Call for Proposals 2022 – Contributing to a just transition to Net Zero
The Scottish Universities Insight Institute (SUII) is a joint venture of six Higher Education Institutions, which provides financial and logistical support to knowledge exchange projects aimed at improving policy and practice in Scotland and beyond. Recent programmes have focussed on accelerating progress towards the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
SUII’s next call will focus on contributing to achieving a just transition to net-zero carbon emissions.
“A just transition is both the outcome – a fairer, greener future for all – and the process that must be undertaken in partnership with those impacted by the transition to net zero. Just transition is how we get to a net zero and climate resilient economy, in a way that delivers fairness and tackles inequality and injustice.” (Scottish Government)
Scotland’s first Just Transition Commission was established in 2019. In their report published in 2021 they called for a national mission to achieve a just transition: “This transition needs to be a national mission with social justice at its heart: something achieved BY the people of Scotland, not done TO the people of Scotland.”
In its response to the Commission, the Government set out the various components that make up a just transition and a number of organising themes and commitments, which may help guide the development of proposals under this call:
Components of a just transition:
- Skills training and education that helps to secure good, high-value jobs in green industries like low-carbon manufacturing, renewables, and tech;
- Job security for those in industries that will play the biggest part in the transition – at every level;
- Homes that are energy efficient and help to reduce fuel poverty;
- Building infrastructure, transport and communities that support efforts to decarbonise, to enhance biodiversity and which are resilient in the face of the impact of climate change;
- Making sure the costs do not burden those least able to pay and the benefits of transition are felt regardless of where you live, who you are and what you do.
Organising themes and commitments:
- Planning for a managed transition to net zero that maximises the economic and social opportunities, while managing the risks;
- Equipping people with the knowledge and skills they need, while putting in place safety nets to ensure no-one is left behind;
- Involving those who will be impacted by the transition through co-design and collaboration to reduce emissions, respond to climate change and build more resilient healthy communities;
- Spreading the benefits of the transition widely, while making sure the costs do not burden those least able to pay.
The Government’s response emphasised the opportunity to take advantage of the net-zero transition to achieve synergies between environmental, social and economic objectives: “As we tackle emissions, this is also an opportunity to seek out lasting positive societal change: for example, ensuring our efforts to tackle the climate crisis support our efforts to deliver social justice.”
In September 2021 the Government announced the appointment of a new Just Transition Commission for the term of the Parliament to scrutinise, advise and report annually on the progress Scotland is making to ensure a greener, fairer future for everyone.
The Commission has been tasked with:
- providing scrutiny and advice on the ongoing development of Scottish Government-led just transition plans;
- advising on the most suitable approaches to monitoring and evaluation;
- undertaking meaningful engagement with those most likely to be impacted by the transition;
- engaging and collaborating with other sources of expertise;
- publishing an annual report to reflect on Scotland’s progress.
This call for proposals invites applications from researchers in SUII’s member universities for projects that can make a practical contribution to ensuring a just transition and supporting the Commission and others involved in this work.
Applications are invited from teams whose composition reflects the multi-discipline and multi-sector remit of the Institute. Applicants must include members from at least two SUII partner universities.
Project teams should include academics and policy makers and practitioners – ideally some non-academic partners should be involved in the development phase of a proposal to help ensure it is demand led. SUII projects also offer the opportunity to draw on international expertise.
Expressions of interest are invited by 22 April 2022, with the deadline for full applications on 20 May 2022, 12pm. Proposals will be considered by SUII’s Programme Committee in June. Projects are anticipated to begin in the late summer/autumn of 2022 and to run for around six months.
Information sessions will be held online on 8 and 10 March.