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Research Funding

At present the Macaulay Development Trust's grant programme is suspended.


Applications should be submitted, in both pdf and Word formats, to the Executive Administrator. They must be structured to separately address the funding criteria detailed below. Applications are considered throughout the year and will initially be viewed by the Trustees Grants Committee which makes recommendations to all the Trustees with whom decisions rest. Some applications may be decided in correspondence while others are discussed at Trustees meetings.

The Trustees are willing to consider initial expressions of interest of no more than two pages which touch briefly on each of the criteria and include a summary paragraph. The Trustees may then ask for a second iteration providing more detail for those outline proposals of possible interest.

Values and criteria for funding

The Trustees aim to make a difference by contributing to both scientific and societal impact by supporting excellent research into the sustainable use of land and natural resources, for the benefit of people, their communities and the environment which aligns with the vision and legacy of TB Macaulay. The Trust is likely to give priority to

  • issues which relate to Scotland
  • Scotland's issues with international relevance
  • international issues with relevance to Scotland.

The research objectives include

  • improved understanding of soils, waters and the atmosphere;
  • economic and social inter-relationships underlying resource management decisions
  • development of strategies for land management and resource use

The Trustees wish to provide support that could not readily be secured elsewhere, for example, "seed-corn" funding that could leverage other support concurrently, in a funding package, or over time, through preliminary evidence-gathering likely to lead to more extensive funding from others for an innovative approach.

Thus, research proposals must address these selection criteria:

  • Innovation
  • Plans for impact within/beyond academic research
  • Clear articulation of why it should be the Trust that funds the proposed work, rather than another funding source
  • Relationship to Trust themes
  • Relevance to Scotland
  • Qualifications/capacity of applicants
  • Excellence/intellectual merit
  • Budget and secured/possible/potential leveraging of Trust funds
  • Provision of a summary paragraph capturing the essence of the proposal and its aims in accessible language.

The Trust is open to thoughtfully creative approaches but examples of some of the activities it would fund might include:

  • Seed-corn research for an innovative approach/problem (e.g., development of an interdisciplinary team hoping to provide an integrated solution to a complex problem)
  • Workshops/events (e.g. knowledge exchange processes such as convening researchers and stakeholders around a timely challenge)
  • Contributions toward postgraduate fellowships (e.g. part of a package of support for strategically defined fellowships, fellowships addressing an emerging need for expertise within a relevant theme).

The Trust does not make contributions to conferences even on cognate themes relevant to its interests, except in exceptional circumstances where there is a good connection to the MDT’s purposes, clear value added arising from its contribution and discernible benefits in terms of anticipated outcomes for Scotland’s environment.