Future global climate change resulting from anthropogenic activity is now inevitable. The consequences for the stratosphere are poorly understood. A better understanding of the interactions between atmospheric chemistry and climate change is urgently required. This is a prerequisite for impact assessment and the definition of mitigation strategies. The DFG Research Unit Stratospheric Change and its Role for Climate Prediction (SHARP) addresses this issue and aims to improve our understanding and ability to predict global climate change and its interplay with the stratosphere. SHARP follows the recommendations for research, formulated by the Stratospheric Processes and their Role in Climate (SPARC) Programme of the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP). SHARP will focus on the quantitative detection, attribution and prediction of changes in stratospheric dynamics and composition linked to climate change and their implications for the troposphere. The evolution of the stratosphere over the next decades in response to climate change is of crucial significance for the atmosphere as a whole. A unique window of opportunity exists to exploit the investment in the development of remote sensing and atmospheric modelling for scientific objectives of societal relevance, which provide the evidence base needed by international policymakers. To address these issues SHARP brings together excellent national expertise in state-of-the-art climate models and observations, in particular those derived from satellite instruments. SHARP will provide an important contribution by German scientists to the upcoming international WMO/UNEP and IPCC assessments.