Applications to the Future of UK Treescapes Fellowship scheme closed on 29 July 2022. You can read the full call text here.
The Future of UK Treescapes fellowships were launched by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), as part of the Future of UK Treescapes Programme. A £15.6 million programme designed to improve environmental, socio-economic and cultural understandings of the functions and services provided by UK treescapes.
The new cohort of nine fellows will conduct ground-breaking new projects working within the UK and Europe, which will be translated and delivered to stakeholders. The Fellowships are supported with a £340,000 investment from the Natural Environment Research Council, part of UKRI and Defra.
Leon Baruah, Viridian Logic (£31.5k)
This project seeks to understand how the expansion of floodplain treescapes can reduce the impact of river flooding using a typical catchment in the south of the UK.
Dr Andrew Hacket-Pain, University of Liverpool (£30k)
This Fellowship will facilitate knowledge exchange with a major interdisciplinary Austrian project focused on securing seed supply for forest expansion that will help the UK overcome this barrier to treescape expansion.
This fellowship will promote the expansion of silvoarable agroforestry in the UK by identifying and providing solutions to barriers to uptake, increasing the evidence-base for farming practices, and co-developing recommendations for policy, research, and educational outputs.
To demonstrate the potential of a data-driven approach to the planning of tree planting for quantifiable ecosystem services, and explore how this approach can best be integrated with a community-centred one.
This project will draw on European practitioners’ deep knowledge and experience in wood pasture ecosystems to increase the national capacity to engage with wood pastures as a sustainable upland management opportunity.
NERC invited proposals for Treescapes Fellowships as part of the Future of UK Treescapes programme, the application stage closed in July 2022.
Treescapes Fellowships Scope
The Future Treescapes Fellowship Scheme offers opportunities for researchers or non-academics to spend between three to twelve months working on a topic related to the Treescapes programme remit (see our About page for details about the programme’s three themes – Form, function and values of UK Treescapes; Opportunities, barriers and pathways for expansion of UK Treescapes; and Resilience of UK Treescapes to global change) in a new disciplinary, institutional or applied setting. The aim of the Scheme is to provide a learning and knowledge exchange experience outside the Fellow’s usual area of expertise and to enhance broader interdisciplinary environmental and forest science capacity. It could include time spent exploring new understandings and conceptual frameworks relevant to the Treescapes programme, developing new methodological skills or data use or exploring the policy and/or practice implications of existing Treescapes projects.
Fellows can be funded to undertake a diverse set of activities, including:
Cross-disciplinary dialogue and knowledge exchange related to themes in the Treescapes programme. This might include environmental and forest scientists learning a new technique, methodology or mode of knowledge production and exchange by spending time in a different disciplinary research group or laboratory. Or it could involve social scientists or arts and humanities researchers working with environmental and forest scientists to develop new approaches to interdisciplinary research in ways that will increase impact on policy and practice.
Translating environmental and forest science knowledge in ways that can be used in ‘real world’ contexts concerned with treescape expansion or resilience. This could involve academic researchers working with non-academic stakeholders or spending time in a stakeholder institution to understand how existing environmental research can be used or extended to better inform policy and practice. It might involve synthesising evidence to address a particular policy or practice need and may include working with potential end users of treescapes research. Alternatively, non-academics could spend time in an academic institution learning new environmental and forest science research skills and gaining experience in promoting two-way exchange between academia and policy or practice.
Visiting an international research or stakeholder institution to gain knowledge and best practice relevant to UK treescapes. For instance, a researcher could spend time in an overseas lab, research group or non-academic setting in order to learn about different approaches to treescape expansion or resilience in other country contexts, with a clear rationale for how that new learning will be applied or shared in the UK.
For applications with a focus on tree health, additional funding is available from Defra to support one or more Fellowships as either a fully Defra-funded fellowship or Defra co-funded fellowships where Defra provide additional support to applicants for whom the 80% FEC funding is a barrier to participation. See further details about these opportunities in the Further Details about Defra Fellowship Funding at the end of this Call text.
Applicants for this Fellowship scheme are encouraged to be innovative and creative in the development of their proposal, with a clear description of how they intend to use the Fellowship to contribute to the Treescape programme and environmental and forest science capacity more broadly, as well as developing the Fellow’s own skills, understanding and knowledge. Fellowships are open to applicants from any disciplines under the remit of NERC, ESRC or AHRC, but proposals must clearly demonstrate their relevance for the funding research council, NERC.
Research activities such as data collection and analysis are permitted but these must be a necessary and integral part of the above learning activities and knowledge exchange being proposed. The primary purpose of proposals, however, must be to develop the Fellow’s own understanding and engagement with the work and challenges of research or stakeholder organisations that the Fellow is working with but also to develop a capacity to take away and build on newly acquired skills, understandings, methods and learnings.
Fellows will be required to deliver a short report at the end of the grant, and will be encouraged to produce policy or practice notes, where appropriate, and engage in wider programme dissemination activities led by the UK treescapes programme ambassadors.
The Future of UK Treescapes is an interdisciplinary research programme designed to improve environmental, socio-economic and cultural understandings of the functions and services provided by UK treescapes. Outputs from the programme will help inform future decisions about treescape expansion, management and resilience for the benefits of the environment and society.
The programme is supported on behalf of UK Research & Innovation (UKRI) by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), the Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC), and the Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC). Funding for the Treescapes Fellowship Scheme is provided by NERC.
The Treescapes Fellowship Scheme is open to applicants of all nationalities who have the right to live and work in the UK. Applicants do not need to be currently receiving funding from the Future of UK Treescapes Programme, and the call is open to researchers and non-academics from any discipline. Proposals from applicants with diverse backgrounds and experience will be encouraged and there will be no limits on amount of postdoctoral experience.
Applicants who are employed at a research institution in a role where they would be eligible to apply as a Principal or Co-investigator for a grant are expected to apply for the fellowship for a percentage of their FTE only.
Applicants at an earlier career stage and not yet be eligible as a PI/Co-I for NERC grants, may apply for up to 100% of their time through this fellowship.
Applicants do not need a PhD, however, current PhD students are expected to have submitted their thesis before taking up the fellowship.
For non-academics currently employed at end-user/stakeholder organisations, the fellowship grant should be held by their host academic institution, which must be eligible for UKRI funding.
Applicants may only be involved in one proposal submitted to this opportunity.
The Future of UK Treescapes Programme and UKRI are committed to creating and sustaining a fair, equitable and inclusive environment for our research community to ensure that everyone has an equal opportunity to participate and benefit. We therefore encourage applications from all individuals who meet the eligibility criteria from all backgrounds, regardless of:
marriage and civil partnership
pregnancy and maternity
religion or belief
Budget and Duration
The full economic cost of your fellowship must not exceed £50,000. We will fund 80% of the full economic cost. Fellowships can be funded for a minimum of three months and a maximum of one year, and could include full-time or part-time arrangements. We expect to fund up to seven fellows.
Eligible costs include the applicant’s salary and associated estates or indirect costs, consumables, travel and subsistence. Equipment costs are not eligible under this call. Applicants should include sufficient resources for 2 UK-based one-day meetings and associated travel and subsistence, to attend Treescapes Programme events.
This scheme is administered by the Future of UK Treescapes Ambassadors on behalf of NERC and Defra. Successful awards will be issued as contracts from the University of Gloucestershire to the organisation where the fellowship will be held and will not be part of the research council Je-S system. The awards will follow the standard UKRI grant terms and conditions except where variation is justified for the purpose of processing payments via contracts.
Engagement with the Future of UK Treescapes Programme
Fellows will be expected to coordinate their activities with the Future of UK Treescapes Ambassadors, engage with the Future of UK Treescapes Programme activities (such as the Treescapes workshops and annual conferences) and interact with each other through Fellowship events, organised by the Ambassadors. Applications that cooperate with one or more projects currently funded under the Future of UK Treescapes programme are welcomed (although this is not a requirement for funding).
Please note that completed Application forms should be emailed to the Future of UK Treescapes Ambassadors at firstname.lastname@example.org and completed Equality and Diversity forms should be emailed to email@example.com. Alongside your Application form, please also include a letter of commitment from the research organisation where your fellowship will be held, and a letter of commitment from any host partner organisation (if relevant).
Applications will be assessed by a review panel consisting of the Treescapes Ambassadors, one independent academic expert, and selected stakeholders from the Programme Advisory Board. All applications related to tree health will also be considered for the Defra fellowship, with a Defra representative also joining the review for such proposals. Applications will be assessed on the following criteria:
Potential for the applicant to develop new skills, knowledge and understanding
Closeness of fit to the Treescapes programme and its overall aims
Suitability of the applicant
Suitability of the host
Feasibility of the proposal
Value for money
The Programme Advisory Board is composed of representative stakeholders from policy and practice, including UK government department, NGOs, and landowner groups (a list of PAB membership can be found on the programme website www.uktreescapes.org).If applicants are based within the Ambassadors’ institutions (Imperial College London and University of Gloucestershire), independent reviewers from outside Imperial and Gloucestershire will be included to ensure a fair and open competition.
Shortlisted candidates will be invited for a short interview with the review panel. All applicants will be given brief feedback on their application.
Full proposal submission deadline:12 noon on 29 July 2022
Interviews:w/c 17 October 2022
Latest project start date:January 2023
Latest project end date:December 2023
For all enquiries regarding this funding opportunity or about the Future of UK Treescapes Programme more generally, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Further Details About Defra Fellowship Funding
1. Tree health fellowship
Defra is a collaborative partner of the Future of UK Treescapes research programme and will provide funding to one fellowship placement, supporting interdisciplinary learning and translational knowledge exchange towards shared interests in the resilience, expansion and values of UK Treescapes.
Aligned to Defra’s plant health R&D priorities, indicative areas of research interest for Defra support include:
Assessment of pest and pathogen biology, risk analysis, and host vulnerability, or the cumulative impact of multiple biotic and abiotic factors on our trees and treescapes.
Enhancing surveillance of the wider environment and making the best use of data and our diagnostic toolkit.
Optimising pest and disease management, considering trade-offs, future availability and substitutions, including natural control mechanisms.
Breeding and planting resilient treescapes for the future.
Building societal support and stakeholder awareness of plant health to better protect our treescapes.
Applicants may be from any discipline from environmental science, social and economics sciences, or arts and humanities.
All applications with a tree health focus will automatically be considered for the Defra fellowship as well as the main scheme. The Defra-funded Fellow will be fully integrated into the Treescapes programme and will join the cohort of Treescapes Fellows, participating in Fellows’ and wider Programme events.
2. Top up funding
Funding may be available for individuals hosted by eligible institutions (see above eligibility criteria for hosts) that are unable to participate under the 80% FEC model (i.e. public sector research establishments (PSREs)). In these instances, Defra will provide a top-up of 20% funding to provide 100% funding. Applicants interested in being considered for this funding should provide a justification for this request on the application form, outlining why their host institution is unable to participate with 80% FEC, and the relevance of the proposed work to the Defra areas of interest above.