The Whole Systems Networking Fund (WSNF) is a unique research fund that seeks to improve Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) in energy research. The fund ran once before in UKERC Phase 3 and, due to its success, has returned for Phase 4.

We hope the WSNF will broaden both the people and institutions UKERC engages with, connect new partners and amplify fresh voices in the conversation around our future energy system. Therefore, its aims are as follows:

  1. Improve EDI across the energy research space
  2. Widen participation to share experience across disciplines and the four UK nations
  3. Undertake collaborative research with non-academic partners to investigate policy-relevant challenges that could be solved through a whole systems approach
  4. Offer career enhancement opportunities for Early Career Researchers (ECRs)

Successful Projects

The call for proposals ran from Jan-April 2022. We had £400,000 of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) funding to allocate to up to 10 projects via grants that ranged in value from £10,000-£60,000.

The call theme was ‘advancing Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) in energy research’ which could be adhered to in several ways, for example through research topics, project partners, stakeholders involved, beneficiaries or activities conducted. As per Aim 4, we have allowed ECRs to lead projects as this is hugely impactful for their careers.

We are delighted to announce seven successful projects and welcome them to the consortium. You can read more about them below.


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 as they were 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 were responsible for the final selection of successful projects.

UKERC’s Engagement Officer James is responsible for administration of the fund, with oversight from our Operations Manager Jessica.

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