greenhouse gas inventory, mixed methods, modified Delphi panel, iterative process, structured dialogue, climate action
With global greenhouse gas emissions on the rise, the higher education sector has recognised the part it must play in reducing its carbon footprint, setting an example for others to follow in the global fight against climate change. In 2019 University College Cork undertook the complex task of designing and developing a Climate Action Plan, beginning with the compilation of a detailed inventory of the university’s greenhouse gas emissions and followed by a period of engaged research during which potential climate action measures were identified by key stakeholders. In response to the start of the Covid-19 pandemic and introduction of public health restrictions, a structured dialogue – modified Delphi – approach was employed as part of the engaged research. This mixed-methods approach proved successful at identifying a number of potential opportunities for reducing the university’s carbon footprint, with the structured dialogue method in particular offering the researchers numerous advantages for conducting engaged research during the unique circumstances arising as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.