The Future of UK Treescapes is an interdisciplinary and high impact research programme. It seeks to improve the environmental, socio-economic and cultural understandings of the functions and services provided by UK treescapes.
The programme seeks to improve the evidence base for decision-making and generate resources and tools for stakeholders. This will support the expansion and resilience of UK trees, woods and forests for the benefit of the environment and society.
The programme has funded a portfolio of research projects and fellowships. They are expected to:
- significantly improve our understanding of the form and function of existing treescapes
- explore alternative pathways to treescape expansion
- identify measures that could enhance treescape resilience in the face of global change
Two programme ambassadors have also been funded to lead programme-level external communication and stakeholder engagement as well as to facilitate internal coordination between funded projects.
This funding opportunity aims to fund a portfolio of knowledge exchange projects designed to accelerate and amplify the reach and impact of funded research from the Future of UK Treescapes programme with diverse external stakeholders including policymakers and practitioners.
Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact the funded research projects and the ambassadors to discuss knowledge exchange needs at the project or programme level before starting to develop their application (see the ‘contact details’ section).
Complementarity and added value
You should describe clearly how you will build on or complement knowledge exchange activities with external stakeholders being delivered by the funded research projects and the programme ambassadors’ team. This will maximise the added value of knowledge exchange projects and ensure effective translation of research outputs to help drive through long term impact of the programme.
While we welcome applicants to engage with funded treescapes fellows, applications should primarily seek to increase the impact of funded research projects.
You should describe the type and scale of knowledge exchange you believe is required to help deliver treescapes expansion and improve their resilience in the UK at different scales and over different time periods.
A clear programme of work for knowledge exchange should be set out that could include a range of activities and approaches targeting different stakeholders. Approaches include, but are not limited to:
- drawing together and synthesising outputs from multiple research projects around specific themes or topics where synergies or overlap exist. This could involve production of overview and synthesis articles, policy and practice notes to capture and share the range of generalisable and more specific local knowledge contributions being generated from the funded projects. For example, improved cultural understandings of different stakeholders and publics and their varying perspectives on treescape expansion and resilience
- exploring new and dynamic ways for policymakers at different levels in the UK (including devolved administrations) and the Future of UK Treescapes research community to exchange information, ideas and understandings. You should articulate how you would facilitate the (often bespoke) types of knowledge exchange that will be required to facilitate treescape expansion and improve resilience including altering incentive structures and behaviours
- helping landowners, commercial and charitable organisations, and the public with the practical challenges of applying the Future of UK Treescapes research outputs. Such groups often make key on-the-ground decisions about where and what to plant and how treescapes will be managed to ensure their long-term resilience. For example, testing ways to improve the access of stakeholders to the data sets and insights generated by the programme, and testing the extent to which these outputs are used effectively by stakeholders
We welcome engagement and leadership from all research areas and fields of practice that are relevant to creating an effective knowledge exchange approach and sharing outputs. These might include specialists and professionals in areas such as (but are not limited to):
- public engagement
You should make the case for the composition of the project team and the relevance and application of your expertise.
Stakeholder engagement and co-design
Applicants are expected to co-design or co-deliver the project with at least 1 stakeholder organisation. Key stakeholders include (but are not limited to):
- Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and associated bodies
- the devolved administrations
- local authorities
- landowners or managers
- non-governmental organisations (NGOs)
- local community groups
- general public
We particularly encourage applications that aim to explore novel ways of engaging stakeholders who have low levels of engagement with the Future of UK Treescapes programme at present including, for example, the commercial forestry sector.
It is expected that stakeholder project partners will help shape the application to ensure the outputs meet a specific need, contributing to ‘real world’ action or decision making, and will collaborate with the project team throughout the duration of the grant.
Applications must set out in the ‘case for support’ the anticipated impacts and outcomes of the proposed knowledge exchange project for their audiences, for example, policymakers. This should specifically outline the intended beneficiaries and how impact will be achieved and maximised.
Funding available and implementation
Projects must start by 1 November 2023 and have a duration of no longer than 12 months.
The maximum funding per project is £100,000 (at 100% full economic cost). We will usually fund 80% of the project’s full economic cost. There is no minimum award size. The funders are looking to support a range of small and larger projects under this funding opportunity.
To enable effective participation at events organised by the programme ambassadors, you should budget appropriate UK travel and subsistence costs for at least:
- one two-day programme conference
- one other one-day programme event
Equipment (individual items over £10,000 inclusive of VAT) cost is ineligible under this funding opportunity.
Project partner and sub-contract costs
Stakeholders collaborating in the proposed knowledge exchange project should be named as formal project partners. They should have an integral role in the project and provide significant in kind or in cash contributions to the project.
Project partners: participating organisations not meeting the criteria to be a research organisation and co-investigator can be project partners on the awards based on the following requirements:
- third sector organisations, NGOs, charities and other non-profit civil society organisations (not meeting the minimum requirements for research partner organisations) can be included on applications as project partners and are eligible to receive a contribution towards travel and subsistence costs from the award
- government departments and business, overseas and UK government departments and businesses should be engaged where appropriate but are not eligible to directly receive funds on the awards
Dual roles: an organisation or individual may act as both a project partner and subcontractor, however this must be fully justified and will be subject to peer review. Project partner related costs are expected to be minor. Where the project needs work to be undertaken that is more significant and includes costs other than travel and subsistence, then the organisation or individual may need to be included as both a project partner and a subcontractor.
Sub contracts: funds requested for all sub-contracts should be included as ‘other directly incurred’ and 80% of any sub-contract costs would be funded. The funders would not normally expect the total sub-contract costs to exceed 20% of the total funds requested at 100% full economic cost but exceptions could be considered. You should contact NERC (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have queries regarding sub-contract costs including requests to exceed 20% of total funds requested.
The Programme Executive Board (PEB) provides the strategic direction for the programme and will be the ultimate decision-making authority. The PEB includes representatives from all funders.
The programme has an independent Programme Advisory Board (PAB) that provides strategic advice to the programme ambassadors to ensure delivery of the programme objectives.
Programme ambassadors and programme-wide knowledge exchange
The role of the programme ambassadors is largely an external facing role with the following responsibilities:
- external communication of the programme and engagement with key stakeholders
- coordination and integration of funded projects
- monitoring and reporting of programme delivery progress
- organisation of programme events including annual programme conferences
Along with individual project knowledge exchange activities, the ambassadors will coordinate impact activities to maximise the impact of the awards and of the programme as a whole. All funded projects, including the knowledge exchange grants from this funding opportunity, will be required to engage with the programme ambassadors and attend programme events organised by the ambassadors and funders.
Successful applicants will be required to report research outcomes on ResearchFish in line with standard UKRI terms and conditions. This is required annually and continues for up to 5 years post grant end. For details, see reporting your project’s outcomes.
Grant holders may also be asked to provide additional project progress reports to the programme ambassadors, the PEB or PAB as needed.
Through our funding, we want to make a positive contribution to society and the environment. We will achieve this through research outcomes and the way in which research is conducted.
If you are successful, you will need to adopt responsible research practices, as set out in UKRI’s responsible research policy and the NERC responsible business statement.
Responsible research is defined as reducing harm or enhancing benefit on the environment and society through effective management of research activities and facilities. Specifically, this covers:
- the natural environment
- the local community
- diversity and inclusion
Grant holders should consider responsible research context of their project, not the host institution as a whole, and take action to enhance their responsible research approach where practical and reasonable.