Funding of up to £75,000 to support local climate action in the UK has been announced by the Place-Based Climate Action Network (PCAN).

Proposals are invited for the first round of the PCAN Fund, backed by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), which will support up to six projects worth £5,000 – £35,000 each, out of a total of £75,000.

The aim of the fund is to stimulate local action on climate change by providing small grants to researchers and research users. The fund, which has a total budget of £400,000 over five years, is an integral part of PCAN, which was announced in January 2019 by Claire Perry, Minister of State for Energy and Clean Growth.

The network supports partnership working on climate action between universities, local authorities, businesses and other organisations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase resilience to climate change impacts.

PCAN will see the approach pioneered by Leeds Climate Commission rolled out in Belfast and Edinburgh and, it is hoped, other UK cities. The project aims to spread PCAN activities as widely as possible using the fund, which will award 20-30 grants in total with an average grant size of £20,000. The maximum grant size is £35,000.

The fund is open to the UK research and climate change community and applications are invited from both practitioners (policy makers, businesses, NGOs) and academics. Submissions from early career researchers and applications that are co-produced by researchers and research users are especially welcomed, as are proposals from PCAN partner cities Belfast, Edinburgh and Leeds.

Proposals may focus on delivering local climate action through, for example, engagement, training, or the co-production of knowledge, or academic research that builds capacity to deliver action on climate change in areas such as finance and local governance. Different kinds of expenditure can be supported, depending on the design of the application.

The fund opens today (5 June) and short expressions of interest should be submitted by 1 July. Short-listed applicants will be invited to submit a fuller Stage 2 proposal by the end of September and successful applicants will be informed in November so that projects can start in early 2020. Full details are available on the PCAN website.

PCAN is led by Professor Sam Fankhauser of the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).  The research team brings together academics from LSE with others from the University of Leeds (Professor Andy Gouldson), Queen’s University Belfast (Professor John Barry) and University of Edinburgh (Dr Dan Van der Horst), as well as finance lead Professor Nick Robins and business platform leader, Dr Alice Owen.

Lord Deben, Chair of the Committee on Climate Change, championed the role of Leeds Climate Commission at its launch in 2017 and has subsequently agreed to take on the role of Chair of the PCAN advisory group. He is joined by Polly Billington of UK100 as Vice Chair.

The group, which met for the first time today, brings together a wide range of expertise, from finance (Tatiana Bosteels, Hermes Investment Management; Rishi Madlani, Royal Bank of Scotland; Susan Rice, Scottish Fiscal Commission; Bruce Davis, Abundance), academia (Carly McLachlan, Centre for Climate Change and Social Transformations and University of Manchester; Mike Davies, University College London; Jan Webb, University of Edinburgh), local government and partnerships (Paula McLeay, Edinburgh City Council; Ian Townsend, Bristol Green Capital Partnership) along with representatives from Aldersgate Group (Nick Molho), B9 Energy (David Surplus), Climate-KIC (Andy Kerr), Friends of the Earth (Simon Bowens), Thirty Percy Foundation (Jen Hooke) and an independent expert in climate change governance (Sharon Turner).

Professor Sam Fankhauser, director of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment and ESRC Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy at the London School of Economics and Political Science, said: “It is important that we do all we can to facilitate links between communities in the fight against climate catastrophe.

“The funding will support projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help address some of the devastating effects of climate change, including air pollution and flooding.  We are looking forward to reviewing the varied proposals.”


For more information about this media release please contact Kieran Lowe on +44 (0) 20 7107 5442 or or Kate Lock on +44 (0) 113 343 9914





  1. The Place-based Climate Action Network (PCAN) is a £3.5m research network funded by the ESRC that has been set up to enable cities, towns and communities to build local action on climate change ( The five-year research project, which launched on 30 January 2019, brings together the research community and decision-makers in the public, private and third sectors. PCAN consists of five innovative platforms to facilitate two-way, multi-level engagement: three city-based ‘climate commissions’ in Leeds (commenced September 2017), Belfast and Edinburgh (commencing end of 2019), and two theme-based platforms on business and finance. The PCAN Fund is an integral part of the project: builds on the policy connections, networking capacity and research strengths of its host institutions: the ESRC Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy hosted by the London School of Economics and Political Science and the University of Leeds;, the Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation; the Centre for Sustainability and Environmental Governance at Queen’s University Belfast, and the University of Leeds.
  2. The ESRC Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy ( is hosted by the University of Leeds and the London School of Economics and Political Science. It is funded by the UK Economic and Social Research Council ( The Centre’s mission is to advance public and private action on climate change through rigorous, innovative research.
  3. The Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment ( was launched at the London School of Economics and Political Science in October 2008. It is funded by The Grantham Foundation for the Protection of the Environment (
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