ARIA: Scoping Our Planet - opportunity seeds

How we can fill the gaps in Earth system measurement to equip society to respond confidently to the climate crisis? Seeking ambitious, high potential proposals.

Opportunity Details


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Funding from £10k – £500k per project, inclusive of VAT (where applicable) and all associated costs (both direct and indirect).



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ARIA (Advanced Research and Innovation Agency) is an R&D funding agency, sponsored by DSIT (the UK government’s Department of Science, Innovation and Technology), built to unlock scientific and technological breakthroughs that benefit everyone. Many of society’s most important advances have stemmed from those with the foresight to pursue new capabilities that most believed to be unattainable. ARIA empowers scientists and engineers with the resources and freedom to pursue those breakthroughs.

Opportunity seeds support ambitious research aligned to our opportunity spaces. We’re looking to challenge assumptions, open up new research paths, and provide steps towards new capabilities. We will fund high potential proposals with up to £500k each.

We want to find bold ideas within the ‘Scoping Our Planet‘ opportunity space, where Programme Directors Gemma Bale and Sarah Bohndiek are  asking how we can fill the gaps in Earth system measurement to respond confidently to the climate crisis, using earth observation technologies, optics, and photonics.

About “Scoping Our Planet”

Current Earth system measurements have serious gaps that lead to uncertainties in weather forecasting and climate predictions. By harnessing the power of optics we can fill these gaps, equipping society to respond confidently to the climate crisis.

Current climate measurements fail to provide the coverage, resolution or sensitivity necessary to confidently understand and respond to the climate crisis: we need disruptive technologies to parameterise the entire Earth system.

Monitoring and modelling are crucial for effective climate management, but both are limited by measurement gaps: without better measurements we won’t succeed in climate change mitigation, adaptation, or intervention.

We have entered a new era of optics and photonics, with unprecedented control of light and its interactions with the environment, from molecular to global scales: new inventions from the optics community are poised to fill the climate measurement gaps.

Read more about the “Scoping Our Planet” opportunity space.

Opportunity seeds call

We’re looking to fund high potential proposals with up to £500k
each. We initially expect to fund up to 10 opportunity seeds in this space.

We’re looking for bold ideas that could challenge assumptions, open up new research paths, or provide steps towards new capabilities. If you have an important idea you’re obsessed with, but you don’t currently have the resources or support to take it forward, we’d like to hear from you.

Who can apply?

Ideas could come from anywhere, so we welcome applications from individuals and teams who are early in their career or who have atypical backgrounds. We care more about your idea and your intrinsic motivation than we do about your CV.

Eligible projects

You can find the scope below and our evaluation criteria in our call for proposals – beyond this we don’t have preconceptions about what ideas you might send our way.

In scope:

  • Ideas that sit within the ‘Scoping Our Planet’ opportunity space. By this, we mean your proposal should show how your idea either aligns with or challenges the assumptions of the Summary, Beliefs, or Observations in the opportunity space.
  • Ideas that could change the conversation about what is possible or valuable.
  • Ideas that range from early stage curiosity-driven research through to pre-commercial science and technology.

Out of scope:

  • Ideas that are within scope of the programme thesis, ‘Forecasting Tipping Points: Uniting climate measurements and models to create an early warning system’.
  • Ideas that are undifferentiated or are likely to happen without ARIA’s support.
  • Commercial or close-to-commercial stage products.

We provide funding from £10k – £500k per project, inclusive of VAT (where applicable) and all associated costs (both direct and indirect). There is no minimum length for a proposed project; the maximum length is three years.

If you are unsure whether your idea is in scope, ask us by sending an email to


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