Global Centers in Clean Energy and Climate Change

Closing Date: 11/05/2023

Funding for UK applicants to participate in the US-led Global Centers program to support new cutting-edge, interdisciplinary, use-inspired research on clean energy and climate change through international partnerships fostering novel breakthroughs or informing policy.

The Global Centers program is a US National Science Foundation (NSF)-led programme delivered in partnership with international funders in the UK, Australia and Canada to encourage and support large-scale collaborative research on use-inspired themes in climate change and clean energy.

In terms of this opportunity, ‘use-inspired’ reflects the need for projects to focus on generating outcomes that have clear benefits for society in efforts to tackle the global climate crisis. These outcomes should seek to generate novel clean energy solutions or help the assessment or mitigation of climate-change impacts on society, people, and communities.

The programme has two tracks: Track 1 is a pilot programme aiming to implement the first Global Centers. Foreign teams on successful Track-1 proposals will be funded by their respective country agencies. Track 2 supports coordination research and education efforts aiming to develop future Global Centers.

The UK strand is being led by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and focuses exclusively on Track 1. However, subject to budget availability, UKRI may be able to support Track 2 awards in the future. UK applicants interested in these Track 2 awards are invited to continue to check the UKRI call page periodically for updates.

The Track 1 funding available in the UK will support cutting-edge, interdisciplinary, use-inspired research on clean energy and climate change through international partnerships fostering novel breakthroughs or informing policy. Funding is specifically available for UK-based researchers to create partnerships with a partner in the US with the possibility to also include partners in Canada or Australia.

The programme will prioritise research collaborations fostering team science, community-engaged research, and use knowledge-to-action frameworks. The proposed research can focus on delivering solutions not just for the countries partnering in the programme, but which may be applicable at a global level.

The UK component of the global centres proposal must be at least 65% focused on delivering clean energy solutions. UK proposals can either focus on clean energy or clean energy and climate change solutions. These themes include the following cross cutting considerations:

  • The sustainability and circularity of the solutions proposed.
  • Energy demand reduction opportunities as energy efficiency and usage behaviours (green choices and green behaviours) will change as decarbonisation measures come into effect.
  • Systems considerations.
  • Solutions that also secure co-benefits such as enhanced biodiversity, resilient ecosystem services, improved air quality, health, and supply chain resilience for example.

Solutions also need to be able to be implemented in a warmer climate with more extreme weather patterns.

Proposals are encouraged in the following areas across the two themes covered by the call:

Clean energy theme:

  • Negative emission technologies.
  • Interdisciplinary research and innovation in the solutions which will be needed to overcome the last 20% of emissions that currently lack a pathway to mitigation.
  • Targeting the difficult to decarbonise.
  • Removing the barriers to uptake of solutions.

Climate change theme:

  • Biodiversity protection, conservation, restoration.
  • Building knowledge and guidance into best practice and policy.
  • Circular bioeconomy for food, feed, energy, and products.
  • Climate ready, resilient agriculture, aquaculture, fisheries.
  • Climate-ready resilient cities and infrastructures.
  • Food and water resources and security on the changing planet.
  • Economics, policy, social sciences for climate-resilience solutions.
  • Ecosystem health and restoration.
  • Engineered and nature-based contributions to reducing and repairing the impact (past and future) of human activities on the natural environment.
  • Green or blue infrastructures.
  • Interplay of engineered solutions to natured based solutions.
  • Sustainable and resilient solutions to complex physical systems coupled with digital systems.
  • Transport resilience in the changing planet.

Partnerships must be interdisciplinary and can involve researchers who are in any field of the social sciences, humanities, natural sciences, engineering and physical sciences, and biotechnological and biological sciences.

Projects will be supported for five years and must start between 1 October 2023 and 31 December 2023.

Funding body UK Research and Innovation (UKRI)
Maximum value £5,000,000
Reference ID S24807
Category Natural Environment
Biotechnology and Biology
Engineering and Physical Sciences
Fund or call Fund