Shared Understandings of a Sustainable Future

The British Academy is inviting proposals to support interdisciplinary analyses and fresh syntheses to achieve a transition to a net-zero economy by empowering a range of actors working across sectors and areas of society. We are inviting proposals from researchers in the humanities, social sciences, and the arts (the SHAPE subjects). Proposals should explore the question: "How can collaboration across sectors (public, third sector, business and local communities), foster shared commitments to goals, values and programmes to deliver net zero as part of a sustainable future?"
Open for applications
Early-career, Established researcher, Mid-career, Postdoctoral or equivalent research, Senior researcher
3 Jan 2022
5 Nov 2021
08 Dec 2021 - 17:00 GMT
Six months

policy@thebritishacademy.ac.uk

Funded by the UK’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

The British Academy is inviting proposals to support interdisciplinary analyses and fresh syntheses to bridge two interrelated, but distinct challenges: 

  • Achieving the goals of a transition to a net-zero economy that support wider goals of environmental sustainability;
  • in a way that mobilises and empowers a range of actors working across sectors and areas of society.

Key to these two challenges are the importance of communities, co-creation, adaptation, resilience and innovation.

In this scheme, we are seeking insight that bridges these challenges by inviting proposals from researchers in the humanities, social sciences, and the arts (the SHAPE subjects). Proposals should explore our central research question:

How can collaboration across sectors (public, third sector, business and local communities), foster shared commitments to goals, values and programmes to deliver net zero as part of a sustainable future? 

Scope of the call

In exploring the research question stated above, we expect the following perspectives and insights to be relevant and may be drawn out (though these are not exhaustive):

  • An historically informed understanding of the drivers of grass-roots movements and local alliances to effect positive societal and economic change.
  • Interdisciplinary and intersectoral insights about language, structures, and processes of collective action and community initiatives to adapt to new challenges, and the kinds of social, cultural and physical infrastructures which might support such processes.
  • Understandings of how social, political and economic innovation can operate as a lever of change.
  • Analyses of the role of voice and trust in underpinning processes of collective action and change, and implications for governance.
  • Ideas which deepen our understanding of policy mechanisms based on exploring one or more of the dimensions and implications of place (locality, physical and social context), scale (individual, community, regional, national) and time (past, present, future; short, medium and longer term).

The Academy encourages proposals from multidisciplinary teams drawing on multiple insights and disciplinary framings. Applicants are encouraged to bring together different communities of expertise, for example, academic, professional, business, lay or community. In particular, we encourage responses from teams that include or are led by humanities researchers.

Eligibility requirements 

The lead applicant must be a researcher from the humanities or social sciences and be based at an eligible UK university or research institute. The lead applicant must be of postdoctoral status or above (or have equivalent research experience) and their position must last at least the duration of the grant funded by the Academy.

Projects can involve Co-Applicants and other participants. No individual may be a Co-Applicant on more than two projects under this call (nor may a PI be additionally a Co-Applicant on more than one other project).

For more details about the programme and the eligibility requirements, please see the Scheme notes.

Value and duration

We expect to make up to six awards up to £20,000 each. Awards will start in January 2022 for a duration of six months.

Funding can be used to support research assistance; travel, fieldwork and related expenses; and networking costs.

Projects must begin in January 2022.

The timetable for deliverables will be agreed upon by successful applicants and The British Academy.

Application process 

Applications must be submitted online using the British Academy's Grant Management System (GMS), Flexi-Grant®.

The deadline for submissions and UK institutional approval is on 8 December 2021, 17:00 (UK time).

On 23 November 2021 at 9:30 am (UK time), we will be holding a Zoom Webinar Q&A (register here) to respond to any queries potential applicants may have.

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