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Commonwealth Futures Climate Research Cohort - Call for Theme Leads

Apply to become a Theme Lead for emerging research leaders in climate and environment.

Call for Theme Leads (UK Higher Education Institutions)  

In 2023, the ACU and the British Council will deliver another Commonwealth Futures Climate Research Cohort. This unique programme is designed to enhance the contribution of science to national, regional, and international decision-making in climate change mitigation and adaptation.

Early career researchers (ECRs) will be provided with training and development opportunities for knowledge exchange and research for impact. 

The new programme will target 10 priority countries and support 20 ECRs with skills development in areas such as:

  • research leadership
  • knowledge exchange
  • research for impact
  • grantpersonship
  • media training

The programme will facilitate international, interdisciplinary, and intersectoral partnerships to enhance the potential impact of research. 

We are currently seeking experienced academic research staff from up to 5 UK-based higher education institutions (HEIs) to lead a specific research strand within the broader scope of climate change mitigation and adaption and help build coherence, direction, and academic rigour into the programme.

Applications are welcome from any subject theme and interdisciplinary approaches are encouraged.

Role Timeline

  • February 2023 - participation in selection of early career researchers.
  • July - November 2023 - contributing to a knowledge exchange project to scope potential research projects with policy and practice stakeholders.
  • January 2024 - participation in transdisciplinary research sandpits designed to facilitate the co-creation of research projects with end users.
  • January - March 2024 - support the development of research proposals for the internal programme call in a Co-I role.
  • April - November 2024 - taking on a funded Co-I role if the research proposal is successful.

Evaluation Criteria

  • Demonstrated multidisciplinary expertise in a climate adaptation and/or mitigation-related thematic area.
  • Established multi-sectoral partnerships/networks relevant to the thematic area outlined in the criteria above.
  • Demonstrated track record in internationalisation and supporting the development of researchers and research globally.
  • A clear outline of how the institute will contribute to program activities.

Key Information


  • July-November 2023

Staff time for a knowledge exchange project to engage policy and practice stakeholders in research scoping (up to £5,000 inclusive of taxes).

  • April-November 2024

Funding for the Co-I role if the research project is selected. Funding for the number of days is dependent on research design. 

The following in-kind contributions are anticipated: 

  • February 2023 - participation in the selection of ECRs, (3 days scoring applications, 0.5 days selection panel meeting) 
  • January 2024 - participation in transdisciplinary research sandpits (3 days)
  • January - March 2024 - Co-I role supporting the development of research proposals for the programme call (2 days)

Staff must be available to complete the work within the required timeframe.


UK HEIs in receipt of a grant from a HEI funding body are invited to apply:

How to Apply

Complete the online application form, which requests:

  • Institution and/or department/centre
  • Lead applicant and supporting staff (co-applicants), including CVs
  • Proposed research theme and sub-themes
  • 4 statements detailing the skills and experience required for the position
  • A budget detailing the number of days allocated to each activity, the day rate in Pound Sterling (GBP) of the staff member delivering the work, and the number of days provided as in-kind contribution
  • A letter of support from the Head of Department/Institute (or equivalent authority)

You will need an ACU account to complete your application. If you don't already have an account, you will need to set one up by clicking 'Get Started', in the top right-hand corner of the application login page.

​​If you have any questions, please contact Oluwaseyi Akinnirun.

Application Deadline: 23:59 UTC, Thursday 1 December 2022


Start your application

The Commonwealth Futures Climate Research Cohort is a partnership project designed and delivered by the ACU and funded by the British Council.

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