Funding opportunity

Funding opportunity: Resilient UK coastal communities and seas

Invite only opportunity to 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 build understanding and collaborate with stakeholders to enable transformative decision making, enhance community knowledge mobilisation and improve resilience.

We will support up to four projects, beginning in April 2024. The full economic cost (FEC) of each can be up to £2.9 million (100% FEC).

Who can apply

You can only apply for this funding opportunity if we have invited you to do so following a successful outline application.

Before applying for funding, check the Eligibility of your organisation.

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) has introduced new role types for funding opportunities being run on the new UKRI Funding Service. Find out more about UKRI’s core team roles in funding applications.

For full details, visit Eligibility as an individual.

Who is eligible to apply

This funding opportunity is only open to you if you submitted an outline proposal and have subsequently been shortlisted and invited to submit a full proposal. Any uninvited proposals will be rejected.

The project lead must be based at a UK research organisation eligible for UKRI funding. That organisation will be responsible for submitting the grant application to UKRI.

Who is not eligible to apply

Applicants may be involved in no more than two proposals submitted to this funding opportunity. Only one of these may be as the project lead. Only those applicants invited to submit full proposals after the assessment of outline proposals may do so.

International applicants

Project leads from non-UK organisations are not eligible to apply for funding for this opportunity.

Project co-leads based in non-UK research organisations can be included in research grant applications. Read the project co-lead (international) policy guidance for details of eligible organisations and costs.

Business, third sector or government body project co-leads

Business, third sector or government body project co-leads based in the UK can also be included on research grant proposals as a Project co-lead. Read Including project co-leads from business, third sector or government bodies for details of eligible organisations and costs.


We will not accept uninvited resubmissions of projects that have been submitted to UKRI. Find out more about ESRC’s Resubmissions policy.

Equality, diversity and inclusion

We are committed to achieving equality of opportunity for all funding applicants. We encourage applications from a diverse range of researchers.

We support people to work in a way that suits their personal circumstances. This includes:

  • career breaks
  • support for people with caring responsibilities
  • flexible working
  • alternative working patterns

Find out more about equality, diversity and inclusion at UKRI.

What we're looking for


This programme will address the critical need for a transdisciplinary and a whole systems understanding of the resilience of UK coastal seas, coastal communities, and the natural capital these areas support. To support collaboration with stakeholders to build understanding and enable transformative decision-making utilising natural capital or other approaches. The programme will enhance community knowledge mobilisation and improve resilience in the management of UK coastal areas and seas.


The programme objectives are to:

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

The anticipated long-term outcomes of the programme will be a co-ordinated network of academics, policy makers, communities and wider stakeholders that are able to implement scalable solutions to improve the resilience, health and wellbeing of UK coastal communities.

Thematic areas

Proposals for the research projects should take a transdisciplinary approach, to address at least two of the following thematic areas.

Theme 1: understand the impacts of climate change on UK coastal areas to build resilience of marine environments and coastal communities, and to enhance ocean literacy

Coastal communities mainly rely on livelihoods such as fishing, tourism, and the energy industry. This puts a strain on natural areas such as marine habitats and ecosystems, which are under increasing pressure from climate change, and makes local economies vulnerable to shocks. There is a need to explore what future opportunities and interventions can be implemented to increase the resilience of coastal and marine ecosystems and the communities that depend on and interact with them.  Projects should inform policy and decision making on the impacts of climate on marine natural capital assets and ecosystem service flows, including timescales of change, and how these impacts will affect local communities. Applicants should engage local communities in order to enhance ocean climate change literacy and stewardship to build resilience to future risks of climate change, such as sea-level rise.

Knowledge gaps that could be considered under this theme include, but are not limited to:

  • evaluating the impact of interventions within the scope of the programme and assessing the combined benefits and risks from interventions to establish best practice approaches
  • building understanding of the effects of climate change on the marine and coastal environment, and its future impact on UK coastal communities
  • identifying effective mechanisms to improve social identity and socio-cultural literacy in coastal communities with a view to building resilience in planning and decision making
  • understanding the economic resilience in UK coastal areas, particularly with regards to tourism and other industries, including costs and benefits to communities in successful approaches to building resilience
  • building understanding of the historical and cultural contexts of coastal communities and their changing nature. To develop interventions that support communities to sustain and enhance their community and natural environments
  • enhancing understanding of how sectoral innovation and diversification in the use and non-use of marine resources can affect resilience of both natural capital assets and coastal communities in the face of climate change

Theme 2: to enhance resilience in UK coastal areas by understanding the challenges experienced by coastal communities, and the potential effects on the natural environment

This theme addresses the importance of understanding deprivation in UK coastal communities recognising the unique challenges they face. Specifically, applicants should set out how the challenges faced by coastal communities can be addressed through local and national initiatives. Access to services and addressing the wider determinants of health have been identified as important in building long term resilience in coastal communities, including addressing and preventing poor health (including mental health) by utilising nearby marine and coastal environments.

Knowledge gaps that could be considered under this theme include, but are not limited to:

  • challenges facing coastal communities in terms of access, accessibility and quality of services, such as education and healthcare and how this relates to the inclusion of different coastal communities to promote innovative and place-based economic growth
  • how local, cultural and natural assets can be harnessed to support improvements in health, social and economic inequalities
  • drivers of the local needs of coastal communities to build effective solutions to improve coastal community health and wellbeing. It may be useful to engage with the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Health Determinants Research Collaboration (HDRC) initiative

Theme 3: articulate the value and benefits of coastal environments and communities to transform decision making and improve outcomes

This theme is focused on how value and benefits are designated and articulated in the development of coastal policy and decision making. Applicants should set out how their research will deliver transformational change for coastal communities and ecosystems through improved understanding of the value of coastal ecosystem services and ‘blue space’ and the health, economic, cultural, and societal benefits across different scales.

Knowledge gaps that could be considered under this theme include, but are not limited to:

  • informing the case for the value of well-maintained, restored coastal ecosystems and marine environments, including how the condition of natural capital assets affects ecosystem services and links to community wellbeing
  • improving how marine and coastal cultural heritage is valued, integrated, and protected within wider policy development and marine management
  • understanding the socio-cultural value placed on natural capital by coastal communities and the wider UK population, and how to represent these values effectively in the co-production of policy and decision making
  • values of place-based interactions with coastal and marine natural capital in improving health and wellbeing outcomes for local communities, including the condition and role of natural capital assets in enabling beneficial engagement with the marine coastal natural environment


The duration of this award is up to 54 months.

Projects must start by 1 April 2024.

Proposals must also clearly outline how they deliver short-term impacts within the first year of the project, as well as in the medium to long term.

Funding available

The FEC of your project can be up to £2.9 million.

ESRC, AHRC, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), NERC and UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) will fund 80% of the FEC.

We aim to support up to four transdisciplinary research grants, beginning in April 2024 and lasting up to 54 months. The FEC of each project can be between £2.5 to £2.9 million.

Please note that we will allow for a 10% deviation – either an increase or decrease – in the 100% full economic cost of proposals between the Outline and Full Proposal stages. However please note that the maximum limit of £2.9 million, and minimum limit of £2.5 million at 100% full economic cost remains in force for all proposals.

What we will fund

Successful proposals must address the following programme requirements:

  • a UK coastal focus (this does not include overseas territories) and outline the geographies which will be beneficiaries of the research
  • utilise place-based approaches, including, but not limited to, natural capital or systems approaches, which will seek to provide transformative solutions for UK coastal resilience
  • develop actionable, scalable tools and solutions that can be applied in other geographic regions of the UK to increase the overall impact of the programme
  • champion transdisciplinary approaches in the research design, methods and implementation to build a whole systems understanding of the challenges facing UK coastal communities and coastal environments
  • include appropriate and relevant plans for public engagement with the proposed research, including clearly defined audiences and methods. That enables and supports a greater diversity of voices and perspectives
  • include the smart use of data to build understanding, utilising existing data in novel ways in addition to new research. Proposals could consider access to, and better utilisation of data available, particularly finding novel ways to build granularity where possible. Researchers could consider utilising linked administrative data (PDF, 1.1MB), securely accessible via ADR UK
  • define realistic short-term outcomes that can be achieved within the first year of the project and proposals should include legacy plans to ensure the benefits of the project outlive the funding period

What we will not fund

Proposals where the transdisciplinary research does not fit in the remits of all three research councils (AHRC, ESRC and NERC).

Proposals where there is an imbalance of the intellectual content, and some disciplines appear ‘bolted’ on.

Environmental sustainability

UKRI recognises that we must embed environmental sustainability in everything we do.

You are expected to consider the environmental impact of the research activities and to put in place actions that encourage sustainability and mitigate any risk of environmental harm.

Supporting skills and talent

We encourage you to follow the principles of the Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers and the Technician Commitment.

ESRC data infrastructure

ESRC supports a range of data infrastructure. Where relevant, we encourage applicants to consider whether the use of these resources could add value to the project. See Facilities and resources for information on finding and using ESRC datasets which are available across the UK.

Where relevant, details of datasets and infrastructure to be used in your project should be given in the ‘Facilities’ section.

Data requirements

ESRC recognises the importance of data quality and provenance. Data generated by ESRC-funded research must be well-managed by the grant holder to enable their data to be exploited to the maximum potential for further research. See our research data policy for details and further information on data requirements. The requirements of the research data policy are a condition of ESRC research funding.

Where relevant, details on data management and sharing should be provided in the ‘Data management’ section. See the importance of managing and sharing data and content for inclusion in a data management plan on the UK Data Service (UKDS) website for further guidance. We expect applicants to provide a summary of the points provided. The UKDS ( will be pleased to advise applicants on the availability of data within the academic community and provide advice on data deposit requirements.

Impact, innovation and interdisciplinarity

We expect applicants to consider the potential scientific, societal and economic impacts of their research. Outputs, dissemination and impact are a key part of the criteria for this assessment processes and should be included in the scope and vision. We also encourage applications that demonstrate innovation and interdisciplinarity (research combining approaches from more than one discipline).

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI)

Promoting EDI is an integral part of our vision to deliver new knowledge and an enriched, healthier, more sustainable and resilient society and culture, and to contribute to a more prosperous economy.

You are expected to demonstrate throughout your proposal how you will consider EDI during the grant lifetime.

Knowledge exchange and collaboration

We are committed to knowledge exchange and encouraging collaboration between
researchers and the private, public and civil society sectors. Collaborative working benefits both the researchers and the individuals/organisations involved. Through collaboration, partners learn about each other’s expertise, share knowledge and gain an appreciation of different professional cultures. Collaborative activity can therefore lead to a better understanding of the ways that academic research can add value and offer insights to key issues of concern for policy and practice.

Knowledge exchange should not be treated as an ‘add-on’ at the end of a project but considered before the start and built into a project.

Trusted Research

If your application includes international applicants, project partners or collaborators, visit Trusted Research for more information on protection of those working in our thriving and collaborative international research and innovation sector.

Research ethics

ESRC requires that the research we support is designed and conducted in such a way that it meets ethical principles and is subject to proper professional and institutional oversight in terms of research governance. We have agreed a Framework for Research Ethics that all submitted proposals must comply with. Read further details about the Framework for Research Ethics and guidance on compliance.

How to apply

We are running this funding opportunity on the new UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Funding Service. You cannot apply on the Joint Electronic Submissions (Je-S) system.

The project lead is responsible for completing the application process on the Funding Service, but we expect all team members and project partners to contribute to the application.

Only the lead research organisation can submit an application to UKRI.

To apply:

  1. Follow the link to the Funding Service in the email sent from the ESRC Environment mailbox.
  2. Confirm you are the project lead.
  3. Sign in or create a Funding Service account. To create an account, select your organisation, verify your email address, and set a password. If your organisation is not listed, email
  4. Answer questions directly in the text boxes. You can save your answers and come back to complete them or work offline and return to copy and paste your answers. If we need you to upload a document, follow the upload instructions in the Funding Service. All questions and assessment criteria are listed in the ‘How to apply’ section on this Funding finder page.
  5. Allow enough time to check your application in ‘read-only’ view before sending to your research office.
  6. Send the completed application to your research office for checking. They will return it to you if it needs editing.
  7. Your research office will submit the completed and checked application to UKRI.

Where indicated, you can also demonstrate elements of your responses in visual form if relevant. If using visual elements, you must:

  • use images sparingly and only to convey important information that cannot easily be put into words
  • insert each new image onto a new line
  • provide a descriptive legend for each image immediately underneath it (this counts towards your word limit)
  • files must be smaller than 8MB and in JPEG, JPG, JPE, JFI, JIF, JFIF, PNG, GIF, BMP or WEBP format

Watch our research office webinars about the new Funding Service.

For more guidance on the Funding Service, see:


ESRC must receive your application by 07 December 2023 at 4.00pm UK time.

You will not be able to apply after this time.

Make sure you are aware of and follow any internal institutional deadlines.

Following the submission of your application to the funding opportunity, your application cannot be changed and applications will not be returned for amendment. If your application does not follow the guidance, it may be rejected.

Personal data

Processing personal data

ESRC, as part of UKRI, will need to collect some personal information to manage your funding service account and the registration of your funding applications.
We will handle personal data in line with UK data protection legislation and manage it securely. For more information, including how to exercise your rights, read our privacy notice.

ESRC, as part of UKRI, will need to share the application and any personal information that it contains with AHRC, NERC and Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) so that they can participate in the assessment process. For more information on how Defra uses personal information, visit Defra’s privacy notice page.

Publication of outcomes

ESRC, as part of UKRI, will publish the outcomes of this funding opportunity at What ESRC has funded.

If your application is successful, we will publish some personal information on the UKRI Gateway to Research.


Word limit: 550

In plain English, provide a summary we can use to identify the most suitable experts to assess your application.

We may make this summary publicly available on external-facing websites, so make it suitable for a variety of readers, for example:

  • opinion-formers
  • policymakers
  • the public
  • the wider research community

Guidance for writing a summary

Clearly describe your proposed work in terms of:

  • context
  • the challenge the project addresses
  • aims and objectives
  • potential applications and benefits

Core team

List the key members of your team and assign them roles from the following:

  • project lead (PL)
  • project co-lead (UK) (PcL)
  • project co-lead (international) (PcL (I))
  • specialist
  • grant manager
  • professional enabling staff
  • research and innovation associate
  • technician
  • visiting researcher

Only list one individual as project lead.

Find out more about UKRI’s new grant roles.


Word limit: 1,000

What are you hoping to achieve with your proposed work?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Explain how your proposed work:

  • is of excellent quality and importance within or beyond the fields or areas
  • has the potential to advance current understanding, or generate new knowledge, thinking or discovery within or beyond the field or area
  • is timely given current trends, context, and needs
  • impacts world-leading research, society, the economy, or the environment
  • has meaningfully engaged the remits of all three funding councils (ESRC, AHRC and NERC)

You may demonstrate elements of your responses in visual form if relevant, further details are provided in the service.

Within the Vision section we also expect you to:

  • indicate which thematic areas your proposal will look to address
  • identify the potential direct or indirect benefits and who the beneficiaries might be


Word limit: 2,500

How are you going to deliver your proposed work?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Explain how you have designed your approach so that it:

  • is effective and appropriate to achieve your objectives
  • is feasible, and comprehensively identifies any risks to delivery and how they will be managed
  • uses a clearly written and transparent methodology (if applicable)
  • summarises the previous work and describes how this will be built upon and progressed (if applicable)
  • will maximise translation of outputs into outcomes and impacts
  • describes how your, and if applicable your team’s, research environment (in terms of the place and relevance to the project) will contribute to the success of the work
  • utilises place-based approaches including, but not limited to, natural capital or systems approaches, which will seek to provide transformative solutions for UK coastal resilience
  • has a UK coastal focus (this does not include overseas territories)
  • has the potential to develop actionable, scalable tools and solutions
  • includes realistic legacy plans which ensure than the benefits of the project will outlive the funding period
  • displays transdisciplinary approaches in research design, methods and implementation

Within the ‘Approach’ section we also expect you to:

  • provide a detailed and comprehensive project plan including milestones and timelines
  • building a whole systems understanding of the challenges facing UK coastal communities and coastal environments
  • displaying the smart use of data to build understanding, utilising existing data in novel ways in addition to new research.
  • defining realistic short-term outcomes that can be achieved within the first year of the project

All applicants planning to generate data as part of their grant must complete the separate ‘Data management’ question.

A list of references used to support your application can be added in the ‘References’ question.

You may demonstrate elements of your responses in visual form if relevant, further details are provided in the service.

Applicant and team capability to deliver

Word limit: 1,500

Why are you the right individual or team to successfully deliver the proposed work?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Evidence of how you, and if relevant your team, have:

  • the relevant experience (appropriate to career stage) to deliver the proposed work
  • the right balance of skills and expertise to cover the proposed work
  • the appropriate leadership and management skills to deliver the work and your approach to develop others
  • contributed to developing a positive research environment and wider community

The word count for this section is 1,500 words, 1,000 words to be used for R4RI modules and, if necessary, a further 500 words for Additions.

Use the Résumé for Research and Innovation (R4RI) format to showcase the range of relevant skills you and, if relevant, your team (project and project co-leads, researchers, technicians, specialists, partners and so on) have and how this will help deliver the proposed work. You can include individuals’ specific achievements but only choose past contributions that best evidence their ability to deliver this work.

Complete this section using the R4RI module headings listed. Use each heading once and include a response for the whole team, see the UKRI guidance on R4RI. You should consider how to balance your answer, and emphasise where appropriate the key skills each team member brings:

  • contributions to the generation of new ideas, tools, methodologies, or knowledge
  • the development of others and maintenance of effective working relationships
  • contributions to the wider research and innovation community
  • contributions to broader research or innovation users and audiences and towards wider societal benefit

Provide any further details relevant to your application. This section is optional and can be up to 500 words. You should not use it to describe additional skills, experiences, or outputs, but you can use it to describe any factors that provide context for the rest of your R4RI (for example, details of career breaks if you wish to disclose them).

Complete this as a narrative. Do not format it like a CV.

UKRI has introduced new role types for funding opportunities being run on the new Funding Service.

For full details, see Eligibility as an individual.

You may demonstrate elements of your responses in visual form if relevant, further details are provided in the service.

Ethics and responsible research and innovation (RRI)

Word limit: 500

What are the ethical or RRI implications and issues relating to the proposed work? If you do not think that the proposed work raises any ethical or RRI issues, explain why.

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Demonstrate that you have identified and evaluated:

  • the relevant ethical or responsible research and innovation considerations
  • how you will manage these considerations

All proposals have to comply with the ESRC Framework for Research Ethics which includes guidance for applicants and links to related web resources.

All necessary ethical approvals must be in place before the project commences, but do not need to have been secured at the time of application.

If you are generating data as part of your project, you should complete the ‘Data management’ question and should cover ethical considerations relating to data in your response.

If you are not generating data and have not completed the ‘Data management’ question you should address any legal or ethical considerations relating to your use of data here.

Additional sub-questions (to be answered only if appropriate) relating to research involving:

  • human participants

Research involving human participation

Word limit: 700

Will the project involve the use of human subjects or their personal information?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

If you are proposing research that requires the involvement of human subjects, provide the name of any required approving body and whether approval is already in place.

Justify the number and the diversity of the participants involved, as well as any procedures.

Provide details of any areas of substantial or moderate severity of impact.

If this does not apply to your proposed work, you will be able to indicate this in the Funding Service.

Resources and cost justification

Word limit: 1,000

What will you need to deliver your proposed work and how much will it cost?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Justify the application’s more costly resources, in particular:

  • project staff
  • significant travel for field work or collaboration (but not regular travel between collaborating organisations or to conferences)
  • any equipment that will cost more than £10,000
  • any consumables beyond typical requirements, or that are required in exceptional quantities
  • all facilities and infrastructure costs
  • all resources that have been costed as ‘Exceptions’

Assessors are not looking for detailed costs or a line-by-line breakdown of all project resources. Overall, they want you to demonstrate how the resources you anticipate needing for your proposed work:

  • are comprehensive, appropriate, and justified
  • represent the optimal use of resources to achieve the intended outcomes
  • maximise potential outcomes and impacts

For detailed guidance on eligible costs please see the ESRC Research Funding Guide.

Please note that we will allow for a 10% deviation – either an increase or decrease – in the 100% full economic cost of proposals between the Outline and Full Proposal stages. However please note that the maximum limit of £2.9 million, and minimum limit of £2.5 million at 100% full economic cost remains in force for all proposals.

Environmental Sustainability

Word limit: 500

How will you embed environmental sustainability within the grant activities?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

  • Explain how your proposed work will embed environmental sustainability throughout the aims, objectives, operations and research outcomes

Project partners

Add details about any project partners’ contributions. If there are no project partners, you can indicate this on the Funding Service.

A project partner is a collaborating organisation who will have an integral role in the proposed research. This may include direct (cash) or indirect (in-kind) contributions such as expertise, staff time or use of facilities.

Add the following project partner details:

  • the organisation name and address (searchable via a drop-down list or enter the organisation’s details manually, as applicable)
  • the project partner contact name and email address
  • the type of contribution (direct or in-direct) and its monetary value

If a detail is entered incorrectly and you have saved the entry, remove the specific project partner record and re-add it with the correct information.

For audit purposes, UKRI requires formal collaboration agreements to be put in place if an award is made.

Project partners: letters or emails of support

Word limit: 10

Upload a single PDF containing the letters or emails of support from each partner you named in the ‘Project partner’ section.

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Enter the words ‘attachment supplied’ in the text box, or if you do not have any project partners enter N/A. Each letter or email you provide should:

  • confirm the partner’s commitment to the project
  • clearly explain the value, relevance, and possible benefits of the work to them
  • describe any additional value that they bring to the project

Save letters or emails of support from each partner in a single PDF no bigger than 8MB. Unless specially requested, please do not include any sensitive personal data within the attachment.

For the file name, use the unique Funding Service number the system gives you when you create an application, followed by the words ‘Project partner’.

If the attachment does not meet these requirements, the application will be rejected.

The Funding Service will provide document upload details when you apply. If you do not have any project partners, you will be able to indicate this in the UKRI Funding Service.

Ensure you have prior agreement from project partners so that, if you are offered funding, they will support your project as indicated in the contributions template.

For audit purposes, UKRI requires formal collaboration agreements to be put in place if an award is made.

Do not provide letters of support from host and project co-leads’ research organisations.

Data Management

Word limit: 500

How will you manage and share data generated through the proposed work?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Demonstrate that you have designed your proposed work so that you can:

Within the ‘Data management’ section we also expect you to:

  • plan for the research through the life cycle of the award until data is accepted for archiving by the UK Data Service (UKDS) or a responsible data repository
  • demonstrate compliance with ESRC’s research data policy and ESRC framework for research ethics. This should include confirmation that existing datasets have been reviewed and why currently available datasets are inadequate for the proposed research
  • cover any legal and ethical considerations of collecting, releasing or storing the data, including consent, confidentiality, anonymisation, security and other ethical issues
  • include any challenges to data sharing (for example, copyright or data confidentiality), with possible solutions discussed to optimise data sharing

If this does not apply to your proposed work, you will be able to indicate this in the Funding Service.


Word limit: 250

Does your proposed work require the support and use of a facility?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

If you will need to use a facility (including access to, and use of data infrastructure), follow your proposed facility’s normal access request procedures. Ensure you have prior agreement so that if you are offered funding, they will support the use of their facility on your project. ESRC encourages the use of secondary and linked datasets.

For each requested facility you will need to provide the:

If you will not need to use a facility, you will be able to indicate this in the Funding Service.


Word limit: 1,000

List the references you have used to support your application.

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Include all references in this section, not in the rest of the application questions.

You should not include any other information in this section.

We advise you not to include hyperlinks, as assessors are not obliged to access the information they lead to or consider it in their assessment of your application.

If linking to web resources, to maintain the information’s integrity, include persistent identifiers (such as digital object identifiers) where possible.

You must not include links to web resources to extend your application.

How we will assess your application

Assessment process

We will assess your application using the following process.

This is the second phase of a two-stage (outline and full) assessment process. It is only open to successful applications invited from the outline stage.


Following the outline stage, we will invite a panel of experts collectively review your full stage application against the criteria. There will be an opportunity to respond to the assessor comments. The same experts will participate with a panel to assess the quality of your application and rank it alongside other applications, after which the panel will make a funding recommendation.

The funding partners will use the recommendations from the commissioning panel, along with the overall funding opportunity requirements and the available budget, to make final funding decisions. The funding partners reserve the right to use the recommendations to create a balanced portfolio across research themes. The funding partners will seek to maximise the available programme budget through the assessment process.


We aim to complete the assessment process within four months of receiving your application.


We will give brief feedback with the outcome of your application based on assessor comments.

Principles of assessment

We support the San Francisco declaration on research assessment and recognise the relationship between research assessment and research integrity.

Find out about the UKRI Principles of Assessment and Decision Making.

Sharing data with co-funders

We will need to share the application (including any personal information that it contains) with Defra so that they can participate in the assessment process.

For more information on how Defra uses personal information, visit Defra’s privacy notice page.

We reserve the right to modify the assessment process as needed.

Assessment criteria

The assessment areas we will use are:

  • vision
  • approach
  • applicant and team capability to deliver
  • resources and cost justification
  • data management plan (if applicable)
  • ethics and responsible research and Innovation (RRI)
  • environmental sustainability

Find details of assessment questions and criteria under the ‘Application questions’ heading in the ‘How to apply’ section.

Contact details

Get help with your application

If you have a question and the answers aren’t provided on this page.

Important note: The Helpdesk is committed to helping users of the UKRI Funding Service as effectively and as quickly as possible. In order to manage cases at peak volume times, the Helpdesk will triage and prioritise those queries with an imminent opportunity deadline or a technical issue. Enquiries raised where information is available on the Funding Finder opportunity page and should be understood early in the application process (for example, regarding eligibility or content/remit of an opportunity) will not constitute a priority case and will be addressed as soon as possible.

Contact Details

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.

For questions related to this specific funding opportunity please contact

Any queries regarding the system or the submission of applications through the Funding Service should be directed to the helpdesk.

Phone: 01793 547490

Our phone lines are open:

  • Monday to Thursday 8:30am to 5:00pm
  • Friday 8:30am to 4:30pm

To help us process queries quicker, we request that users highlight the council and opportunity name in the subject title of their email query, include the application reference number, and refrain from contacting more than one mailbox at a time.

Find information on submitting an application.

Sensitive information

If you or a core team member need to tell us something you wish to remain confidential, email

Include in the subject line: [Resilient UK coastal communities and seas; sensitive information; your UKRI Funding Service application number].

Typical examples of confidential information include:

  • individual is unavailable until a certain date (for example due to parental leave)
  • declaration of interest
  • additional information about eligibility to apply that would not be appropriately shared in the ‘Applicant and team capability’ section
  • conflict of interest for UKRI to consider in reviewer or panel participant selection
  • the application is an invited resubmission

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Additional info


Strategic alignment

The Resilient UK Coastal Communities and Seas programme is jointly funded by central funding from UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and AHRC, ESRC, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and NERC. By working collectively, we are harnessing the full power of the UK’s research and innovation system to tackle large-scale and complex challenges.

This opportunity is supported through UKRI’s strategic theme ’creating opportunities, improving outcomes’, through which UKRI is seeking to improve outcomes for people and places across the UK by identifying solutions that promote economic and social prosperity.

This funding opportunity is relevant to priority one ‘net zero, environment, biodiversity and climate change’ of the ESRC 2022 to 2025 strategic delivery plan, which sets out our commitment to invest in new ambitious interdisciplinary programmes on climate change mitigation and adaptation.

It will contribute to NERC’s strategic delivery plan ambitions of place-based research (objective two), and embedding environmental science within UKRI’s strategic themes and building national resilience to climate change (objective five). The programme will predominantly address the AHRC vision by contributing to our understanding of contemporary challenges.

The programme will also link to the following priorities detailed in the AHRC strategic delivery plan:

  • leading interdisciplinary responses to national priorities, working at the heart of thriving communities
  • making connections between people, sectors and capabilities
  • being open and supporting the arts and humanities to thrive

Defra investment is through its flagship three year Natural Capital and Ecosystem Assessment (NCEA) programme. The marine arm of the NCEA programme is leading the way in supporting government ambition to integrate natural capital approaches into decision making.

This will provide policy with a robust natural capital evidence base, suite of tools, and a framework where environmental, economic and societal information are brought together to transform the way we make decisions to protect and enhance our marine and coastal environments.


The UK’s coastal communities and coastal environments are a diverse and heterogeneous grouping, with a wide range of needs and challenges. Some of the challenges to these localities which also impact the potential opportunities for development include:

  • historical context
  • seasonal industries (fishing, tourism and more)
  • peripherality (access to services)
  • issues of deprivation
  • ageing populations
  • healthcare
  • environmental change
  • the impact of both climate change and resulting policies

Understanding needs and the capacity for adaptation, and how communities are represented in policymaking, is critical for the implementation of policies that will build resilient and sustainable UK coastal communities and seas.

UK coastal seas, stretching from the coastline out to the edges of the continental shelf, make up 78% of UK territorial waters and encompass the majority of UK marine natural capital assets, with an estimated value of £211 billion. These seas support a diverse and dynamic range of coastal communities and industries, and provide vital spaces for recreation, contribute to societal wellbeing through engagement with blue space, and are home to a wide range of maritime culture and heritage.

Managing this natural capital to ensure the UK governments’ vision of clean, healthy, safe, productive, and biologically diverse seas, while promoting equitable access and connection to these seas from across all areas of society and conserving associated culture and heritage is a pressing challenge. Ambitious targets are set to transform governance of UK seas and meet government commitments, while also meeting pressures from changing climate and its impacts on ocean health.

Coastal communities are geographically significant as areas which experience deprivation within the UK, both in terms of health (CMO report 2021) and development (Levelling Up, 2022). Addressing the natural and human dimensions of this complex socio-ecological challenge is a large knowledge gap that requires the integration of humanities, natural, and social sciences.

Solutions are required that include environmental, human, cultural and societal influences within a whole system understanding of coastal seas to enhance adaptive capacity to future climate impacts and shocks.

Responsible innovation

As directed by the UKRI policies and standards, responsible innovation aims to ensure that:

  • unintended negative impacts are avoided
  • barriers to dissemination, adoption and diffusion of research and innovation are reduced
  • the positive societal and economic benefits of research and innovation are fully realised

Applicants for this funding opportunity will be required to practice responsible innovation following the UKRI guidance.


Natural capital

Natural capital is the living and non-living parts of our natural environment that have value to people, providing us with environmental, economic, cultural and societal benefits. A natural capital approach is about incorporating the wider benefits of the environment into decision making.


Place-based approaches are defined for this programme as approaches whereby characteristics and meanings of a certain geography (the ‘place’) is fundamental to the project proposed. We would expect place-based approaches for this programme to focus at a local to regional level but produce learnings that could be scalable and generally applicable across other locations.


Health is defined as a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity Constitution of the World Health Organisation.

Health inequalities

This programme uses the term health inequalities to include varying definitions and interpretations of inequality and inequity, including the unfair and avoidable differences in health across different population groups. Understanding the drivers of such inequalities and the role of community assets in reducing these differences is a core tenet of this programme.

Webinar for potential applicants

We held a webinar on 2 May 2023. This provided more information about the opportunity and a chance to ask questions.

Watch resilient UK coastal communities and seas webinar recording on Zoom

Webinar slides (PDF, 3.5MB)

Webinar frequently asked questions (PDF, 146KB)

Research disruption due to COVID-19

We recognise that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused major interruptions and disruptions across our communities. We are committed to ensuring that individual applicants and their wider team, including partners and networks, are not penalised for any disruption to their career, such as:

  • breaks and delays
  • disruptive working patterns and conditions
  • the loss of ongoing work
  • role changes that may have been caused by the pandemic

Reviewers and panel members will be advised to consider the unequal impacts that COVID-19 related disruption might have had on the capability to deliver and career development of those individuals included in the application. They will be asked to consider the capability of the applicant and their wider team to deliver the research they are proposing.

Where disruptions have occurred, you can highlight this within your application if you wish, but there is no requirement to detail the specific circumstances that caused the disruption.

Supporting documents

Equality impact assessment (PDF, 198KB)

Outline stage guidance (PDF, 262KB)

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