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AFN Network+ Call for Scoping Study Grant Proposals

4th May 2023

The AFN Network+ invites you to apply for funding to carry out work which supports their mission of reaching net zero through the agri-food sector. The funded projects will involve at least one non-academic food system stakeholder in a meaningful way, and be interdisciplinary in nature. 

  • Up to £350,000 will be awarded in total.
  • 15 projects will be funded for up to £10,000 for a maximum 12 month period. A further 4 projects will be funded for up to £50,000 for a maximum 24 month period. 
  • Awards will be granted at 80% full economic cost (FEC) and UKRI rules regarding eligible costs apply.
  • Awards will begin from 1 October 2023 or as soon as possible thereafter depending on administrative constraints, and must be spent by 30 September 2024 for projects under £10,000, and by 30 September 2025 for projects under £50,000.
  • Award winners will be notified in September 2023.
  • Research teams must be interdisciplinary. 
  • Eligible proposals must include at least one food system stakeholder, from outside of the Higher Education Institution (HEI) sector. For this purpose, food system stakeholders are broadly defined to include e.g. farmers, growers, food manufacturers, dietitians, or policy-makers. Grants will be awarded to the lead partner who will then manage fund transfers between partners e.g. funding may be subcontracted to food system stakeholders.

Proposals should address one of the following research themes:

  • Enabling behaviour change for net zero through agri-food.
  • Reaching net zero through circular food systems.
  • Measuring progress towards net zero through agri-food.
  • A just transition for net zero through agri-food.
  • Or be otherwise able to demonstrate that they address the AFN Network+ mission of reaching net zero through agri-food.
  • Two awards (under £10,000) will be made at the Crucible event.
  • Two awards will be reserved for teams led by early career researchers (ECR) (this could be either two small awards, two large awards or one of each, depending on merit).


2 May 2023.
Scoping Study Grant Call details announced; applications to attend the Crucible opens.

12 May 2023.
Online Scoping Study Grant funding application form opens.

15 May 2023, 2-3pm.
Scoping Study Grant application online information session. Register for the session.

21 May 2023, 11:59pm.
Applications to attend the Crucible close.

26 May 2023.
Successful applicants are invited to the Crucible.

13 June 2023.
Online ‘making connections’ event enabling potential funding applicants to meet potential collaborators. Register for the session.

21-22 June 2023.
Crucible event.

6 July 2023, 5pm.
Online Scoping Study Grant funding application form closes.

September 2023.
Successful Scoping Study Grant applicants notified. Contracts issued.

1 October 2023.
Projects begin.

To help applicants (including food system stakeholders) meet new collaborators, a Crucible event on 21-22 June is being organised and an associated online matchmaking event on 13 June – for more details see the Crucible information.

Assessment criteria

Applications will be reviewed based on the following criteria:

1. Potential of the research to help the UK meet its net zero targets through agri-food.

2. Appropriateness of the methodology.

3. Diversity including:

  • Quality of the food system stakeholder partner integration into the project.
  • Promotion of equality, diversity and inclusion with respect to protected characteristics.
  • Integration across disciplines.

4. Clear pathway to further development of the project (e.g. future external funding, industry involvement), and impact pathway.

5. Achievability of management plan.

6. Value for money.

Early career researcher.

An early career research (ECR) is someone who is either:

  • Within eight years of their PhD award (this is from the time of the PhD ‘viva’ oral test), or equivalent professional training.
  • Within six years of their first academic appointment (the first full or part-time paid employment contract that lists research or teaching as the primary function).

These periods exclude any career break, for example due to:

  • Family care.
  • Health reasons.

And are pro-rata for any periods of part-time work.


For any questions about this call, please get in contact here : contact us

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