Feinstein associate professorship for Climate Centre science manager

Feinstein associate professorship for Climate Centre science manager
19 February 2021

The Climate Centre and the Boston-based Friedman School and Feinstein International Center today announced the appointment of the head of the Climate Centre’s science team, Dr Erin Coughlan de Perez, as associate professor and inaugural recipient of the Dignitas Professorship.

“The two groups share a vision to improve outcomes for vulnerable people around the world and aim to inspire a new generation of leaders to tackle these global challenges, including through research projects and internships,” a joint announcement said.

Dr Coughlan de Perez – a climate scientist whose work bridges science, policy, and practice – retains a part-time role at the Climate Centre as a senior adviser.


She focuses on extreme events, the humanitarian impacts of climate change, and adaptation to extreme events across timescales.

Dr Coughlan de Perez is also a lead author on the IPCC 6th Assessment Report, and her publications range from forecast verification to the management of health risks in a changing climate.

She received an MA from Columbia University in New York and successfully defended her PhD thesis – Forecast-based financing: a scientific foundation for systematic early action – at Amsterdam’s Vrije Universiteit in 2018, supervised by Professor Bart van den Hurk and Climate Centre Director Professor Maarten van Aalst.

Feinstein Director Greg Gottlieb said: “Feinstein is fortunate to have someone of Erin’s experience and creativity to couple climate research with our broad range of expertise, and enable us to benefit from and build a productive collaboration with the Climate Centre.”

‘Sharp insights’

Professor Van Aalst added today: “My congratulations to Erin with this new appointment, which underlines her amazing qualities as a researcher at the interface of climate science, policy and practice, and the Climate Centre’s strong standing in academia, allowing us to leverage substantial research capacity for our humanitarian mission to address rising risks. “

“Feinstein’s top thematic research fields closely reflect our own agenda – providing evidence on how the humanitarian system can anticipate and respond to crises, including in conflict and post-conflict settings.

“With Erin as linchpin we’ll continue to benefit from her sharp insights on anticipatory action, while helping Feinstein with its ambition of expanding the geographical scope for the study of livelihoods, food security, nutrition, and governance, especially in Africa.

“In addition, I expect this joint position will open doors for further collaboration with other parts of Tufts, including the experts in climate policy experts at the Fletcher School.”

The Feinstein International Center “generates evidence and learning to improve how humanitarians can protect and strengthen the lives, livelihoods, and dignity of people affected by or at risk from humanitarian crises”, its statement added.

Erin Coughlan de Perez, pictured with colleagues from the Uganda Red Cross and local people, was on hand to witness the 2015 rollout of forecast-based financing for flood relief in Uganda. The Red Cross distributed thousands of preparedness items to flood-prone communities in Kapelebyong sub-county, 300km north-east of Kampala. The forecast was based on the European Commission’s Global Flood Awareness System and verified by local agencies. (Library photo: Denis Onyodi/Climate Centre)