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We are pleased to announce that the Scottish Funding Council (SFC) has approved the Environmental Association of Universities and Colleges’ (EAUC) bid for funding for the next phase of its work. EAUC will deliver its new outcome agreement ‘Accelerating action and leadership in Scotland’s colleges and universities to respond to the climate emergency’ from 1 April 2020 up to March 2023.

The success of the bid comes as a result of work undertaken with SFC over the past six months to develop new ideas about further accelerating the sector’s response to the climate emergency. This process was informed by feedback from EAUC members through events, surveys and through the Office Bearers Group. It also referred to the results of SFC’S sector survey in 2019 and reflected EAUS’s own understanding of the higher and further education sector’s sustainability journey, community motivations and the Scottish Government’s national priorities.

At the end of March, EAUC officially reached the end of the Catalysing transformative leadership for sustainability programme. This 3-year outcome agreement, again funded by SFC, has enabled EAUC-Scotland to collaborate with and support the Higher and Further Education sector in its sustainability journey. Since April 2017, EAUC has delivered 109 events, training sessions and webinars reaching over 1,500 people. Evidenced through the Sustainability Committee Enhancement Project, the percentage of institutions with a formal sustainability committee has risen from 64% to 82% in the past 18 months; and the sector has reduced its carbon emissions by 15% over the past 3 reporting years (2015/16 – 2018/19). EAUC is confident that this programme has helped create a culture of understanding of the significant roles the sector has in responding to the climate emergency.

The new SFC-funded programme is designed to create opportunities for colleges and universities to form new collaborations and develop innovative approaches in their response to the climate emergency. The programme will focus on supporting transformative leadership and the empowerment of sector communities, building capacity in institutional structures across the sectors, developing a place-based response to the climate emergency and further strengthening the collaborative sector voice. EAUC will also work with SFC and key partners to progress Learning for Sustainability in learning, teaching and research and support SFC on its own strategic framework and the national framework through harnessing the ‘Team Scotland’ approach.

Responding to the confirmation of funding, Iain Patton, CEO of EAUC-UK, said:

“I would like to thank our members and the Scottish Funding Council for their on-going support of EAUC-Scotland and for their work in co-developing this new and exciting programme. If we are to limit global warming to 1.5oC in line with the Paris Agreement then 2020 marks the start of a critical decade of climate action.

“Our universities and colleges can develop the research, knowledge and skills needed to inspire and create sustainable communities, empowering staff and students to be the agents of change today and tomorrow. We’re excited to lead on this challenge and support the Scottish HFE sector.”

In light of significant changes across our institutions and of EAUC as an organisation due to the COVID-19 outbreak, EAUC-Scotland has reviewed the planned actions within their new Outcome Agreement. The new Outcome Agreement will be published by EAUC for viewing shortly with further details.