Funding opportunity

Funding opportunity: International research on climate change adaptation and mitigation

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Apply for funding to conduct international and interdisciplinary research on participatory and culturally-appropriate mitigation and adaptation responses to climate change.

You must be based at a UK research organisation eligible for UKRI funding.

This funding opportunity aims to further the design and implementation of co-produced adaptation and mitigation strategies for groups currently most impacted by the effects of climate change, owing to both physical and socioeconomic vulnerability.

UKRI will fund the UK component of the successful international projects. The full economic cost of the UK component can be up to £500,000. UKRI will fund 80% of the full economic cost.

Funding is available for 3-year projects.

Who can apply

Proposals may only be submitted by research organisations who are eligible to apply to UKRI.

Standard AHRC and ESRC contractual eligibility guidelines apply for this funding opportunity.

What we're looking for

This funding opportunity aims to further the design and implementation of co-produced adaptation and mitigation strategies for vulnerable groups. Vulnerable groups are those currently most impacted by the effects of climate change, owing to both:

  • physical vulnerability: heightened exposure to events related to climate change or poor infrastructure
  • socioeconomic vulnerability: limited resources to prepare or respond to the impacts of climate change, including knowledge, technology or financial resources, or owing to conflict, security and fragility

The opportunity is supporting international teams to conduct research that is both:

  • interdisciplinary: integrating information, data, techniques, tools, perspectives, concepts or theories from 2 or more disciplines or bodies of specialised knowledge
  • trans-sectoral: involving the academic, research, economic (businesses), societal (governmental and non-governmental) organisations, and community sectors, as appropriate

International project teams must be interdisciplinary, incorporating expertise from across disciplines, as appropriate, to develop mitigation and adaptation strategies, and including expertise in the social sciences or humanities to address enabling factors such as:

  • effective governance
  • community capacity
  • geopolitical and economic security

Research areas

The UKRI-funded component of projects must fall within ESRC or AHRC’s respective remits.

Find out more about ESRC’s remit, portfolio and priorities.

Find out more about AHRC’s remit, portfolio and priorities.

The research must focus on participatory and contextually and culturally appropriate mitigation and adaptation mitigation and adaptation responses to at least 2 of the 8 representative key risks of climate change highlighted in the Sixth Assessment Report of the United Nations (UN) Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC):

  • risks to low-lying coastal socio-ecological systems
  • risks to terrestrial and ocean ecosystems
  • risks associated with critical physical infrastructure, networks and services
  • risks to living standards
  • risks to human health
  • risks to food security
  • risks to water security
  • risks to peace and to human mobility

Projects must focus on responding to the needs of those most impacted by the effects of climate change, such as:

  • communities in low and middle-income countries or Indigenous territories
  • groups that are vulnerable due to their geographic, social or economic circumstances

Projects are required to partner with a participating community or communities in the co-creation, implementation, and ownership of the research and outcomes, and to develop approaches related to policy implementation and knowledge mobilisation. The integration of team members from vulnerable groups is required.

Project teams will be comprised of co-principal investigators, co-applicants, and collaborators. Co-principal investigators share responsibility for the direction of the project and the coordination of proposed research activities, in addition to participating in the execution of the research project, whereas co-applicants and collaborators contribute to the execution of the research project.

Each project team must have representation from a minimum of 3 countries among the co-principal investigators and be eligible to receive funds from at least 2 consortium partners. At least 1 co-principal investigator must be eligible to apply to the Canadian New Frontiers in Research Fund (NFRF) programme.

Please visit the NFRF website for further information.

Funding available

This opportunity will fund international consortia of researchers.

UKRI will fund the UK components of successful projects and is making a total of £6.5 million available for the funding opportunity.

The full economic cost of your project can be up to £500,000. UKRI will fund 80% of the full economic cost.

How to apply

The Canadian New Frontiers in Research Fund (NFRF) are running the application process and are accepting applications through their system.

Please note that to apply to this opportunity, teams must submit a notice of intent to apply form by 2 May 2023.

Submit a notice of intent to apply form.

Eligible teams will then be invited to submit a full application by 12 September 2023.

Within the notice of intent to apply, please identify whether the UKRI-funded component of the project falls under AHRC or ESRC’s remit.

At the full application stage, UK applicants requesting funding from UKRI must prepare a budget detailing costs and the requested amount in an UKRI budget template. The template should be submitted as an attachment to your proposal.

To foster the participation of many and to ensure that teams have sufficient time to dedicate to their projects, individuals may participate as a co-principal investigator on only 1 application to this competition.

Further details on the general application process can be found on the NFRF website.

The UKRI specific guidance (PDF, 178KB) provides further details on UKRI-specific requirements within the application process.

How we will assess your application

Notice of intent to apply

Notices of intent to apply will be used for administrative purposes to assess the indicative eligibility of the project team, to identify external reviewers and to compose the multidisciplinary and multisectoral application review panel.

Full application

Full applications will be reviewed by external reviewers, and members of the multidisciplinary and multisectoral review panel, who will consider the external reviewers’ input.

Efforts will be made to recruit a minimum of 2 external reviewers to evaluate each full application. Reviewers will be asked to comment on the interdisciplinarity, high risk, high reward and feasibility criteria.

Each application will then be assigned to 3 members of the multidisciplinary and multisectoral review panel. Members will have access to the entire application, in addition to the external reviewer reports. The members will assess proposals against the following selection criteria:

  • fit to programme (pass or fail)
  • equality, diversity and inclusion in the research environment (pass or fail)
  • interdisciplinary and trans-sectoral approach (pass or fail)
  • high risk (20%)
  • high reward (40%)
  • feasibility (40%)

Further details on the selection criteria can be found on the NFRF website.

Funding decisions are expected to be communicated to applicants in February 2024.

Contact details

Get help with developing your proposal

For help and advice on costings and writing your proposal please contact your research office in the first instance, allowing sufficient time for your organisation’s submission process.

Ask about this funding opportunity

International research on climate change and adaptation mitigation team

Email: iircc@esrc.ukri.org

NFRF team

Email: nfrf-fnfr@chairs-chaires.gc.ca

Additional info

The international joint initiative for research in climate change adaptation and mitigation represents a collaboration among research funders from:

  • Canada
  • Brazil
  • the United States
  • Germany
  • Norway
  • South Africa
  • Switzerland
  • the United Kingdom

The aim is to tackle the global challenges caused by climate change. Climate change has been recognised as the single most important threat to the future well-being and prosperity of our planet and all who inhabit it.

The participating research funding agencies are as follows:

  • Canada: New Frontiers in Research Fund (NFRF), on behalf of the Canada Research Coordinating Committee and administered through the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC)
  • Brazil: Sao Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP)
  • Germany: Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (German Research Foundation, DFG)
  • Norway: The Research Council of Norway (RCN)
  • South Africa: National Research Foundation (NRF)
  • Switzerland: Swiss National Research Foundation (SNSF)
  • United Kingdom: UK Research and Innovation (UKRI)
  • United States: National Science Foundation (NSF)

Supporting documents

UKRI specific guidance (PDF, 178KB)

UKRI budget template (DOCX, 52KB)

This is the integrated website of the 7 research councils, Research England and Innovate UK.
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