PCAN Fund Round 2: Call for Proposals 2020


The ESRC-funded Place-based Climate Action Network (PCAN) is inviting proposals for a second round of funding under the PCAN Fund.

The aim of the PCAN Fund is to support projects that promote and increase understanding of place-based climate action in the UK. The fund provides small grants for both research and the development of policy and practice.

The 2020 funding round will make four to six awards worth £5,000 – £35,000 each, for a total of for £125,000. The actual funding envelope and the number of awards could be higher or lower, depending on the quality of proposals received.

Thematic focus

We are interested in diverse and innovative proposals spanning different activities and disciplines, which support the design and delivery of local climate action in the UK. Projects can focus on a particular location, as long as they clearly inform or advance understanding on the development of policy and practice across the UK.

Proposals may be submitted under one of two windows:

PCAN Fellowship

We are inviting Early Career Researchers to become a PCAN Fellow for one year. PCAN Fellows will remain in their existing institution, but have up to two days a week to (i) undertake place-based research or engagement activities and (ii) become an active member of the PCAN team by participating in our activities.  We anticipate that one or two awards will take the form of a Fellowship.

Project call

We are inviting proposals for projects that address the following issues:

  • The interface between local climate action and economic regeneration in terms of communities, investment and skills (e.g., recovery from deindustrialisation, conflict, Covid-19)
  • New business and community engagement models for climate resilience and adaptation at the local level
  • Place-based climate action in rural areas, covering aspects such as rural housing, rural transport, rural communities and the rural economy
  • Approaches to climate action in the context of multi-level governance, for example at the local and regional scales
  • Other innovative proposals on place-based climate action in the UK.

Eligible activities

The aspiration is to spread PCAN activities as widely as possible. Applications are therefore invited from both practitioners (policy makers, businesses, NGOs etc) and academic researchers. We particularly encourage 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 board members and members of a PCAN platform (e.g. a city climate commission). Researchers from a PCAN host university may also apply. However, core members of the PCAN team are not eligible. 

The PCAN Fund can support a number of activities, including:

  • research (aimed preferentially at early career researchers)
  • the co-production of decision-relevant knowledge
  • public engagement (e.g., events, campaigns)
  • skill development (e.g. training, secondments).

Eligible expenditure

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 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.  Stage 1 proposals need to be submitted  using the link below by 26 May 2020 (midnight).

Stage 2: Shortlisted applicants will be informed in mid-June 2020 and invited to submit a fuller Stage 2 proposal (about 5-10 pages) by mid-July.  Successful applicants will be informed in early September, so that projects can start in the autumn of 2020.

How to submit

Expressions of interest (stage 1 proposals) should be submitted through this SmartSurvey link

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

The deadline for submissions is 26 May 2020 (midnight).

Further information about the PCAN Fund and PCAN Round 1 funded projects

Keep in touch with PCAN

Want to find out more about PCAN's activities and the work of our network of climate commissions? We are launching a new, bi-monthly newsletter with the latest news and updates from the Place-Based Climate Action Network. Please fill out the 'Subscribe to PCAN' form on our website to receive the newsletter and be included on our mailing list.