Our new grants scheme: The Highlands and Islands Climate Change Community Grant The British Science Association (BSA) has today (18 November 2021) launched its latest funding programme – The Highlands and Islands Climate Change Community Grant – which will offer grants of up to £4,500 to community groups in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland to work with a researcher to run a project exploring a local climate issue that matters to them. The Highlands and Islands Climate Change Community Grant scheme, is funded by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and aims to make a local difference and build momentum from the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP26, held in Glasgow. Community groups – especially those who do not typically engage with science, research and innovation – are invited to apply for funding to support projects based on a new idea or building on existing work by the community that would benefit from partnership with a researcher. The BSA and UKRI are particularly keen to hear from communities about projects that seek to explore ways of adapting to the effects of climate change, for example, extreme weather events or decreased air quality. Applications will be open until 31 January 2022, and funded projects are expected to run from April to October 2022. Views on climate change Last month (October 2021), ahead of COP26, the Office for National Statistics’ Opinions and Lifestyle Survey revealed that three-quarters (75%) of adults in the UK said they were worried about the impact of climate change. For 43% of people, the feeling of anxiousness about the future of the environment was further exacerbated in the run up to COP26. Additional research from the BEIS Public Attitudes Tracker, highlighted that eight out of ten people (82%), believed that if everyone did their bit, we could reduce the effects of climate change together. With global climate change negotiations under the spotlight, some communities are not only concerned about the climate emergency, but are keen to take part in tackling it. This scheme aims to develop equitable, collaborative relationships between local communities and researchers to enable them to work together to tackle climate change and its local impacts. How the Highlands and Islands Climate Change Community Grant will help The Highlands and Islands Climate Change Community Grant aims to empower communities – especially those who are traditionally underrepresented in science, research and innovation (including through geography, socio-economic background or other protected characteristics) – to take action against a climate change issue that matters to them, whilst also providing researchers with a greater appreciation of the value of community input. This scheme aims to develop equitable, collaborative relationships between local communities and researchers. Projects can be based on a new idea or build on existing work by the community. They will seek to explore ways of adapting to the expected effects of climate change and how such projects benefit from working in partnership with a researcher. Kate Orchard, Head of Community Engagement at the British Science Association, said:“When developing this grant scheme, we explored two questions: ‘How could we enable communities to make a local difference and build on the momentum from COP26?’ and ‘How could we support community groups in the Highlands and Islands to explore local action on climate change through connecting them with a researcher?’ “The result was the Highlands and Islands Climate Change Community Grant scheme, which we hope will nurture and develop residents’ ideas by supporting diverse communities to use research to respond to climate change on their own terms. “With support from UKRI, we are delighted to build on the interest and excitement of COP26 to reach far beyond negotiations in Glasgow, into local communities in the Highlands and Islands. We’re looking forward to supporting successful applicants to deliver the aims and ambitions of the scheme.” UKRI’s support of the BSA’s new grant scheme is part of their wider vision 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 want to enable communities across the UK – particularly those that are underrepresented – to play an active role in research and innovation, and benefit directly from it. Tom Saunders, Head of Public Engagement at UKRI, said: “UKRI is committed to enabling the public to actively engage with research and innovation. With the urgent issue of climate change, there are many communities and places across the UK that are likely to be disproportionately affected, but who do not tend to have opportunities to be part of the conversation about the research and innovation which can address these challenges. “We are delighted therefore to be working with the British Science Association to enable communities in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, especially those underrepresented in engagement with research and innovation, to work with researchers to explore how climate change may affect them and where they live.”The BSA will be working with Scotland-based educational organisation, Science Ceilidh, to provide support to both community groups and researchers throughout the entire grant-scheme process. Lewis Hou, Founder and Director of Science Ceilidh, said: “We are really excited to be working alongside the British Science Association and UKRI on this new grant to support communities and connect them with researchers to explore ways to handle climate change. “At Science Ceilidh, we already know the Highlands and Islands are hubs for community-led climate action and innovation, actively responding to both local and global challenges – from the role of cultural organisations and libraries sparking creative conversations through Climate Beacons for COP26, to the many community organisations, social enterprises and schools working to look at hyper-local adaptations to the climate crisis.” For community groups and researchers interested in finding out more, please complete this expression of interest form. You will be sent details of a webinar where further information will be shared about the grant application process (14:00-16:00, 13 December 2021): Expression of interest form Full details including how to apply and what types of projects are eligible can be found on the Highlands and Islands Climate Change Community Grant webpage: Visit the Highlands and Islands Climate Change Community Grant webpage If you have any questions or require any assistance, please get in touch on [email protected].