Call for research proposals: Climate change, vulnerability reduction and local democracy

Terms of Reference

Local governments are taking various measures to adapt to climate change. While increased awareness and funding for climate-change response are generating multiple responses from local governments, fixes are often technical. Technical solutions often miss the social and political economic roots of vulnerabilities – the conditions that turn climate stress into crisis. These fixes also have missed the important role of local democracy in identifying the social causes of risk and the need for citizen participation and accountability mechanisms in a process of identifying and developing greater social security – deep adaptation and mitigation plans.

This call for proposals seeks research projects that critically investigate the actions, policies and plans implemented by local governments to reduce vulnerability in the context of climate change. How – through what processes and with what results – do local elected authorities understand the needs and aspirations of the residents of their districts? Are local governments responsive to these needs and aspirations – and how can we explain that responsiveness? Are the resulting measures effective in achieving local aspirations and meeting local needs? How are external climate interventions affecting the effectiveness of local democracy and the quality of responsiveness to local needs?

The project should be conducted in one of the local governments within the ICLD network of municipal partnerships working on the SDG 13 on climate action in Kenya, Uganda, Zambia and Sweden. The local government should be consulted in the project planning and can synergize with the vulnerability assessment that is planned to take place within the network early autumn 2023. See list here: Network for Climate Action | ICLD.

Time frame

November 2023 to November 2024, with the possibility to extend for 6 months.


This grant is the equivalent to 900.000 SEK incl. VAT and overhead costs.


  • Research report following ICLD guidelines and being close to and intended for publication in a peer-reviewed journal.
  • Policy brief using ICLD guidelines.
  • Poster with visual presentation of key lessons learned
  • At least one dissemination/learning activity related to ICLD’s network of municipal partnerships.


The researcher or research team should submit a proposal using ICLD’s system SBS Manager. ICLD encourages collaboration with researchers from its scholarly network and MoU institutions. Please include a letter of support the local government(s) relevant to the study.

Deadline for application: 31 October (23.59 CET)

The portal requires an account to be made by the main applicant. The account and portal will also be used for contract writing, reporting and other administration around the grant. Make sure to start the application procedure well in advance of the deadline, to leave room for any unclarities and need for support.

Please use the following Proposal Template: Research Proposal Template


Clara Orstadius, Research Officer, +46 (0)70-984 07 05

Note: Due to summer holidays, we cannot guarantee support with the application process from the 12th of July to the 8th of August.

Project Area
Environment/Climate change
Sustainable Development Goals
11 - Sustainable cities and communities13 - Climate action
Forskning, Research,