Vulnerable Communities

Welcome to NCCARF’s Vulnerable Communities Network (VCN). VCN is a community of researchers, decision-makers, practitioners, and community service organisations with a common interest in better understanding how social-economic and health factors impinge on the coping and adaptation capacities of disadvantaged communities in the context of climate change. The Network’s overarching objective is to work towards alleviating social vulnerability and enhancing resilience by strengthening communication and collaboration between researchers and end-users. VCN is proudly hosted by the School of Public Health at the University of Adelaide.

Climate change will affect all population groups in all locations, yet some will be far more vulnerable to its impacts than others. Communities experiencing various forms of social exclusion and disadvantage will disproportionately bear the brunt of climate change, including rises in the cost of living (e.g. water and food), increased exposure to extreme weather (because of low quality public and private rental housing) and associated threats to health. This is because adaptive capacity and resilience is dependent on access to financial, material and social resources – climate change will discriminate between communities on the basis of their socio-economic status.

Research holds great potential for advancing knowledge of the complex and dynamic factors contributing to social vulnerability in the context of climate change, leading to improved outcomes for people affected by poverty, inequality and disadvantage. To achieve this objective necessitates a supportive, dynamic and fertile research environment with close linkages with research-users and decision makers, underpinned by an open and inclusive means of sharing knowledge. VCN will address this objective by:

  • facilitating research capacity by supporting early career researchers (ECRs) in their academic development;

  • establishing communities of practice, enabling VCN members to exchange knowledge and develop networks;

  • promoting adaptation tools for deployment in the community services sector through our  VCN collaborators, the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS);

  • providing decision-makers with synthesis research reports in accessible formats;

  • raising awareness in different sectors of how vulnerable populations will be disproportionately impacted by climate change.

This site will be continuously updated with VCN news, including information about the VCN series of national 'Roadshow' workshops from 2016-2017.

If you or your organisation want to join VCN, please follow the link, 'Join the Network', in the tab above - your membership will contribute to the success of the Network.


The National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility's Vulnerable Communities Network is supported through funding from the Australian Government