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Winners of 2019/20 Cabot Institute Innovation Fund announced

Press release issued: 9 January 2020

Winners of the Cabot Institute Innovation Fund for 2019/2020 have been announced. The funds are aimed at supporting bold, ambitious, and impactful ideas, that transcend disciplinary boundaries. It offers the Cabot Institute an opportunity to invite new ideas from our research community – those that might not receive funding from traditional sources, but which show real intellectual or practical promise.

The Cabot Institute Innovation Fund is an annual open call of approximately £35,000 derived from generous gifts and donations to the Cabot Institute. Those who apply for funds must reflect the Cabot Institute’s interdisciplinary and engaged research approach, which brings together multiple disciplines and/or non-academic partners.

Once again, we were delighted to receive fantastic applications across all the Cabot Institute themes of Environmental Change, Water, Low Carbon Energy, Food Security, Natural Hazards and Disaster Risk, and City Futures.

Funded projects 2019-2020

The Dark Planet: Explorations of the wild night

Awarded: £2,027

Investigators: Andy Flack (History), Gareth Jones (Life Sciences), Nicola Daw (Avon Wildlife Trust).

Using UAVs for conservation: monitoring endangered giraffe populations in Northern Cameroon

Awarded: £6,700

Investigators: Tom Richardson (Aerospace Engineering), Grainne McCabe (Bristol Zoo), Matthew Watson (Earth Sciences)

Traffic effects on the atmospheric electric field

Awarded: £4,000

Investigators: James Matthews (Chemistry), Kuang Liang Koh (Biological Sciences), Karen Aplin (Aerospace Engineering).

The future is copper: A theatre and research collaboration exploring the uses, abuses and future of copper mining in a globally changing environment

Awarded: £2,000

Investigators: Jon Blundy (Earth Sciences), Jess Hope (Geographical Sciences), Stephen Sparks (Earth Sciences), Tom Bailey (Independent Theatre Maker).

Indigenous environments

Awarded: £4,785

Investigators: Jess Hope (Geographical Sciences), Mark Jackson (Geographical Sciences), Karen Tucker (Politics), Paul Merchant (Modern Languages), Amy Penfield (Anthropology), Camilla Morelli (Anthropology), The Centre for Knowledge, Culture, and Society (Education).

Nitrogen in a changing earth system

Awarded: £1,400

Investigators: Oliver Andrews (Geographical Sciences), Matt Rigby (Chemistry), Nicholas Howden (Civil, Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering), Emma Cardwell (University of Glasgow), Anita Ganesan (Geographical Sciences), Patricia Sanchez-Baracaldo (Geographical Sciences), Penny Johnes (Geographical Sciences), Fanny Monteiro (Geographical Sciences).

Evolving into Cities? Integrating demographic, geographic and evolutionary theories to explain global urbanisation

Awarded: £2,640

Investigators: Sean Fox (Geographical Sciences), Andrew King (University of Swansea, Biosciences / SHOAL Group)

Breaking the law to save the world

Awarded: £3,775

Investigators: Oscar Berglund (Policy Studies), Colin Davis (Psychology).

Aviation, the pandemic and carbon emissions

Awarded: £3,919

Investigators: Ed Atkins (Geographical Sciences), Chris Preist (Computer Science), Martin Parker (Management), Jo House (Geographical Sciences), Chris Willmore (Law), Jessica Paddock (Sociology, Politics and International Studies). 

Production of a collaborative database to consolidate global knowledge on hazardous Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant particulate

Awarded: £4,500

Investigator: Peter Martin (Physics), David Richards (Geographical Sciences), Tom Scott (Physics), Yukihiko Satou (Japan Atomic Energy Agency), Horst Monken-Fernandes (International Atomic Energy Agency).

Further information

For more information about the awards or the next round of Cabot Innovation Funds (scheduled for May 2020) please contact

If you would be interested in sponsoring the Cabot Institute Innovation Fund and helping drive discovery faster than would otherwise be possible, please contact Andrew Monk.

We are extremely grateful to our donors, without whom, we could not support the range of excellent projects described in this report. Your generosity has helped support young researchers to develop their careers, facilitated new projects amongst award-winning scientists, pump-primed future research proposals, established global networks, and supported real-world impacts.

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