Call for Proposals:

Pathways Communication Grants 2023



The Pathways Communication Grants Program seeks to ensure that scientific contributions supporting the development of pathways for sustainability reach relevant audiences beyond the scientific community. To promote wider uptake and understanding of pathways for sustainability, the grant supports the dissemination of scientific findings of place-based research projects via innovative formats and practices.



Researchers, including PhD students, who are affiliated with universities and/or research institutions are invited to submit proposals for communication products that aim to disseminate scientific outcomes developed within inter- and/or transdisciplinary place-based research projects on pathways for sustainability, and are addressed to the broader public. This grant supports the communication of research that has already been completed. Proposals to fund research studies and/or include data collection will not be considered.


Scope of Proposals

Proposals must be based on completed outcomes of inter-/transdisciplinary place-based research projects that advance the understanding of at least one of the following three aspects of pathways for sustainability:

  1. How to navigate competing development agendas and claims on resources in order to foster transformative change in complex human-environment systems,
  2. How transformations can be mobilized through processes of knowledge co-production in order to enable expansion of integrated pathways to sustainability in a specific context,
  3. How pathways and processes of transformation, which are highly context specific, interact across locations and scales with other processes of transformation to produce knock-on tensions and/or synergies.

Proposals must clearly describe how research outcomes contribute to the co-development of pathways for sustainability in practice. They must not be limited to disseminating knowledge or creating awareness on the state of the problem. 

Read about the past awarded projects

Award Information

The call for proposals is now open for 2023. Two calls are planned per year.

Funding amount for each project in 2023: 2,500 € to 10,000 €

Estimated number of awards per call: 3-10

The total funding available in 2023 is 60,000 €

Priority Groups: One third of the funding will be allocated to support proposals led by researchers from and working in low and middle income countries. Another third will be allocated to support proposals led by early career researchers, as another priority group. Early career researchers are defined here as PhD students or researchers who have received their PhD within the last ten years.


Supported Communication Products

The grant supports partial and/or full costs of developing a communication product. 

Supported communication products include but are not limited to: printed or digital publications (policy briefs, factsheets, brochures, white papers, short reports, etc.), videos, audios, digital interactive learning tools, and data visualisations.   

Products not supported: website design and maintenance, scientific posters, publications in scientific journals and books.

The supported communication products must be based on completed research outcomes or synthesis, and be ready to be turned into a communication piece. Communications products in any language relevant to the target audience (aligned with the needs of the target audience) ​​can be supported. Proposals and all supplementary application materials, however, must be submitted in English.

The communication products should be launched and publicly available within 8 months from the date of the funding transfer.

Please note that the grant does not make any retrospective awards for communication products already published.


Eligible Costs

Only the costs of the development of the communication product are covered by the grant. The following costs may be claimed: layout, graphic design, video design and production (including equipment rental or travel and subsistence for video shooting), writing and editorial support, communication consultancy to help shape narratives and translate complex knowledge into clear and targeted material for non-expert audiences. 

The following costs cannot be claimed: publication and open access costs, salary in connection with the development of the research outcomes highlighted in the communication products, translation and linguistic revision, costs of printing copies, stipends for participants, food and beverages/catering. 

Beneficiaries are allowed to include up to 12% indirect cost recovery on total direct costs per contract (overheads). 

Applicants can work with the service providers of their choice. If you require assistance in finding appropriate providers, please contact the Future Earth Secretariat ahead of submission.


Proposal Preparation and Submission Information

Proposals must provide the following elements, consolidated into a single PDF document. Please ensure that all links to supplementary material are active and accessible from the PDF file provided.

  • Title of the communication product and type of product.
  • The name, affiliation and contact details of the Scientific Leader of the proposal. Applicants who are members of a Future Earth entity, such as a Global Research Project, a Knowledge Action Network, a National Committee, etc. are asked to indicate so in their application.
  • Proposal narrative (1000 – 2000 words) explaining the content to be communicated, the target audience(s) and how they will be reached. Proposals must clearly describe the pathways being developed within the research project, explain which of the three aspects of pathways for sustainability are being addressed (refer to Scope of Proposals section), and outline how the communication product will contribute to greater impact of these pathways in terms of uptake, understanding, and reach beyond the scientific community.
  • Detailed development and dissemination plans (including timeline, milestones, targeted audience(s) and how they will be reached).
  • Budget and budget narrative detailing how the grant funding will be spent. Please provide the contact details of the communication service providers and their quotes if known and list any other funding support or grants for which the applicant has applied, including amounts and the results, if known. Budget must be calculated in €. If ineligible costs are included in the proposal budget, please indicate whether these costs are covered elsewhere and specify that they are not being requested from this grant.
  • Short CV for the Scientific Leader and proposal partners, no longer than 2 pages for each. Previous experience in communication with a broad audience should be highlighted. 
  • Letter of Intent duly signed by the Beneficiary (i.e. the legal entity receiving funding for a Project selected as a result of the Call for Proposals) certifying the Beneficiary’s agreement with (1) receiving the funds in case of proposal success and; (2) the Rules of Participation defined in the document here (which includes the template for the Letter of Intent).  
  • Beneficiary Information Form

Please read all of the requirements carefully before submitting to ensure that your proposal will be assessed. Proposals that do not meet all eligibility requirements (for both the applicant and the costs) will not be evaluated by the selection committee.

Applicants should send the above materials as a single PDF to the Future Earth Secretariat at All submission materials should be written in English. 

Deadline: Proposals must be submitted at the latest on 31 October 2023 at midnight CET


Evaluation Criteria

Eligible proposals will be evaluated based on:

  • The fit of the proposal to the scope of the call,
  • The clarity and relevance of the proposal, 
  • The novelty and potential impact of the communication product on the uptake, understanding and reach of place-based research on pathways for sustainability beyond the scientific community 
  • The quality and originality of the research outputs forming the basis for the communication product 
  • The competences and quality of the team (relevant expertise, level of interdisciplinarity between natural and social sciences and/or transdisciplinarity, diversity in terms of geography, gender, career stage) 
  • The overall communication and dissemination approach

Administrative Information and Post-Award Requirements

Selection committee: Each application will be evaluated by a selection committee composed of scientific experts and communications professionals.

Funding will normally be paid to the awarded Beneficiaries within 4 months once all the necessary documentation has been received. Please note that transfers to countries outside of Europe may take longer due to administrative constraints.

A Final Statement of Expenditures summarizing all eligible costs/expenditures made by the Beneficiary for the Project over its total duration shall be sent by the Beneficiary to the Future Earth Secretariat within 3 months after the end date of the Project. The published work will be advertised and, as far as possible downloadable, on the Future Earth website. Future Earth must be acknowledged within the published work, through the following mention: “this (name of product) received financial support from the Future Earth Pathways Initiative”.

Where the published work is protectable by Copyright, the Beneficiary shall grant the Future Earth Secretariat, free of charge the right to diffuse the published work on the Future Earth website or any other Future Earth communication media under the following Creative Common License:




Notification of Results

All applicants should expect to be notified of the outcome of their application by February 2024.


If you have any questions about the application procedure or the processing of applications please refer to the FAQ section below. For any other inquiries not covered by the FAQ, please contact

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can I apply as an individual researcher?

In order to be considered eligible for this grant, the Scientific Leader must be a researcher affiliated with a university or research institution.


I’m a communications professional who specialises in science communication. Can I apply?

The objective of the Pathways Communication Grant is to disseminate scientific findings on pathways for sustainability to non-scientific audiences. Communications experts/professionals are encouraged to be part of the team. However, in order to be eligible, the project must be led by a researcher at a university or research institution.


Can researchers who have received their PhD after more than 10 years apply as principal investigators?

Yes, as long as all other requirements of the call are met. Projects led by early career researchers (defined as PhD students or researchers who have received their PhD within the last six years) are considered a priority group, but it is not a requirement for funding.


Can researchers from Europe apply?

Yes, the call is open to all nationalities. One third of the funding will be allocated to support proposals from researchers led by and working in low and middle income countries as a priority group, and another third will be allocated to support proposals from early career researchers (defined as PhD students or researchers who have received their PhD within the last six years).


Do projects have to be related to ongoing projects being funded by Future Earth?

No, we welcome all proposals that meet the requirements of the funding call.


Typically, what is the length and duration of supported communication products?

Supported communication products should be launched and made publicly available within 8 months from the date of the funding transfer.


Could the communication product be a mix of printed and digital publications?

Yes, as long as all other requirements of the call are met.


Are costs related to translations eligible?

No. All costs related to translation services are not eligible under this call.


Can costs linked to interactive education and communication activities towards pathways for sustainability be claimed?

Yes, a priori. We invite you to include details in your proposal about these activities and their related costs in order for the selection committee to make a proper assessment of your proposal.


How much funding does the grant provide for each project and for how long?

Each project can receive 2,500€ to 10,000€. Funded communication products should be launched and publicly available within 8 months from the date of the funding transfer.


When is the funding transfer made?

Once all the necessary documentation has been received, the funding will be transferred within 4 months to the awarded Beneficiary. However, transfers to countries outside of Europe may take longer due to administrative constraints.


Can the funding be transferred to the beneficiary with the 12% overhead costs?


Watch the Pathways Forum on Communicating Transdisciplinary Work featuring Previous Pathways Communication Grant Awardees

Check out projects From previous Pathways Communication Grant Awardees

Communication Grant Project Showcase