Rewilding Innovation Fund

Our vision is to see rewilding – the large-scale restoration of ecosystems to the point where nature can take care of itself – flourish across Britain. That’s why we’ve launched a new Rewilding Innovation Fund to foster the scale and ambition of rewilding projects. 

West devon beaver site
We want to foster the scale and ambition of rewilding projects.

The fund’s mission

The idea behind the Rewilding Innovation Fund is to help remove barriers to rewilding projects within Britain, whether they’re at the early planning stages or want to move a project one step wilder. 

We’re particularly keen to encourage those who are taking an innovative approach to land and marine rewilding, which will help develop learning and evidence for others within the Rewilding Network.

Funds are awarded to projects with potential for the highest impact for people and nature.

Funding open for applications 

Funding is now open for applications, and closes on 31 March 2022. In this current round of funding we’re focusing on community engagement in rewilding and, as such, are giving priority to projects which are:

  • following community ownership models

  • implementing community co-design

  • developing the health benefits of rewilding, such as social prescribing

We anticipate funding 15 – 20 projects during thist round, with up to £15,000 to be considered for each individual project.

To apply for funding – of up £15,000 – projects must be:

Dig deeper into our applications criteria below.

There will be two more rounds of funding in 2022, as well as an annual Rewilding Innovation Award to provide a larger amount of funding to one successful project.

What we’ve funded so far

In the pilot round of the Rewilding Innovation Fund (August 2021) we awarded a total of £55,000 to six projects. Successful applications included a carbon capture project, a seagrass restoration study, a tree seeding experiment, the development of a rewilding strategy, a feasibility study and a community consultation. You can explore three of these in detail below. 

Lidar survey

Modelling carbon capture, UK-wide
Scotland’s Bunloit Estate, Norfolk’s Wendling Beck Environment Project and Sussex’s Knepp Estate are measuring the carbon captured by scrub and wood pasture on their land. They’re working with specialists Treeconomy to model it using remote sensing techniques.

Sea grass

Seagrass restoration, northeast England
Climate Action North
has teamed up with partners to carry out a feasibility study to identify potential areas for seagrass restoration in the northeast of England – an essential marine habitat which absorbs carbon.

Acorns

Tree seeding, Lake District
Lowther Estate
is undertaking a tree seeding experiment to assess whether this could be a more effective alternative to tree planting on their land. They want to measure whether seeding produces more natural woodland of local provenance which can naturally expand in the future.

“Our exciting tree seeding project aims to reduce the need for tree tubes and other capital intensive infrastructure used for traditional planting methods.”
Jim Bliss, Lowther Estate

Rewilding Innovation Fund criteria

You are eligible to apply for the Rewilding Innovation Fund if you meet the following criteria:

  • You're based in Britain
  • You're a member of the Rewilding Network. This includes community, private and public landowners and managers of rewilding areas on the land and sea. If you aren’t a Rewilding Network member but would like to be considered, please join before applying.
  • You're rewilding at scale* – that is more than 40 hectares of land (or any size of marine project). This can be an individual landholding or a cluster of landholdings. If you're rewilding at a smaller scale than this, we strongly encourage you to connect with others to form a local group, network or cluster to work up a project for application. In your application (just one between you) we'll need to see evidence your shared vision and how you plan to work together. Local groups and networks can also apply to the fund for any innovative projects that will help to upscale rewilding.
  • You show an understanding of and commitment to working to our rewilding principles – whether you are at the beginning of your rewilding journey or have been carrying out this work for some time.
  • You can demonstrate why you need funding/intervention now, and why you cannot access this funding from other sources.
  • You haven't previously been awarded money from the Rewilding Innovation Fund (previously known as the Incubator Fund). We are happy to accept funding applications from those who have applied before and been unsuccessful. Please ensure that you adapt and build on your application for our consideration this time around.

*This size has been set to tie in with the principle of rewilding being the restoration of ecosystems with enough space to allow nature to drive the changes and shape the living systems on which we all depend. Restricting applications to greater than 40 hectares will provide enough space for nature to start to lead the way.

  • The fund aims to support works that could potentially unlock further funding or move your project up the rewilding scale, whether you are new to rewilding or have been going for some time. Examples of potential applications include: business plans and strategies, community engagement activities and co-design, feasibility studies, technology and innovation.

  • Funds can also be used to pay for direct interventions or expertise that your project requires.

  • Funding cannot be provided for land purchase or capital costs such as fencing

  • Funding for up to £15,000* will be considered. We expect the majority of grants to be less than £10,000.

  • The Rewilding Innovation Fund steering group will use the following assessment criteria to award the money, including: funding: are there alternative options available?; alignment with our rewilding principles; degree of innovation and learning; financial strategy; consideration of the business concept and long-term viability and sustainability; understanding of monitoring and evidence-building.

*The maximum level of funding has been set at £15,000 because the fund aims to support elements in a project that can remove barriers and unlock further funding. If your project requires higher investment than this to get off the ground, consider whether there are smaller elements of your grand vision, such as business plans or feasibility studies, which you can use the Rewilding Innovation Fund for, so helping you at least get started. Could initial funding from us help lever further funds from elsewhere in the future?

  • The funding must be spent within 15 months. Please detail in your application how you plan to work to this timescale.

  • All supported projects must measure and report on their progress every quarter.

  • All successful applicants must agree to share stories and lessons learnt for the wider Rewilding Network and for the public.

  1. Ensure that you are a Rewilding Network member. If you aren't, please apply to become a Rewilding Network member before you make your funding application.
  2. Complete the application form for the Rewilding Innovation Fund.

Shortlisted projects will be invited to pitch their project to the steering group in a 10-minute online presentation. We aim to award the funds by the end of April.

Read our privacy policy.

If you’ve got a question that we haven’t answered here, please contact [email protected]​rewildingbritain.​org.​uk


Rewilding Innovation Fund has been made possible through funding from the Dormywood Trust, the Evolution Education Trust, The Vintry, Charles Langdale and others

Logos

You may also be interested in...

Squirrel jump SBP NM

Explore rewilding

Find out more about rewilding, what it means for land, sea and climate, and how to get started

Image credits: Top image (beaver dam) ©️ Sam Rose/whatifyoujustleaveit.info; Modelling carbon capture ©️ Wendling Beck; Sea Grass ©️ Richard Shucksmith/scotlandbigpicture.com; Tree seeding ©️ Denny Muller/​Unsplash.