Net Zero Innovation Programme open until 25/09/20

The Net Zero Innovation Programme will bring together partnerships of researchers and climate change officers from councils across England for an initial period of twelve months. The cohort will be supported and facilitated by University College London and the Local Government Association to work collaboratively as a group and in smaller teams to define and co-create challenges and develop projects that could begin to address these. Possible challenges which councils and universities may look to address include decarbonising transport, retrofitting housing, or improving air quality. The cohort will then be given time and funding to work on their problems, at times feeding back in to the larger network with progress and for wider support. While we do not anticipate all of the challenges set at the outset of the programme will be solved, by the end of the first twelve months we expect that strong collaborations across the cohort and wider network will have been formed and sustained, and some practical progress will have been made. Over a period of twelve months the Net Zero Innovation Programme will provide up to ten pairings of councils and universities with up to £18,000 in funding support to develop and deliver innovative projects to tackle net zero challenges in their local area. Projects should draw on practical challenges being faced by the local authority and/or addressed by research as well as the skills and experience of both parties to develop mechanisms and solutions. Projects could seek to tackle challenges such as green infrastructure, reducing car use, retrofitting buildings, understanding local carbon footprint, engaging local communities in climate challenges, increasing recycling or reskilling local residents. Projects should be achievable and able to deliver some outcomes within a period of six months from January to June 2021. To apply for the Net Zero Innovation Programme, your council and university must:

  • Want to tackle a climate change challenge at the local level
  • Work collaboratively with a university or council partner
  • Ensure that your project is endorsed by your council Chief Executive or a senior sponsor (e.g. Director level) and your university Head of Department or Faculty
  • Have the capacity to undertake the progamme which will include a commitment to a series of online workshops and project delivery, as well as participation in the wider network
  • Be willing to share your learning and experience from the programme with other councils and universities across the country
  • You must be an English council or a UK University to apply to the programme

Grant funding will be given directly to the council. Funding will be given up to £18,000 per council. Ten pairings will be funded.

Key dates:

Initial application deadline: 25 September at 17:00

Partnership development workshop webinars will be held on 19 October, 23 October and 2 November. These are designed to build the foundations of partnership working techniques.

Co-production Sandpits will be held on 9 November, 16 November, 23 November to co-produce and refine project proposals.

Final project proposal 11 December.  Each partnership will produce a formal proposal, detailing their project plan, outputs, outcomes, timescales and what financial support they will require. The LGA will then grant fund the councils who are taking part to deliver their co-produced project with their university partner. The LGA will grant fund the councils on the programme directly with up to £18,000 towards the cost of the project.

Further information

Full information is available on the website or you can email or

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