Degrees launches world’s first research fund for SRM social science in the Global South

Beijing Copernicus Sentinel-2 image, 3 May 2016. Credit: ESA, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO

Applications are now closed for the Socio-Political Fund and we will be announcing successful projects later this year. In the meantime, you can find out more about the new fund below.

Today, the Degrees Initiative kick-starts a pioneering new fund for solar radiation modification (SRM) research in the social sciences. The new Socio-Political Fund marks a major expansion of Degrees’ work, becoming the first-ever research fund aimed exclusively at researchers in the Global South as they study the social and political dimensions of SRM.

About the grants

Grants of USD 45,000 for teams, or USD 25,000 for individual researchers, will be awarded to the most promising proposals. As with Degrees Modelling Fund, applicants to the Socio-Political Fund are free to choose their own research topics and methods. Fields as diverse as ethics, law, economics, political science and risk science are eligible. See the full text of the call for more information on eligibility.

Applications will be evaluated via independent peer review. Successful applicants will attend a research planning workshop, to be held in Istanbul in May 2024, to meet their fellow grantees and collaboratively refine their proposals. Additional funding may be awarded if teams can show the need to expand their research. 

The Socio-Political Fund experience is about much more than just grants. Successful applicants will join Degrees’ growing global community of SRM experts. They will receive funding for conferences and open access publication fees, opportunities to collaborate with some of the world’s leading SRM experts, and access to communications support. The programme is designed to help Southern researchers become leading voices in the SRM conversation. 

Background to the Socio-Political Fund

The Socio-Political Fund follows in the footsteps of the Degrees Modelling Fund, which was the first SRM research fund aimed exclusively at developing countries. Five years after it was launched, the Degrees Modelling Fund is changing the face of SRM research. It is now the largest SRM research programme in the world, supporting over 150 researchers working on 24 projects in 21 developing countries and emerging economies. It launched the first SRM research projects in South America, the Caribbean, Africa, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia, and the scientists who came into SRM research through the Degrees Modelling Fund are now central to the SRM conversation.

We hope that the Socio-Political Fund will have a similar impact. There has been very little social science SRM research in the Global South to date, but developing countries will be most affected by any decision to use or reject SRM, and Southern experts should be central to SRM discussion and evaluation.

We note and commend the pioneering efforts of Resources For the Future, which launched the first international SRM social science research fund in 2022, and which supported four projects from the Global North and two from the Global South. We thank the RFF team, alongside many other advisers from around the world, for their invaluable input on the design of the Degrees Socio-Political Fund, although any shortcomings in our grant design are our responsibility.

Please do share this Call for Proposals with any contacts who might be interested in applying! The call runs until 20 December 2023. For more information, see here.

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