Whole Systems Networking Fund – call open

27 Jan 2022

Today we are opening our call for proposals for our Whole Systems Networking Fund.

We have £400,000 to allocate to up to 10 projects via grants that range in value from £10,000-£60,000. The call theme is ‘advancing Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) in energy research’, and we are looking for projects that meet this objective, this could be through the research topic, partners and stakeholders involved, beneficiaries, or activities delivered.

We want to broaden the people and organisations we engage with, connect partners that have not worked together and amplify fresh voices in the conversation around our future energy system. We are interested in funding projects with creative, non-traditional outputs that incorporate well-developed engagement and networking activities.

The application deadline is the 27 April 2022. Click here to find out more and access detailed guidance on how to apply.

Advancing EDI in energy

The first round of the Whole Systems Networking Fund (WSNF) ran in 2019 with the aim of increasing EDI in energy research, focusing specifically on improving gender balance as women are significantly underrepresented in grant applications for energy projects. It also created opportunities for Early Career Researchers (ECRs). Find out more here.

Although gender imbalance persists, there are also many other groups that fall outside the scope of traditional energy research. Therefore, this round of the WSNF will address diversity more broadly by creating opportunities for the inclusion of all characteristics listed in the Equality Act 2010, as well as ‘diversity of circumstance’ (i.e. the inclusion of different career stages, UK nations, geographic locations, academic disciplines and types of institution).

Here, Dr Inna Vorushylo from Ulster University speaks about her WSNF project ‘Zero-in on NI Heat’:

“It was one of the best enablers in my career. It allowed me to connect with local and national stakeholders and made me recognisable in my research field. I am now often invited to present at events and conferences, which is partially thanks to my project. The fund supported ECRs, meaning I was able to become a Principal Investigator for my first research project, which is quite difficult for people on fixed-term contracts. In the end, I was promoted by my university, and I believe the WSNF project greatly helped with this.”