Funded Travelling Fellowships for people involved in the Environment, Nature and Sustainable Living

Published: 10 May 2016

Funded Travelling Fellowships for people involved in the Environment, Nature and Sustainable Living

In 2017, The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust will be investing around £1.3 million in British citizens, by awarding 150 Travelling Fellowships.

This will directly support British citizens who want to travel overseas to gain knowledge, experience and best practice to benefit others in their UK professions and communities, and society as a whole.

Travelling Fellowships will be awarded in the Environment, nature and sustainable living category, and the application process is now open.

Following last December’s Paris Agreement, which saw governments of 195 countries set a goal of restricting an increase in global temperatures to below 2°C above pre-industrial levels1, the need to adopt sustainable and environmentally-friendly practices is now more urgent and clear than ever.

For the third year, the Environment, Nature and Sustainable Living Fellowships will run in a partnership with The Frank Jackson Foundation, with the aim of promoting environmental education and public awareness of environmental issues. Since the start of this partnership, 20 Fellowships have been awarded in this category, an investment of over £110,000 in British citizens.

Applications are welcome from across this wide field. Projects covering the environment, conservation and biodiversity, the countryside and food production are of particular interest. People looking at adaptation and environmental resilience to climate change, and market approaches to environmental issues, such as biodiversity offsetting, are also encouraged to apply.

Elizabeth Leighton travelled to the USA to investigate what motivated home owners and landlords to install energy-saving upgrades in their houses, in order to cut costs and harmful emissions. She also wanted to investigate how governments at all levels can use their powers and influence to encourage change. She visited five exemplar state and municipal programmes in Vermont, Maine, Arizona, Berkeley, and Oregon. Based on these visits, Elizabeth made a series of recommendations for government policy, programme design, and utility regulation. Since her return Elizabeth has used her findings to inform WWF’s advocacy work on UK domestic energy efficiency programmes. She presented her findings at the Sustainable Scotland Network annual conference and also contributed an article to the Heating and Hot Water Industry Council. The Scottish Government has now committed significant funding to a National Retrofit Programme, which will focus on fuel-poor areas first. It will be local authority-led and delivered on a neighbourhood, street-by-street basis. This very much chimes with the results of Elizabeth’s Fellowship report, which noted the strong influence of working with local and peer groups to encourage uptake of energy efficiency measures.

Among those travelling this year, in this category, are:

  • Hannah Norman, an administrative and social media coordinator from Cardiff. She will be travelling to the USA to explore local organic food systems to benefit the urban community.
  • Susan Palmer, a community projects manager from Twickenham, who will be going to Germany and the USA to explore innovative participation in public urban green spaces.

Successful applicants must demonstrate the commitment, the character and the tenacity to travel globally in pursuit of new and better ways of tackling a wide range of current challenges facing the UK, and upon their return work to transform and improve aspects of today’s society.

A travelling sabbatical for people with the drive, determination and desire to help others, can further their leadership and role model abilities.

Employees who are awarded Fellowships bring great benefits to their employers, not only in terms of the positive impact on their personal development, but also with the advantage of their enhanced knowledge, new ideas and examples of best practice that they bring back to the organisation.

Applications are judged purely on project merit, and these opportunities are available to all UK residents over the age of 18, regardless of ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation or disability.

Successful applicants will receive an average Fellowship grant of over £6,000, covering return airfare, daily living costs, insurance and travel within the countries being visited, for approximately six weeks overseas.

Notes to Editors

The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust was established shortly after Sir Winston’s death in 1965, as his national memorial and living legacy. Since then it has awarded over 5,250 Travelling Fellowships.

The application process for travel in 2017 is now open, and there are 14 varied categories in which people can apply.

Churchill’s beliefs and passions are still living on through the Fellows – who are remarkable individuals, representing a wide range of backgrounds, qualifications, interests and professions, but sharing the desire to do something for the improvement of individuals and communities in the UK.

The deadline for the 2017 applications is 5pm on Tuesday 20th September 2016.

In total 150 Fellowships were awarded in the UK in 2016, an investment of over £1.4 million. The Fellows are currently travelling to 52 countries between them, across 6 continents, carrying out a wide range of projects.

To maximise the impact of the Fellowships partnerships have been developed with other organisations, focused on specific areas of concern and relevance for the UK today. Lessons learnt from overseas travel are effectively coordinated and disseminated, and incorporated into best practice in the UK for the benefit of others in similar communities and professions.

The Frank Jackson Foundation will jointly fund two Fellowships to promote Environmental education and public awareness of Environmental issues. The Frank Jackson Foundation is a grant making Trust that was established by the late Mr. Frank Jackson M.B.E., a well-known businessman and philanthropist from Woodbridge in Suffolk. The principal objectives of the Foundation, on which the majority of their funds are expended, are to benefit, through education, the disadvantaged, and to support world-class environmental research.


1. From the European Commission website