Dr Tim Raupach has been appointed Industry Scientia Academic at the UNSW Institute of Climate Risk and Response for his research on severe weather in a changing climate. 

Co-funded by QBE Insurance, Dr Raupach is the second industry-co-funded academic ever appointed at UNSW Sydney. A key focus of his research will be modelling and projecting future hailstorms, including their frequency and severity, as Australia grapples with the as-yet-unknown impacts of climate change.

His appointment marks a pioneering model of university-industry collaboration, demonstrating a shared commitment to addressing climate risks. In this model, QBE has committed funding and supports a new model for conducting world-class research.

Dr Raupach explained: “Addressing the challenges of climate change will require a multidisciplinary approach and interaction between academia and industry. Severe storm research is an area in which cross-disciplinary collaboration will be key to closing existing knowledge gaps.

“I am very honoured to be joining the UNSW Scientia program. Industry Scientia recognises the need for the academic sphere to engage and exchange with industry partners to contribute to addressing pressing societal issues with cutting-edge research.”

Professor Ben Newell, Director of the UNSW Institute for Climate Risk and Response, echoed Dr Raupach's sentiments, emphasising the importance of an initiative that promotes co-funded, co-developed research with an industry partner.

“The Institute for Climate Risk and Response is a key initiative of UNSW to create a focus on climate risk and response to connect cutting-edge research with users in industry and government. Tim’s appointment is a perfect example of how this aim can be achieved.

“With our combination of expertise in understanding climate science, behavioural science, and the economic and legal implications of climate change, we are well-positioned to situate Tim’s research in the broader picture of the responses required as our exposure to climate risks increases.”

Inder Singh, QBE Group Chief Financial Officer, said: “QBE is pleased to support this initiative with Dr Raupach to better understand and address climate-related challenges.

“With our experience in risk assessment and catastrophe management, we hope to contribute to a better understanding of severe weather dynamics and enhance resilience in the communities we serve.”

Bridging the gap between academic research and industry

With a primary focus on modelling and projecting the potential impacts of hailstorms in the future, Dr Raupach's work will delve into understanding the changing dynamics of severe weather events amidst climate change uncertainty.

“This partnership recognises the increasing need for connection between academia and industry in the severe storm community and bringing together the physical sciences, psychology, and business,” explained Dr Raupach.

“The insurance industry can provide valuable information and extensive experience in this space. Insurers have a detailed understanding of risk and are often in more direct contact with those affected by severe storms, which can help determine the most pressing questions facing stakeholders and the public.”

How Dr Raupach’s research advances society’s understanding of severe storms

Dr Raupach specialises in understanding the risks of severe storm hazards like hail, heavy rain, and strong winds and how climate change may affect these dangers. His research enhances our grasp of extreme weather impacts in a changing climate.

Dr Raupach explained: “My work helps to inform our understanding of the impacts and risks of extreme weather in a changing climate. For example, my research can contribute to a better understanding of where, when and how severe storm events may occur and changes in their frequency and severity.

“Understanding risk is one goal of the insurance industry, and an understanding of risk requires understanding the hazard itself, plus exposure and vulnerability to that hazard.

“My work helps to explain climate change’s effects on severe storm exposure and hazard, which can help the insurance industry to better estimate and understand overall risk and its changes in a warming world.”

Dr Raupach added: “The collaboration will provide me and the ICRR with enhanced connections to industry and open the door for increased knowledge exchange. I expect it will facilitate the exchange of ideas and data and help clarify shared goals between academia and industry. In the long term, I expect the partnership to lead to a greater understanding of severe storm risks and their changes with climate change, in Australia and globally.”

The UNSW Institute for Climate Risk and Response empowers businesses, governments, and society to address the risks and opportunities of climate change. For more information, news, and events, please join the UNSW Institute for Risk and Response community here.

Media contact: For more information or to speak with the academics, please contact Victoria Tichá, Media and Communications Officer at the UNSW Institute for Climate Risk and Response,