Funding opportunity

Funding opportunity: Pre-announcement: resilient UK coastal communities and seas

Apply for funding to enhance the resilience, health and wellbeing of UK coastal communities and seas.

Your transdisciplinary research project will apply a place-based approach to transform our understanding of UK coastal communities and seas. You will utilise natural capital and other approaches to build understanding, collaborate with stakeholders to inform policy and enable transformative decision making.

The programme will enhance community knowledge mobilisation and improve resilience in the management of UK coastal areas and seas.

You must be based at an eligible UK research organisation to apply.

This is a pre-announcement and the information may change.

The funding opportunity will open in April 2023. More information will be available on this page by then.

Who can apply

The principal investigator for this funding opportunity must be based at an organisation eligible for UKRI funding for the duration of the grant.

Eligible organisations are:

  • UK higher education institutions
  • research council institutes
  • UKRI-approved independent research organisations
  • public sector research establishments
  • NHS bodies with research capacity

Check if your institution is eligible for funding.

What we're looking for

This is a pre-announcement for the Resilient UK Coastal Communities and Seas programme. One element of the programme will be a research grants funding opportunity due to open in April 2023.


The programme objectives are to:

  • apply place-based approaches seeking to transform our understanding of climatic, environmental, health, economic, social, and cultural factors affecting coastal communities and seas
  • support the resilient management of UK coastal seas, coastal communities, and the natural capital these areas support by delivering the evidence base, tools and practical solutions needed to inform policy and apply transformative decision making, in collaboration with communities
  • build capacity and capability for transdisciplinary research and the mobilisation of research evidence within coastal communities and seas

Within the programme, we aim to support 3 to 4 research grants, beginning in April 2024 and lasting up to 54 months. The full economic cost of each project can be between £2.5 million to £3 million. Funders will fund 80% of the full economic cost.

Thematic areas

Proposals should take a transdisciplinary approach, to address at least 2 of the following thematic areas:

  • understanding the impacts of climate change on UK coasts, improving ocean literacy, and building resilience of marine environments and coastal communities to the impacts of climate change on UK coasts
  • understanding the health and socio-economic challenges experienced by coastal communities, and the potential mitigation effects of the natural environment, to enhance resilience in UK coastal areas
  • articulating the value and benefits of coastal environments and communities to support the implementation of policies that improve environmental, economic, social and health outcomes in these areas


Proposals should also address the following requirements:

  • place-based approaches, including, but not limited to, natural capital approaches, which will seek to provide transformative solutions for UK coastal resilience
  • developing useful, scalable solutions and tools to enable resilient and sustainable coastal communities and seas
  • championing transdisciplinary research and collaborating with stakeholders within coastal communities in the design and delivery of the project, that it is genuinely collaborative in approach
  • smart use of data, re-contextualising existing data and new research, where appropriate
  • proposals should include legacy plans to ensure the benefits of the project outlive the funding period

We are not seeking:

  • proposals where the transdisciplinary research fits within a single research council remit
  • proposals where there is an imbalance of the intellectual content, and some disciplines appear ‘bolted’ on

Proposals must be able to start on 1 April 2024. Proposals must clearly outline how they will deliver and report short term impacts within in the first year of the programme, as well as in the medium to long term. Successful projects must have a UK coastal focus and outline which geographies they benefit.

How to apply

Full guidance on how to apply will be published in April 2023.

How we will assess your application

The assessment of applications will be a 2-stage process:

  • outline proposal stage
  • full proposal stage

Outline proposals will be assessed and shortlisted by an assessment panel. Shortlisted applicants will subsequently be invited to submit applications to the full proposal stage.

Contact details

Ask about this funding opportunity

ESRC Environment Team


Enquiries can be sent to this email. However, we will not be able to provide additional information about this funding opportunity in advance of its publication.

Additional info

The Resilient UK Coastal Communities and Seas programme is jointly funded by central funding from:

  • ESRC
  • UKRI
  • NERC
  • AHRC
  • Defra

By working collectively, we are harnessing the full power of the UK’s research and innovation system to tackle large-scale, complex challenges.

This funding opportunity falls under the umbrella of the UKRI ‘creating opportunities, improving outcomes’ strategic theme, 1 of 5 UKRI strategic themes identified through our 5-year strategy, Transforming Tomorrow Together 2022 to 2027.

The theme addresses the causes and effects of place-based disparities and aims to identify empowering new solutions that promote prosperity and improve outcomes for people and communities across the UK.

Investments made under the theme are intended to develop the capacity of the research and innovation system to work with local areas in testing approaches that accelerate prosperity and support the scaling of effective practices.

This is the website for UKRI: our seven research councils, Research England and Innovate UK.
Let us know if you have feedback or would like to help us test new developments.