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Scottish universities are being invited to take advantage of up to £32.8 million of low interest loans funding for capital projects in response to the climate emergency. The announcement comes as Scotland prepares to host the COP-26 conference in Glasgow in November. Universities are being asked for proposals for innovative and sustainable ways of reducing their carbon footprint.

The announcement is the latest in a series of investments by the Scottish Funding Council (SFC) to support Scotland’s response to climate change.

In 2019 a £19m programme aimed at boosting investment in energy efficiency across Scotland’s universities was confirmed to provide accessible support and finance for carbon reduction throughout the sector and build capacity for funding in additional years.

2019 also saw SFC funding to support the UK’s largest research, industry and government partnership in carbon capture, use and storage.

Last year £500,000 for partnership projects was announced to make buildings and construction more environmentally friendly. This was through high-tech, green retrofitting to reduce carbon emissions from existing housing stock.

This year the priority will be given to projects which offer the greatest carbon savings in return for the funding. Each project will be expected to quantify the planned environmental benefits from the funding requested.

Universities are invited to submit an expression of interest in the funding by 30 July 2021.

Dr Stuart Fancey, Director of Research and Innovation at SFC said:

“Universities and colleges play a vital role in tackling the climate emergency.  Today’s announcement, alongside our ongoing investments in climate change, will help to bring about changes that will safeguard the future of our planet.”

Higher Education Minister Jamie Hepburn said:

“Higher Education Institutes are ideally placed to apply their own expertise to realise net zero innovations on their estates that will inspire other organisations to follow suit.

“This funding will help universities play their part in reducing emissions and contribute to our net zero goals.”