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Net Zero Innovation Programme

Delivered through a collaboration between the Local Government Association, the national membership body for local authorities, and UCL, the Net Zero Innovation Programme brings together local authorities, universities and other stakeholders to address climate challenges at the local level, and seek routes to achieve council’s net zero commitments.

About the Net Zero Innovation Programme 

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. 

The Net Zero Innovation Programme (NZIP) is designed to bring together partnerships of researchers and local authorities and supports them to define and co-create challenges and develop projects that could begin to address these climate challenges. Research plays an invaluable role in providing evidence, skills and techniques to help local authorities achieve their ambitions. NZIP creates the opportunity for knowledge exchange, delivery of evidence directly in to policymaking, and practical delivery at the local level, by providing partnerships with time and funding to work together. 

The scope of the programme is broad, and participants address 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 project create include development of training, toolkits, mapping documents or calculators. You can find out more about some of the work of the 2020-21 cohort below. Applications to join the 2021/22 cohort are now open. 

Click here to apply for the 2021/22 cohort


More about the programme 


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.