Climate Action Unit


Cohort 2040: Preparing the next generation of leaders

3 March 2023

The Climate Action Unit is helping design Cohort 2040: a leadership programme to provide future leaders with the tools to tackle the complexities of unprecedented challenges like climate change.


The Cohort 2040 initiative is supported by Chatham House, the IPPR and the Global Systems Institute (University of Exeter). Over the coming year, the UCL Climate Action Unit will be leading the design process for the pilot leadership programme. 

The problem 

The Cohort 2040 project was established to address the unprecedented challenges leaders of the future will face as a result of climate change.  

By 2040, senior political figures will have to simultaneously reduce emissions and adapt to climate impacts, doing so in a way that is equitable across different sectors of society. At the same time, they will need to address other major societal and environmental challenges; all of this within the setting of an increasingly complex world. 

Recognising that leaders would need a toolset to handle this complexity, Cohort 2040 began designing a pilot leadership programme in partnership with the UCL Climate Action Unit. 

Daniel Jonusas, the Design Assistant for the programme, described the knowledge base that will inform the initial programme:

The background research for Cohort 2040 has uncovered huge amounts of relevant information from the fields of crisis leadership and complex systems. To that we're adding the CAU's insights on the pyschology of how people respond to threats and risks. 
The programme we're designing will give the leaders of tomorrow a way to work through the multiple crises they will face as environmental destabilisation grows.

An informed design process

Since late 2022, the CAU and Cohort 2040 team have interviewed professionals from a range of sectors to uncover relevant knowledge and best practices in the areas of leadership development, business strategy, crisis management and complex adaptive systems. 

Insights from these interviews will help the team structure a series of design workshops, and will enable the team to refine the desired outcomes and mechanisms of the Cohort 2040 programme. 

Want to get involved?

The interview stage of the process is still active, and if you have expertise in any of the areas below please get in touch with the Project Manager, Joseph Evans

You can also find out more at the website: https://www.cohort2040.org/

Expert insights needed

The Cohort 2040 team would like to speak to professionals from the following fields:

  • Leadership development experts and practitioners
  • Practitioners who can support the development of emotional resilience
  • Experts in responding to complex risks
  • Emerging leaders themselves