UCL Public Policy


Net Zero Innovation Programme

Delivered for its third year running through a collaboration between the Local Government Association and UCL, the Net Zero Innovation Programme brings together local authorities, universities, and other stakeholders to address climate challenges at the local level by developing partnerships built for the future.


About the Net Zero Innovation Programme 

The Net Zero Innovation Programme (NZIP) is designed to bring together partnerships of researchers and local authorities and supports them to define the challenges they face as well as to develop projects that could begin to address them.

The scope of the programme is broad, and past participants have addressed a range of challenges from decarbonising transport or improving air quality, to reducing climate impact on vulnerable communities or improving wellbeing through green spaces. The practical tools and solutions that projects create include the development of training, toolkits, mapping documents or calculators. You can find a full list of past projects from the NZIP 2020-21 and NZIP 2021-22 at the top of the page.

Why get involved?

Across the UK, local authorities are declaring a climate emergency, seeking to lead action at a local level to reduce carbon emissions, increase biodiversity, transition to net zero and ultimately improve the quality of life of their residents and the local environment. At the same time, academics want to play a role in providing evidence, skills and techniques to help local authorities achieve their ambitions.

NZIP provides teams of academics and council officers the time and funding to work together.

Over a period of twelve months the Net Zero Innovation Programme will provide up to twelve pairings of councils and universities with up to £10,000 in funding support to develop and deliver innovative projects to tackle net zero, adaptation and biodiversity challenges in their local area.

If you need dedicated time and close support to deliver a climate project, if you wish to create meaningful partnerships with local partners, if you wish to create truly innovative solutions to tackle local climate challenges, the NZIP is for you!

The NZIP Model

To achieve climate impact at the local scale, the Net Zero Innovation Programme:

  • supports partnerships between councils and the higher education sector to develop partnership and coproduction skills through a series of facilitated training sessions.
  • Provides space, time and opportunity for researchers and local authorities to co-create practical responses to local-level challenges in reducing carbon emissions, adaptation and increasing biodiversity.
  • Expands partnership networks between councils and universities across the country.
  • Showcases how universities and local authorities can work in collaboration on adaption and mitigation strategies at the local and regional level.
  • Offers support to all councils and universities not on the programme through sharing lessons on seminars, blogs and podcasts.
  • Offers a train the trainer model, providing support to a greater number of council and university partnerships over time.
  • Supports development of universal tools which can be shared widely with the sector and help a greater number of councils start to tackle the climate emergency.

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