Rewilding Innovation Fund – Apply by 14/10/22

From the Rewilding Britain website:

The Fund’s Mission

The idea behind the Rewilding Innovation Fund is to help remove barriers to rewilding projects within Britain, whether they’re at the early planning stages or want to move a project one step wilder. We’re particularly keen to encourage those who are taking an innovative approach to land and marine rewilding, which will help develop learning and evidence for others within the Rewilding Network. Funds are awarded to projects with potential for the highest impact for people and nature.

Funding Open For Applications

Funding is now open for applications, and closes on 14 October 2022. We anticipate funding up to 10 projects during this round, with up to £15,000 to be considered for each individual project.
To apply for funding – of up £15,000 – projects must be: There will be two regular rounds per year, with the next round of funding due in Spring 2023, as well as an annual Rewilding Challenge Fund to provide a larger amount of funding to one successful project. Dig deeper into our applications criteria below.

What We’ve Funded So Far

In the pilot round of the Rewilding Innovation Fund (August 2021) we awarded a total of £55,000 to six projects. Successful applications included a carbon capture project, a seagrass restoration study, a tree seeding experiment, the development of a rewilding strategy, a feasibility study and a community consultation. You can explore three of these in detail below.
Lidar survey
Modelling carbon capture, UK-wide Scotland’s Bunloit Estate, Norfolk’s Wendling Beck Environment Project and Sussex’s Knepp Estate received funding to measure the potential carbon captured by scrub and wood pasture on their land. They’re working with specialists Treeconomy to model it using remote sensing techniques.
Sea grass
Seagrass restoration, northeast England A feasibility study is being financed to identify potential areas for seagrass restoration – an essential marine habitat which absorbs carbon. Climate Action North is spearheading the initiative which is bringing together landowners and managers in the northeast of England.
Tree seeding, Lake District Lowther Estate is undertaking a tree seeding experiment with their funding, to assess whether this could be a more effective alternative to tree planting on their land. They are measuring whether seeding produces more natural woodland of local provenance which can naturally expand in the future.
Talla hartfell c southern uplands partnership
Talla Hartfell Wildland, Scotland Covering 47,215ha in the central Southern Uplands, the Talla Hartfell Wildland project aims to increase rewilding and nature restoration in the area through working with local communities. Funding is now contributing towards the development of a circular walk, an eco-museum, community talks and ongoing advisory and engagement visits.

Rewilding Innovation Fund Criteria

Who can apply

You are eligible to apply for the Rewilding Innovation Fund if you meet the following criteria:

  • You’re based in Britain
  • You’re a member of the Rewilding Network. This includes community, private and public landowners and managers of rewilding areas on the land and sea. If you aren’t a Rewilding Network member but would like to be considered, please join before applying.
  • You’re rewilding at scale* – that is more than 40 hectares of land (or any size of marine project). This can be an individual landholding or a cluster of landholdings. If you’re rewilding at a smaller scale than this, we strongly encourage you to connect with others to form a local group, network or cluster to work up a project for application. In your application (just one between you) we’ll need to see evidence your shared vision and how you plan to work together. Local groups and networks can also apply to the fund for any innovative projects that will help to upscale rewilding.
  • You show an understanding of and commitment to working to our rewilding principles – whether you are at the beginning of your rewilding journey or have been carrying out this work for some time.
  • You can demonstrate why you need funding/intervention now, and why you cannot access this funding from other sources.
  • You haven’t previously been awarded money from the Rewilding Innovation Fund (previously known as the Incubator Fund). We are happy to accept funding applications from those who have applied before and been unsuccessful. Please ensure that you adapt and build on your application for our consideration this time around.

*This size has been set to tie in with the principle of rewilding being the restoration of ecosystems with enough space to allow nature to drive the changes and shape the living systems on which we all depend. Restricting applications to greater than 40 hectares will provide enough space for nature to start to lead the way.

What we can fund

  • The fund aims to support works that could potentially unlock further funding or move your project up the rewilding scale, whether you are new to rewilding or have been going for some time. Examples of potential applications include: business plans and strategies, community engagement activities and co-design, feasibility studies, technology and innovation.

  • Funds can also be used to pay for direct interventions or expertise that your project requires.

  • Funding cannot be provided for land purchase or capital costs such as fencing

  • Funding for up to £15,000* will be considered. We expect the majority of grants to be less than £10,000.

  • The Rewilding Innovation Fund steering group will use the following assessment criteria to award the money, including: funding: are there alternative options available?; alignment with our rewilding principles; degree of innovation and learning; financial strategy; consideration of the business concept and long-term viability and sustainability; understanding of monitoring and evidence-building.

*The maximum level of funding has been set at £15,000 because the fund aims to support elements in a project that can remove barriers and unlock further funding. If your project requires higher investment than this to get off the ground, consider whether there are smaller elements of your grand vision, such as business plans or feasibility studies, which you can use the Rewilding Innovation Fund for, so helping you at least get started. Could initial funding from us help lever further funds from elsewhere in the future?

Terms and conditions of the funding

  • The funding must be spent within 15 months. Please detail in your application how you plan to work to this timescale.

  • All supported projects must measure and report on their progress every quarter.

  • All successful applicants must agree to share stories and lessons learnt for the wider Rewilding Network and for the public.

How to apply
  1. Ensure that you are a Rewilding Network member. If you aren’t, please apply to become a Rewilding Network member before you make your funding application.
  2. Complete the application form for the Rewilding Innovation Fund.

Shortlisted projects will be invited to pitch their project to the steering group in a 10-minute online presentation. We aim to award the funds by the end of November.

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For more information, and to make an application, click here.

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