Our carbon emissions come from every area of our activity across the University. The Climate Action team is therefore working with staff and students to understand what a net zero carbon campus looks like and develop roadmaps to plan out how we transition towards this.
We also recognise that solutions to our carbon reduction challenges will come from many different areas of the University, which is why we have a Net Zero Carbon Campus Fund (NZCC Fund) to provides small grants which support students and/or staff to take action and reduce carbon emissions in their own departments or across the campus.
Up to £5,000 will be awarded each year (in academic years 21/22 and 22/23) thanks to the Alumni Fund and all types of projects will be considered, including equipment, research, influencing behaviour, communications campaigns and delivering infrastructure; as long as the project contributes to reducing the carbon emissions of the University. We know that reductions from these projects might be small, and so we are also looking for how you will engage other students/staff in your project and help to engage our community on the climate agenda.
Applying to the Fund is straightforward using the application form at the bottom of the page.
You can find out more about the University's whole institution response to the Climate Emergency across learning and teaching, research and reducing our own emissions as an organisation.
The Net Zero Carbon Campus Fund
The NZCC Fund has two aims:
- Support our staff and students to find solutions to reducing our emissions
- Engage our community on carbon reduction and stimulate discussion about how we can all play a part.
Who can apply: All staff and students
When can I apply: Grants will be assessed monthly on a rolling basis – please submit applications by the last Wednesday of the month.
This will mean that once we have used our total funding pot (£5,000 a year over academic year 2021/22 and 2022/23) we will not be able to make any more grants this year, but we will let you know here if this happens.
What type of projects do you fund?
Individual grants can be for any amount up to £1000, but we are also keen to grant small amounts of money that will make a difference.
We can fund all types of projects including equipment, research, influencing behaviour, and delivering infrastructure as long as the project contributes to reducing the carbon emissions of the University.
We will also support experimental ideas being piloted in a small way, enabling wider learning opportunities.
We will assess your application against the following criteria (it doesn’t need to meet all of these but if you can that will help):
- Actual carbon reduction – how will your project reduce carbon emissions, and can you quantify this, even if this is based on assumptions, and estimates?
- What is the return on the Investment – Can you tell us how many tonnes of carbon might be saved per £ invested?
- Research project – we will also support research which aims to understand how we could specifically reduce our emissions at the University and help us to make good decisions. This will need to explain the issue you are trying to gain insight into.
- Does your project demonstrate the connection between research and learning and teaching and the practical carbon challenges we have on campus? – Are you using inter-disciplinary approaches, or using the campus as a Living Lab?
- How will other people know about your project? – We know that sometimes the best way to help other people think about how they could reduce their emissions is to ‘be the change you want to see.’ We therefore think it’s important to share what you are doing with others – friends, students, staff, the local community….
- Have you considered the practicalities of your project? – Does your project have all the internal support needed for it to be a success? Have permissions been sought, is there an implementation plan (where necessary), is the intervention practical, does buy-in need to be developed?
Examples of projects we can fund
- Equipment: lab equipment being replaced, staff member has identified that it can be repaired rather than replaced, but the cost of repair is more than replacement. The repaired product has equivalent functionality, and operational efficiency and would avoid additional embedded carbon from purchasing a new product. It is more expensive than the alternative. NZCC fund subsidises the cost difference between the equipment. (£150)
- Behaviour Intervention: small investment in material costs to support initiatives to encourage lab users to switch off equipment or lower fume hoods when not in use and therefore make small energy-saving changes to their daily working practice. (£100 for stickers, and timers to highlight how long constantly-running equipment has been left on)
- Research: Support a project to trial marketing sustainable food options on campus. Student wants to create new communications material to try and engage staff and customers at the point of purchase, trialling different approaches to identify local barriers and influence food outlet approaches. (£500 for materials and staff time to support the research)
- Research: Investment in staff/student time to provide detailed analysis to support better decision-making re carbon reduction; supporting research into whether modifying lab opening hours within a Dept. would have a meaningful impact on reducing carbon emissions. (£1000 for student/staff time)
What we don’t fund
Whilst we are keenly aware that the World is also facing other environmental, biodiversity and social crises alongside the Climate Emergency, we can only fund projects which are directly focussed on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
If there are other routes to fund your project we would encourage you to try these first.
Did you know that the University has a revolving green fund (externally-funded by SALIX) to support energy/carbon saving projects with a payback of less than 10 years. If you think this might support your project, please contact Estates for more information.
How do I apply, and what happens next?
1. Identify your project
- The Climate Action team are happy to discuss your ideas and help you to develop them - contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
2. Complete and submit the NZCC Fund application form.
3. Application Evaluated
- The Climate Action Team evaluate your application against the NZCC criteria
- If it meets our criteria, we'll recommend it is approved by the NZCC Board which meets monthly
4. Implement your project
- We release the funds to you, and you carry out your project.
- We know that sometimes things change, so talk to us if you can't deliver your project as you originally planned.
5. Tell us about it
- We want to learn from your project about how we can transition to a low carbon campus
- We ask all successful grant applicants to write a short paragraph about their project, how it contributed to reducing emissions (quantifying this if you can), and provide us with a photo we can use.
6. Climate Action Report
- We will include a short summary of all the grants made from the NZCC Fund in our annual Climate Action report