Funding announced for innovative environmental social sciences projects

A million pounds worth of funding for environmental social science work is now available through an ESRC (Economic and Social Research Council) funded project, ACCESS (Advancing Capacity for Climate and Environment Social Science). The aim of the ACCESS Flex fund is to develop new ways of thinking, methods or practices that enhance the role of social sciences in interdisciplinary research to address climate and environmental problems.

There are two funding calls, round one has a total value of £250,000. This will fund 8-10 small grant awards (up to £30,000). Round one opens on Wednesday 8 March and closes on Friday 30 June 2023. Larger-scale projects will be able to apply in Round two in 2024.

Professor Patrick Devine-Wright, ACCESS Director, University of Exeter explains that the funding is not necessarily about supporting new research: “The ACCESS Flex Fund is an exciting opportunity to try out new ideas and approaches to advance environmental social science. There is so much we still need to learn about how to advance interdisciplinarity and knowledge co-production with tangible impact. And all the while we face a range of environmental crises that make action on these issues more urgent than ever before.”

Those bidding for funding will need to show they have incorporated ACCESS’s Guiding principles. Professor Kate Burningham, ACCESS EDI (Equality, Diversity and Inclusion) Lead, University of Surrey co-wrote the principles: “Successfully tackling climate and environmental challenges – such as biodiversity loss, sustainable use of resources, and decarbonisation – will only be achieved if we actively include diverse voices in both the design and delivery of solutions and if we reduce the environmental impacts of our own research practices.”

A Flex Fund webinar is planned for Thursday 23 March from 10am to 10.30 am. There will be presentations about the Flex Fund led by Patrick and time for questions afterwards. Further information about the webinar, the fund, and details on how to apply can be found at ACCESS | Flex fund (