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Climate Engagement Lab – 2023 open call for innovation partnership

A geothermally-powered plant for the cultivation of carbon-sequestering micro-algae. Hellisheidi, Iceland

This application process closed on 20 February 2023.

Are you part of a UK campaigning, advocacy or community focused organisation that would benefit from free advice and support? Applications are now open for our next innovation partnership as part of the Climate Engagement Lab.

This partnership is looking to support an existing project that is engaging people who are concerned about politics and climate change, but aren’t generally part of the climate conversation and are deeply and instinctively distrustful that ‘elites’ will do much to help. 

Ideally, it’s a project that’s focused on an area in which climate change policy meets the so-called ‘culture wars’ – for example local perceptions of low-carbon transport or energy. 

Deadline for application: End of Monday 20 February 2023

Shortlisting interviews to take place: Monday 27 February or Thursday 2 March. All shortlisted candidates will be informed by 1 March 2023

Partnerships to run: mid-March – mid-June 2023 (approximately)

To apply to partner with us, please review the below information.

What are innovation partnerships? 

Our Climate Engagement Lab, in association with the Centre for Climate Change and Social Transformations (CAST), is looking for a new innovation partner organisation to reach and motivate specific audiences in the UK.  

The Climate Engagement Lab provides free, time-limited support (in this case for three months) to UK-based civil society or community organisations. We want to support groups that are trying to do something new or innovative for the sector as a whole, showing how to meaningfully engage new sections of the UK public on climate change. Take a look at case studies from past partnerships.


About this partnership

This partnership will focus only on engaging people in the UK that are broadly: 

  • more likely to identify as working-class
  • may be left-leaning economically, but right-leaning on social policy
  • patriotic
  • concerned about climate change but aren’t generally part of the climate conversation
  • worried about politics and the direction of the world and want to have a say.

What most defines the audience we’re interested in for this partnership is a lack of trust in elites, such as governments or big businesses, to act fairly and in their interest.  

Ideally but not essentially, we’re looking for projects that are positively engaging these audiences around transport / mobility; cleaner energy or energy saving; or lower-carbon diets.  These are the areas where the most trust needs to be built between some more sceptical audiences and campaigning groups, at the frontier of so-called ‘culture wars’. 

Our chosen partner will be in a good position to deliver trusted and authentic engagement with these audiences, and already working on or shaping a specific project that we can help with. Up to £3,000 will be available for our partner to cover any expenses arising from the partnership, including staff time.

Climate Outreach and CAST researchers will provide free support to the chosen partner’s communications and engagement, depending on what the project needs – for example advice on framing and messenger strategies; insight into how to galvanise these audiences with non-political calls to action; or wider evidence from social and behavioural science. See here for more detail on the kind of help we can provide.



We’ll shortlist partner projects based on their broad match against the following: 

  • Specific focus on climate engagement with people that broadly match the above characteristics.  
  • Ideally but not essentially, a project that’s positively engaging people around transport and mobility; cleaner energy or energy saving; or lower-carbon diets.
  • UK-based, civil society / community led / not-for-profit climate-focused projects. What matters here is that the project is seeking to positively engage people on climate change as its primary objective (rather than, say, to increase sales of your product).
  • Projects already designed or underway, with funding secured for the partner’s activity – that is, Climate Outreach / CAST would help you with work you are already doing. 
  • A defined engagement challenge or opportunity within your project that you think Climate Outreach / CAST can help with.
  • Groups ready to try something new and learn from it, and to take part in follow-up interviews with us, including as part of CAST research. 
  • Groups that will embrace our guiding principles of diversity and movement generosity.

We particularly encourage applications from smaller organisations who might otherwise struggle to access the kind of support we give, but the innovation partnerships are open to all.


What we ask in return

We run innovation partnerships so that we can apply our research in practice within exciting, practical and game-changing projects in a mutual exchange of knowledge and experience.  

All we ask in return is: 

  • Enough time available in your team to work quite intensively with us for the agreed three months of our partnership – March to June 2023. The exact scope of this will be agreed, but this is likely to include the aspects below. Up to £3,000 is available for the selected partner to cover costs arising from this work.

→  Regular email communication with a key contact to coordinate and schedule activities.

→  Several calls / workshops delivered by Climate Outreach / CAST with your team.

→  Contribution to research / implementation of advice.

  • Willingness to conduct monitoring and evaluation with your audience to assess impact of the project.
  • Willingness to participate in evaluation with the Lab, and contribute to CAST research on moments of change and civil society-led climate action. 
  • A culture of frequent, open, honest communication and feedback. 
  • Contribution and attribution to a public case study and briefing based on our work together. 

We are grateful to the CAST Impact Fund for its support for this innovation partnership.

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