About the PCAN Fund

The PCAN Fund is an integral part of the Place-Based Climate Action Network. The aim of the fund is to stimulate engagement on place-based action beyond the five platforms. It provides small grants to researchers and research users, thus opening the Network to a wider community.

The PCAN Fund has a total budget of £400,000 over five years. The aspiration is to award 20-30 grants in total, implying an average grant size of £20,000. The maximum grant size is £35,000.

Call for proposals

The call is now closed for 2019.

The first round will support 3 – 6 projects worth £5,000 – £35,000 each, for a total of for £75,000.

The actual funding envelope and the number of projects could be higher or lower, depending on the quality of proposals received.

Project selection

We are interested in proposals that support the design and delivery of local climate action in the UK. This may be achieved, for example, through engagement, training, the co-production of knowledge or academic research that builds delivery capacity in areas such as finance and local governance.

In this first PCAN round we are keen for some of the proposals that support the design and delivery of climate action in the PCAN partner cities of Belfast, Edinburgh and Leeds.

Applications may be submitted under 5 headings:

  • impact grants (e.g., co-production of decision-relevant knowledge)
  • engagement grants (e.g., events, secondments, campaigns)
  • research grants (aimed preferentially at early career researchers)
  • training grants (e.g. skill development)
  • innovation grants (e.g. seed-funding for new initiatives or products)

Proposals will be evaluated according to the following criteria:

  • Relevance to PCAN objectives (including co-development between researchers and research users)
  • Innovative features
  • Expected impact
  • Value for money
  • Academic merit (where applicable)


The aspiration is to spread PCAN activities as widely as possible. Applications are therefore invited from both practitioners (policy makers, businesses, NGOs etc.) and academics and researchers.

We particularly encourage submissions from early career researchers and applications that are co-produced by researchers and research users.

The fund is open to the UK research and climate change community, including members of the PCAN network, such as advisory group members and members of a PCAN platform (e.g. a city commission). Researchers from a PCAN host university are also eligible to apply. Conflict-of-interest rules will be in place to evaluate such proposals. 

Members of the PCAN core team are not eligible for funding.  However, winning proposals will be encouraged to work closely with the PCAN team and will be assigned a PCAN champion.

Applications from outside the UK are possible, but in all cases applicants are responsible for ensuring their eligibility to visit and where necessary work in the UK.

Eligible expenditure

A number of different kinds of expenditure can be supported, depending on the design of the application. This may include money for research assistants, research expenses, travel expenses, events and publications. Where applicants require some compensation for their time on the project, it may be possible to pay an honorarium.

The funding will be at 100% but we are not able to pay indirect costs or estate costs. Should these costs be incurred they would have to be covered by the host institution.

Contracting will be with the London School of Economics. ESRC rules and expectations (e.g. on ethics, ESRC reporting) will be annexed to the contract and will form part of the agreement.


Proposals are evaluated in a two-stage process.

Stage 1 (this stage) consists of a short expression of interest. The information that needs to be provided is deliberately kept light in order to attract a wide range of proposals.  Proposals need to be submitted electronically by [1 July 2019].

Short-listed applicants will be informed in late July 2019 and invited to submit a fuller Stage 2 proposal (about 5-10 pages) by the end of September.  

Successful applicants will be informed toward the end of November so that projects can start in early 2020.

How to submit

Expressions of interest (stage 1 proposals) should be submitted electronically by clicking on and completing this short questionnaire.

For further questions about PCAN or the submission process please contact PCAN@lse.ac.uk.

The deadline for submissions has now passed. The next round of funding will open early 2020 - date to be announced.