



Policy@RMIT (P@R) aims to study and enable collaborations between researchers and policy practitioners in co-producing research that supports evidence-informed policy in addressing major policy and societal issues.

Enhancing urban resilience to climate change impacts and natural disasters: Honiara

2019 (ongoing)

The overarching aim of this project is to enhance the resilience of the city and its inhabitants to current and future climate impacts and natural disasters.

How Well Are We Adapting


A climate change adaptation monitoring, evaluation and reporting tool, designed with and for Victorian local governments.

Research and Advice on Sector-Based and Cross-Sector Climate Change Adaptation


The Victorian Government Climate Change Act 2017 has identified seven sectors (or ‘systems’) that are impacted by or have an important influence on the State’s capacity to adapt to climate change.

Green Job Guarantee Policy Development


Working with the Australian Unemployed Workers' Union, we are exploring the possibilities of a Green Job Guarantee in the Australian context.

The Adani Controversy: Contesting coal and climate change through scale


We conducted an intensive analysis of over 3000 news media reports, complemented by interviews with key stakeholders from the environmental movement, to explore representations of the Adani controversy

Labour Nature Relations in Australia: Experiments in Collective Agency by Workers in the Climate Change Era


In an economic hegemony underwritten by the burning of fossil fuels – the fossil fuel regime – meeting the challenge of climate change will alter patterns of production and consumption and have far-reaching consequences for workers.

Adaptation for Recovery for East Gippsland Shire Council


The project aims to deliver both immediately tangible outputs for the affected communities, as well as longer-term, less easily quantifiable outcomes that will likely contribute to the communities’ overall resilience.

Enhancing Networks for Resilience Stage Two


This project investigates the role that the Southern Grampians Glenelg Primary Care Partnership could play in supporting learning and networking for disaster preparedness.

Rethinking Research Impact

2019 (ongoing)

Researchers and research institutions are increasingly required to demonstrate research impact, but what exactly is research impact and how should we approach it, given the complex challenges the world faces?

Reducing climate risks and greenhouse gas emissions by transforming human biosolids into biochar


We are working with RMIT scientists and engineers to help water utilities, the Environment Protection Authority and the Victorian Government reduce climate change risks and produce new resources.

Climate change adaptation planning in Victoria’s Water Sector


Scenario use and principles for embedding climate change into decision-making.

Climate Resilient Service Delivery


Climate Resilient Service Delivery aims to explore the use of scenarios planning as a tool for climate change adaptation decision making, with a particular emphasis on the local provision of community services to heat vulnerable populations.

Local Government Climate Change Adaptation Roles and Responsibilities under Victorian legislation: Guidance for local government decision-makers


The purpose of the project was to inform local governments on their legal roles and responsibilities under Victorian legislation for climate change adaptation.

Evaluation of the Hot Spots initiative: local responses to heatwave health impacts


Evaluation of the Lord Mayor's Charitable Foundation (LMCF) Hotspots Initiative: place-based cross-sector collaborations.

Understanding and planning for the health and wellbeing impacts of climate change in the City of Greater Dandenong and the Mornington Peninsula Shire

2021 (ongoing)

This project brings together researchers and practitioners planning for equitable health and wellbeing outcomes for all in the context of a changing climate.

Key People

Lead researchers

Dr Mittul Vahanvati

Dr Mittul Vahanvati

Convener of Climate Change Transformations Program

Dr Erica Kuligowski

Dr Erica Kuligowski

Principal Research Fellow

Program Researchers

Higher Degree Research Students

Vice Chancellor Research Fellows

Honorary members

  • Karyn Bosomworth   Matthias Garschagen   Hartmut Funfgeld   Briony Towers   Blanche Verlie

Related Content

News & Blog

CUR Stories

Capacity building in the Solomon Islands

26 October 2023

A research team, led by CUR member Prof. Darryn McEvoy, has just returned from a week-long field trip to Honiara, Solomon Islands.

CUR Stories

Shaping Pacific Urban Futures

12 September 2023

CUR researchers have contributed to sessions on the climate action day at the 6th Pacific Urban Forum, held at the Pacific Island Forum Secretariat Conference Centre in Suva, Fiji (5–7 September). The event was attended by 300 delegates from across the region. The Pacific Urban Forum (PUF) is the premier event for urban practitioners, thinkers, […]

CUR Stories

Ordinary people, extraordinary change: addressing the climate emergency through ‘quiet activism’

25 August 2021

Across the world, people worried about the impacts of climate change are seeking creative and meaningful ways to transform their urban environments. One such approach is known as “quiet activism”.

CUR Stories

Three weeks without electricity? That’s the reality facing thousands of Victorians, and it will happen again

21 June 2021

Last week’s storm system wreaked havoc across Victoria. Some 220,000 households and businesses lost power, and residents in the hills on Melbourne’s fringe were warned yesterday it might not be restored for three weeks.

CUR Stories

Rising to the challenge: the critical role of women in climate leadership

08 March 2021

Female leadership in climate decision making is critical if we are to find effective solutions to environmental challenges. Meet two women leading action for more sustainable and resilient futures.

CUR Stories

Assessing the impact of the Bushfire Royal Commission final report

09 November 2020

Set-up in the wake of the devastating 2019-20 bushfires, the Royal Commission has delivered its final report into national natural disasters. RMIT experts point to crucial gaps.

CUR Stories

How can urban and environmental planning shape a post-pandemic future?

04 October 2020

The adversities of COVID-19 have no doubt changed the way we think about our environments. Here, our teachers discuss the role urban, regional and environmental planning has in shaping a post-pandemic future.

CUR Stories

How can we better prepare suburban Melbourne for climate change?

24 September 2020

Climate change presents critical challenges for future development, sustainability and resilience across Melbourne. Here, our experts offer insights on how we can better prepare our outer suburbs.

CUR Stories

Celebrating our deep-rooted love for trees

30 July 2020

Givers of oxygen, providers of shade and shelters to our native wildlife – reasons to love trees never grows old.

CUR Stories

Fostering biodiversity on World Environment Day

04 June 2020

Can fostering native plants and animals in our neighbourhoods help stem the loss of biodiversity? Is sustainable fashion achievable? Our experts examine the possibilities ahead of World Environment Day.

CUR Stories

Climate change is the most important mission for universities of the 21st century

04 June 2020

This essay is based on an episode of the UTS podcast series “The New Social Contract” that examines how the relationship between universities, the state and the public might be reshaped as we live through this global pandemic.