Thanks for your interest in the Highlands and Islands Climate Change Community Grant!

Please complete our expression of interest form if you’re a researcher who’d like to be involved with the programme.

The Highlands and Islands Climate Change Community Grant scheme, funded by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and delivered by the British Science Association (BSA) and Science Ceilidh, supports communities in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland to work with researchers in addressing local climate change issues.

We want communities and researchers to be able to develop relationships and, in the process, gain a better understanding of each other’s expertise, experiences and perspectives.

This page provides information for researchers that are interested in being involved in the scheme for phase two.

If you are interested and have any questions that aren’t answered below, or if you require information in different formats, please get in touch at [email protected].

You can skip to the following sections:

1. What funding is available?

2. How will community groups work with a researcher?

3. What do we hope that communities and researchers will get out of working together?

1. What funding is available?

Grants of up to £5,000 are available to community groups to run a project or activity on a local climate change issue that benefits their community, engages with climate change topics and/or research and involves working with a researcher through public engagement and/or knowledge exchange.

Projects can be a new idea or build on existing work by the community which would benefit from a partnership with a researcher

To be eligible for a grant, the application must come from a community group (rather than a researcher) and groups must be community-based. Grant-funded projects should run from September 2023 to March 2024.

2. How will community groups work with a researcher?

We welcome applications from

  • Community groups who don’t have a partnership with a researcher but have an idea of what they might do and how a researcher could help. Successful applicants will be matched up with a researcher in the next stage of the process.
  • And community groups who have worked with a researcher before, or have someone in mind, are also eligible to apply for the grant.

The BSA and Science Ceilidh will match appropriate researchers to projects that are not yet matched in June 2023. This will be done through supported researcher and community group conversations to establish how best to work together.

Projects will be community-led, and we expect that knowledge will flow both ways. We are looking for projects that have the potential to lead to longer term community and researcher relationships, rather than projects where researchers carry out research or gather data “on” a community. We’d also like to see how the researcher can learn from the community group, which may inform their research in the future.

Previous examples of how communities and researchers worked together are highlighted in our phase one case studies and include:

  • Spending time getting to know each other and sharing each other’s skills and knowledge around climate change issues, working with communities, or research ideas and techniques. 
  • Researchers training community members on how to design and run the research - from interviewing other volunteers of the community about their priorities to planning citizen science project and running carbon audits.
  • Researchers supporting the community to expand an existing project, e.g. developing a reusable cup trial for businesses and sharing talks with the wider community around sustainability and consumption.

Appropriate projects based on the scale of the funding will be developed together through the matching process.

As you may not have done this type of project before, and we want this to be an accessible learning experience for the communities and researchers involved, there is support available throughout the whole grant process. This includes matching community groups with researchers, as well as during the delivery of the project itself.


3. What do we hope communities and researchers will get from working together?

Community groups will have the opportunity to work with a researcher to address climate change issues relevant to their community. It is an opportunity to explore how research and the research process can add value to community projects and explore the impact of research on the communities it serves.  

For researchers, this is an opportunity to work with a grassroots community organisation and support them to address climate change, adaptation and resilience ‘on the ground’.  Researchers should note, whilst the project might link to your other research, the focus chosen by the community must be the priority and primary goal. 

The BSA and Science Ceilidh will be hosting a series of “community of practice” workshops throughout the programme to provide support and share the learning between the projects taking part. 

Some of the learnings from phase one included:

  • Community climate action can be empowering by showing local people, groups and businesses what is possible.  
  • Collaborations work best when communities and researchers jointly develop projects.  
  • Reversing the traditional power relationships between researchers and communities (whereby researchers have more power and status and are seen as holding all the expertise) is key for equitable relationships between communities and researchers.  
  • How projects are organised can help address power imbalances between researchers and communities, for example, hosting events in community spaces and running shared activities.  
  • Projects that build research capacity in communities make future research collaborations more likely. This ranges from increased understanding of what research can do, to researchers sharing their knowledge and skills with participants.   

To find out more about the learnings from phase one of the programme, please read our latest blog post

Please complete our expression of interest form if you’d like to be involved with the programme.


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