Nexus Shocks Project

Nexus Shocks Project CECAN

In 2015, the Nexus Network funded Dr Candice Howarth to set up the Nexus Shocks (NS) network which sought to facilitate constructive conversations on nexus shocks topics. Dr Howarth has been awarded a Fellowship by the Nexus Network to continue to the work that was initiated in 2015.

The NS network now comprises over 300 stakeholders from academic, business, government and not-for-profit organisations all interested in decision-making processes in the context of resilience to nexus shocks. It brings together interdisciplinary and cross-sectorial expertise to engage in constructive dialogue, identify opportunities to address challenges, and explore how to better inform decision-making in response to these shocks. 

The aims of the Nexus Shocks Network are:

  1. To overcome obstacles and build on opportunities in responses to nexus challenges

  2. To innovatively assess the complexity of societal responses to nexus shocks

  3. To better inform business and policy responses

What happened in Phase 1 of the project?

Five workshops were held in 2015, organised by Dr Howarth and in collaboration with the Met Office, Atkins, Chatham House, Lloyds of London, Willis Re, Climate UK, Cambridge Cleantech and LDA Design to explore how climate and weather shocks affect the energy-food-water-environment (FEWE) nexus. The workshops focused on the following themes:

  1. Predicting shocks and hazards

  2. Transmission and mitigation of nexus risks though infrastructure

  3. Insurance and finance for resilience Local business responses to shocks

  4. Local business responses to shocks

  5. Governance, governments and shocks

Analysis of the workshops highlighted a range of barriers and opportunities for decision making in the context of nexus shocks in the UK. Findings from the workshops have been summarised on the Nexus Network website and have been published as a report, a academic paper, an LWEC Note and an ESRC Evidence Brief

What is the focus of Phase 2?

Dr Howarth is leading the work with Phase 2 beginning in October 2016 and will run until September 2017. This phase will consolidate and build on the activities and findings of Phase 1 which highlighted the requirement for further, more detailed research around:

  • How nexus shocks affect different stakeholders

  • The range of responses to nexus shocks that occur

  • Barriers to decision-making in response to nexus shocks

  • Opportunities that emerge for building long-term resilience to nexus shocks

We will analyse strategic national processes of decision-making and risk management, with a view to improving responsiveness in shock scenarios affecting the FEWE nexus. This project will explore the extent to which nexus thinking could increase resilience to shocks to the FEWE nexus, and the role of social sciences and nexus thinking in informing these processes.

We will explore this through a case study analysis to understand how decision making processes at the local level are in formed in response to a nexus shock and who pays for this. A range of semi-structured interviews and a workshop with key stakeholders and the Nexus Shocks network will inform this work

For more information or if you’d like to get involved please email the project PI, Dr Candice Howarth at



CECAN - funded and supported by the following organisations