Call for Proposals

The call for proposals under our Whole Systems Networking Fund (WSNF) is now closed.

We have £400,000 of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) funding 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’ which can be adhered to in several ways, for example through research topics, project partners, stakeholders involved, beneficiaries or activities conducted.

We are interested in funding projects with creative, non-traditional outputs that include well-developed engagement and networking activities.

Applications will be assessed via a two-stage process in May and June 2022. Applicants will be notified whether their proposals have progressed onto the second stage in the week commencing 23 May. Final funding decisions will be communicated on 1 July.

If you have any questions relating to the WSNF, please contact Amber Sawyer.

Aims of the fund

We want to broaden both the people and institutions we engage with, connect new partners and amplify fresh voices in the conversation around our future energy system. Therefore, the aims of the WSNF in Phase 4 are to:

  • Improve EDI across the energy research space
  • Widen participation to share experience across disciplines and the four UK nations
  • Undertake collaborative research with non-academic partners to investigate policy-relevant challenges that could be solved through a whole systems approach
  • Offer career enhancement opportunities for ECRs


The WSNF first ran in 2019. Below are statements from successful awardees, including links to their projects. You can also read the full report that outlines all projects here.

Inna Vorushylo, Ulster University, Zero-in on NI Heat:

“It was one of the best enablers in my career. It allowed me to connect with stakeholders and made me recognisable in my research field – I am now often invited to present at events and conferences… I was able to become a Principal Investigator for my first research project… In the end, I was promoted by my university, and I believe the WSNF project greatly helped with this.”

Jess Britton, University of Edinburgh, Power Shift:

“As an ECR, to have led a project as PI means that my CV is now stronger. The fund allowed me to expand my research focus, develop new networks and publish a high-profile research summary document. It was particularly helpful that the funding could cover staff time, enabling me to lead a team of two part-time staff and undertake novel research.”

Alison Walker, University of Bath, The Solar Commission:

“The grant to fund the Solar Commission produced a novel and important policy document praised by firms in solar. Many women were involved in its production and this will hopefully encourage more women to participate in solar. These outcomes have been important for my career and will hopefully help others.”

If you need more encouragement to apply, check out our recent podcast episode where two previous awardees discuss their projects, the impact these had on their careers and the advice they have for potential applicants.


Throughout 2021, we conducted a range of activities to consult the wider community on how best to use the fund. We would like to thank everyone who took part for their views, which have been key to shaping the WSNF process.

Direction for the fund has been provided by an independent Steering Group composed of 16 members that represent a range of disciplines, career paths and career stages within whole systems energy research. The Steering Group advises on priorities for the fund and are responsible for the final selection of successful projects.

If you have any questions about the fund please contact Amber Sawyer.