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SPF Greenhouse Gas Removal Demonstrators

Overview. iStock

This call is part of the interdisciplinary £31.5 million Strategic Priority Fund (SPF) Wave 2 Greenhouse Gas Removal Programme. The Programme is a UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) initiative involving the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), and Innovate UK.

The programme will support sustainable routes for large-scale removal of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere, allowing the UK to take a major step towards achieving net-zero emissions, and placing the UK in a leading position to benefit from the £400 billion future global market in greenhouse gas removal.

The Strategic Priority Fund call will support up to five individual GGR Demonstrators as well as a central Directorate Hub. Information on the central Directorate Hub can be found here, Announcement of Opportunity: Greenhouse Gas Removal Demonstrators Directorate Hub. Applicants are advised to read both calls in order to understand the full scope of the programme. The Directorate Hub will provide an overarching coordination role across the suite of inter-disciplinary programme activities, with specific focus on economic, social, cultural, risk perception and communication, ethical, legal and governance issues. The GGR Directorate Hub will be commissioned by NERC and the GGR Demonstrators will be commissioned by BBSRC on behalf of UKRI partners AHRC, ESRC, EPSRC and Innovate UK.

This call is for applications for GGR Demonstrators that will be responsible for exploring the effectiveness, cost and the limitations of large-scale methods of GGR. Potential interdisciplinary demonstrators could include, but are not limited to:

  • Direct air capture and carbon storage (DACCS) – Research is required to integrate significant UK expertise, to develop and to test air capture materials and components, and to engineer a commercially viable solution for DACCS

  • Enhanced terrestrial weathering – Research is required which should include field assessment of the co-benefits to soil/crop mineralisation kinetics and the fate of carbon and liberated elements in the environment (i.e. soil, surface water and ocean)

  • Bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) – Research should include minimising land use conflicts, improved accounting practices for sustainability and carbon, and biobased carbon capture technologies

  • Biochar – Research should include studies on the efficiency of the pyrolysis process, the fate of its products and the biologically positive and potentially negative impacts of its addition to UK soils

  • Large scale-afforestation – Research should include maximising carbon drawdown and storage per area of new forest, potentially combining afforestation with biochar and enhanced terrestrial weathering.

This programme brings together five Research Councils and Innovate UK to tackle an immediate problem in a challenging interdisciplinary space. It builds on investments made by the Research Councils, either individually or in partnership, but in an area where the urgent challenge of coordination across a wide range of disciplines has not yet been possible at the scale needed.

Up to £22.5 million is available to fund up to 5 demonstrators covering greenhouse gas removal technologies as outlined in the Royal Society report Royal Society report - Greenhouse gas removal. For this call, standard BBSRC eligibility rules apply, however it should be noted that PIs and CO-Is from any discipline supported by UKRI are welcomed and encouraged to apply.

Demonstrators will have a start date of no later than 14 February 2021 and will have the duration of 4.5 years (54 months) to cover the full duration of the programme.

Summary Timeline

Activity Date
Community Meeting 29 April 2019
Launch date for Call for Proposals 30 September 2019
Closing date for Expression of Interest 19 November 2019
Assessment of Expression of Interest w/c 27 January 2020
Opening date for full proposals 24 February 2020
Closing date for Full proposals (invitation only) May 2020
Assessment of Full proposals September 2020
Research grants awarded November 2020
Projects start 14 February 2021
Mid-term evaluation August 2023

Application downloads

GGR Demonstrators call 2019-2020 FAQ (PDF 144KB)

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