13 July 2020 | Tiffany Hionas

Your weekly digest of policy news, funding competitions, and calls for evidence.

What’s been in the news?

Conservation and restoration will deliver economic benefits

In a recent report, more than 100 economists and scientists have highlighted the various ways in which up to 30% of the world’s natural habitats can be restored, in accordance with the UN’s 10-year strategy on biodiversity.

The report considers various scenarios for protecting 30% of the world’s land and oceans, and ultimately indicates that the benefits outweigh the costs by a factor of 5-to-1. The report suggests that biodiversity and healthy natural ecosystems will drive economic growth in the form of reduced healthcare costs. In addition to this, the report offers economic evidence that additional protections could result in an increased economic output of $250bn (£199bn) on an annual basis.

Lead report author Anthony Waldron added; ‘Our report shows that protection in today’s economy brings in more revenue than the alternatives and likely adds revenue to agriculture and forestry, while helping prevent climate change, water crises, biodiversity loss and disease. Increasing nature protection is sound policy for governments juggling multiple interests.’


Boost to nuclear power

The UK government has announced that it will invest £40 million to develop the next generation of nuclear energy technology.

£30 million of this funding will support three Advanced Modular Reactor (AMR) projects in Oxfordshire, Cheshire and Lancashire. AMRs can be used at remote locations, as they are smaller in size and can produce enough low-carbon energy to power a medium-sized city.

Minister for Business and Industry, Nadhim Zahawi, added: ‘Advanced modular reactors are the next step in nuclear energy and have the potential to be a crucial part of tackling carbon emissions and climate change.’

‘Today’s investment will immediately create new jobs in Oxfordshire, Cheshire and Lancashire. But through this vital research, the technology could also create thousands more green collar jobs for decades to come.’

Carbon dioxide

A grand coalition agrees that a sustainable and resilient recovery is critical

Making the case for a sustainable and resilient post pandemic recovery, a so called ‘grand coalition of Ministers, CEOs, investors and key leaders’ participating in the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) first Clean Energy Transitions Summit, agreed that accelerating the move to greener energy is critical.

Delegates from around the world attending the live-streamed event discussed a number of topics, one of these being conclusions from the IEA’s Sustainable Recovery Plan which sets out 30 actionable, ambitious policy recommendations and targeted investments. The IEA asserts that the plan, developed in cooperation with the International Monetary Fund, would boost global economic growth by 1.1% each year, save or create 9 million jobs each year and avoid a rebound in emissions, putting them in structural decline.

Read more here.

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Calls for evidence

Call for Proposals needing rapid access to the Diamond synchrotron. 

Diamond is offering priority rapid access for projects directly related to SARS-CoV-2 virtual proteins. 


Deadline: Not specified 


 Developing a tree strategy for England

Help inform the development of an England tree strategy to support nature recovery, clean growth and the commitment to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Deadline: 4 September 2020 

A plan to decarbonise transport: call for ideas

Submit your ideas on reducing emissions in transport and creating a decarbonisation plan to reach  net-zero by 2050.

Deadline: 31 August 2020

Funding competitions


Covid-19 rapid response rolling call

DHSC and UKRI have launched a rolling call for proposals for research into covid-19. Research should cover an understanding of the disease, prevention and management of the covid-19 outbreak.

Deadline: 1 April 2021 

 Manufacturing made smarter

UK registered businesses can apply for funding towards an industrial research project in digital technologies help UK manufacturing supply chains. This funding is from the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.


Deadline:7 October 2020

 Repurposing of UKRI grants for covid-19 purposes

Apply to repurpose your grant to support research into covid-19.

Deadline: Not specified 

 Future flight

As part of UKRI’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, the second phase of the Future Flight Challenge is launched. Funding is now available for innovations to help change the way we fly.

Deadline: Not specified

 Sustainable plastic solutions

Apply to win funding for early-stage, design projects to reduce plastics’ harm to the environment.

Deadline: 16 September 

 The Sustainable Innovation Fund: SBRI phase 1

Apply for a share of up to £10 million to help UK businesses and the public sector recover from COVID-19 in a sustainable way.

Deadline: 5 August 2020

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