Highlands and Islands communities explore impact of climate change

Walker looking out at the view from Nest Point, Isle of Skye

The Highlands and Islands Climate Change Community Grant will fund community groups in Scotland to explore a local climate issue that matters to them.

The scheme is a collaboration between UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and the British Science Association (BSA).

It will connect community groups in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland with a researcher to empower communities to take action against climate change issues that matter to them.

In doing so, it will make a local difference to the communities and build momentum from the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26), held in Glasgow earlier this year.

Supporting people to take action

Ahead of COP26, the Office for National Statistics’ Opinions and Lifestyle Survey revealed that three-quarters of adults in the UK said they were worried about the impact of climate change.

With climate change under the spotlight more than ever, the public are understandably concerned about what this might mean for them and where they live.

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.

Encouraging diverse applications

This opportunity is open to all community groups but UKRI and BSA are particularly keen to hear from groups that do not typically engage with science, research, and innovation.

Groups can 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.

Projects that seek to explore ways of adapting to the effects of climate change, for example, extreme weather events or decreased air quality are particularly welcomed.

Apply for funding

Applications will be open until 31 January 2022, and funded projects are expected to run from April to October 2022.

Engage with research and innovation

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 BSA 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.

Exploring two questions

Kate Orchard, Head of Community Engagement at BSA, said:

When developing this grant scheme, we explored two questions: ‘How could we build on the momentum from COP26 to enable communities to make a local difference on climate change?’ and ‘How could we support community groups in the Highlands and Islands to explore local action on climate change by 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 funding 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.

Top image:  Credit: JulieanneBirch, Getty Images

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