We’ve offered grants of up to £4,500 to support nine community groups in the Highlands and Islands to work with a researcher to run a project on a local climate change issue that matters to them.

Take a look at a Highlands and Islands Climate Change Community project 'Seaweed Gardens' in action. The project explores the impacts of climate change in Oban and its surrounding area by learning about seaweed environments, which are vital carbon sinks in the local environment:

Check out all of the projects here

Area: The Highlands and Islands, Scotland, UK

Suitable for: Community groups

Funding size: up to £4,500

Timeframe: Projects running from April - October 2022


This is a new type of grant, funded by UKRI (UK Research and Innovation) to support diverse communities to connect with researchers to inform community action and use research to respond to climate change.

UKRI’s vision is for an outstanding research and innovation system in the UK that gives everyone the opportunity to contribute and to benefit, enriching lives locally, nationally and internationally.

Through support and funding for community-led approaches to public engagement UKRI wants to enable communities across the UK - particularly those that are under-represented - to play an active role in research and innovation.

The Royal Society of Edinburgh are also providing support.


You can skip to the following sections:

Project timeline


Here is the recorded version of the webinar for the Highlands and Islands Climate Change Community Grant which shares information about the grant and application process, as well as the researcher matching process:

Here is a PDF version of the slides used in the webinar. 

Webinar (to attend, sign up via the EOI form) 13 December 2021
Deadline for grant - submit form by 17:00 31 January 2022
Grants confirmed Mid-March 2022
Researcher/group ‘matching’ workshop/ training Mid-to-late March 2022
Projects start and launch workshop 7 April 2022
Evaluation/discussion workshop June 2022
Project celebration and evaluation meeting October 2022

There is support available through the whole grant process, including the development of applications (with webinars and individual support), matching up and partnering with researchers and during the delivery of the project itself.

If you have any questions or require any assistance, please get in touch on
[email protected].

We will also be working with Science Ceilidh locally to provide specific support.

Who was eligible to apply

To have been eligible for a grant, applications had to come from a representative from a community group (rather than a researcher) and groups had to be community-based.

We prioritised groups who work directly with participants who are traditionally underrepresented in science, research and innovation. These could include:

  • people living in a remote and rural location, defined as settlements of less than 10,000 and/or Level 6 or higher on the Scottish Urban and Rural Classification
  • people from ethnic minorities and speakers of minoritized languages
  • people with low socio-economic status, including people disadvantaged in terms of education and income
  • people with additional support needs, a physical or mental condition or impairment

Communities and activities should be based in the Highlands and Islands – specifically for this grant defined as based in the following council areas: Highland Council, Moray Council, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, Orkney Islands Council, Shetland Islands, Argyll and Bute Council, Isle of Arran and Isle of Cumbrae.

The projects we fund

Projects could be a new idea or build on existing work by the community which would benefit from partnership with a researcher. We were especially keen to hear from communities about projects that seek to explore adaptations to the effects of climate change.

Projects had reflect climate change issues that matter to the local community.

Projects/activities could (but were not required to) link to themes such as:

  • How we grow and eat food (food and farming)
  • How to travel sustainably (sustainable transport)
  • How to source and use sustainable power (energy, renewable)
  • How and where we will live in the future (e.g. housing, de/repopulation, migration)
  • How to manage waste and consumption (waste management and consumption) and;
  • How to protect our natural environment and biodiversity (the natural environment and biodiversity e.g. addressing flooding, water shortage, habitat protection).

Here are some ideas applicants were asked to consider:

  • What climate change issues matter most to your community now? How might your community adapt to future climate change with the help of a researcher?
  • What has your community group been doing already that is related to climate change? What research might your community be interested in exploring?
  • What might you do to further existing efforts or as a new project? How can you build or deepen a relationship with a researcher?

Projects had to involve working with a researcher, for example, this could be to:

  • Share knowledge/ideas about climate change in more accessible and creative ways.
  • Learn from each other’s climate change knowledge/expertise/experience and build or strengthen a community–researcher relationship.
  • Support the community to explore a question themselves through sharing different research techniques and skills.
  • Connect better with existing evidence (e.g. using data) through discussions to make evidence-informed decisions as a community.

Applicants were not required to name a researcher in their application, but they needed to indicate how they might work with one.

Applicants were asked to describe how they might work with a researcher, what type of skills and knowledge might be useful and why they might be of benefit. The BSA then assisted successful applicants with finding an appropriate researcher to support their project.

We prioritised projects that have the potential to lead to longer-term community and researcher relationships rather than a ‘one-off’ intervention by a researcher.

What can funding be spent on?

Grant money can be used for the following:

  • Project-specific staff costs – salaries or fees for people who are essential to the project and whose salaries aren’t already covered by another grant
  • Researcher costs – salaries or fees for researchers that aren't already covered by another grant or by their own salary. You should allow a contingency budget for researcher expenses, in particular for their travel costs.
  • Materials and equipment essential for the project
  • Travel and subsistence costs
  • Room hire and catering
  • Publicity
  • Speakers and trainers
  • Reasonable volunteer expenses
  • Other costs of activities associated with the grant
  • Overheads for the community group – these can only account for a maximum of 10% of your grant. These are the indirect expenses of running your project, sometimes called “core costs”

The grant cannot be spent on:

  • Single-use disposable items
  • Costs incurred before your proposed project starts
  • Activities/partnerships outside the UK
  • Emergency, top-up, or maintenance funding
  • Loans, investments, or capital costs
  • Delivery of frontline services, such as healthcare services or interventions

The grant must be used in line with the Government guidance on social distancing.

For more information please also visit:

The organisations awarded the Highlands and Islands Climate Change Community Grants 


Frequently Asked Questions

If you have any questions or require any assistance, please get in touch on [email protected].