Bring your ideas to life!

Receive guidance and support from Nepali and UK mentors/trainers.

We are providing competitive placements for 50 ideas to be part of an incubator which will be followed by grants and additional mentoring opportunities. If you have a business idea/solution that is nature-based, craft-focused then do not miss this opportunity to shape your ideas with experts and present them to industry stakeholders.



The Road to COP26 Innovation Grant Programme is a partnership between Kathmandu University with Applied Arts Scotland and Edinburgh Napier University’s Creative Informatics. It is supported by the National Innovation Center Nepal. The programme is part of a campaign of activities implemented by the British Council with support from the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) Nepal.

The Programme partners are inviting applications from individuals and teams based in Nepal with new, exciting and innovative ideas for sustainable businesses. These businesses will harness nature-based and craft-related solutions to promote positive environmental impacts for Nepal and beyond. Nature-based solutions are actions to protect, sustainably manage, and restore natural or modified ecosystems, that address societal challenges effectively and adaptively, while simultaneously providing human wellbeing and biodiversity benefits. Such actions are necessary to strengthen adaptation and resilience to global challenges such as climate change. Your ideas will introduce new ways of working with nature-based processes and craft-related practices and entrepreneurship that support climate change resilience generally and in Nepali communities specifically. Your ideas might also be applicable to or replicable by communities in other countries. 

Any and all ideas related to nature-based solutions and craft-related practices with positive environmental impacts and that support climate change resilience in Nepal are welcomed. It can be a completely new idea or something you have been working on already, but as a minimum we expect you to have begun to discover more about and define your idea. The idea could be for a completely new process, service or object, or for improvements to ones that already exist, and for small or large businesses. 

If your application is successful, you will be invited to take part in an incubator event to further develop your ideas and your thinking around these. After the incubator event, you will have the opportunity, if desired, to apply for additional support to help you take your idea(s) from concept to reality; and to showcase your work in Nepal and the UK in the lead up to COP26.


The main purpose of the Programme is to support the development of new, exciting and innovative ideas for sustainable businesses in Nepal, which will harness nature-based solutions and craft-related practices to promote positive environmental impacts and climate change resilience in Nepal.

A further purpose is to develop more inclusive definitions of innovation that champions the talent of females and young people as well as other marginalised communities.


Valuing inclusivity, honesty, creativity, equality, community, and innovation, this Programme aims to bring together individuals and teams with a diverse set of experiences and knowledge, and to apply these to develop nature-based and craft-related solutions with purpose and benefit to people and the planet, by:

  • Supporting creative responses to climate change resilience in Nepal.
  • Supporting grassroots involvement in and the application of intergenerational knowledge transfer to produce environmental benefits.
  • Supporting the capacity building of females, young people, marginalised communities and people with disabilities to deliver sustainable business ideas.
  • Applying traditional achievements in social innovation to modern challenges like climate change.
  • Providing a supported environment in which to explore and push the boundaries of existing nature-based materials and processes.

You will be based in Nepal and you will have an idea for an object- or service-based business that has nature-based materials and processes and craft-related practices at its core, with a clear desire for the idea/business to benefit the environment and support climate change resilience. The idea and/or the business can be at any stage (from new to more established) and be at a point that it would benefit from the support and development opportunity available via this Programme. You can apply as an individual or as a team. You can come from any educational background, industry, or creative discipline. You will need to be able to access the internet in order to participate in the online incubator event. We particularly encourage applications from females, young people, people from ethnic minorities and people with disabilities.


Up to 50 people will be selected to take part in the incubator event. Eligible participants will be selected based on the idea they apply against the selection criteria. We will look to achieve broad representation across age, gender, ethnic origin, ability, educational background and discipline. Selected participants will have the opportunity to apply for additional support after the incubator event, where up to five ideas will be further developed through mentoring and grant funding.

  • Applications for Programme open 20 January 2021
  • Innovation Grant Programme orientation webinar 25 January 2021
  • Programme application submission deadline 18 March 2021
  • Outcome notified to all applicants 30 March 2021
  • Incubator event 14-16 & 19-21 April 2021
  • Applications for additional support open 22 April 2021
  • Additional support application submission deadline 27 April 2021
  • Outcome notified to all applicants by 5 May 2021
  • Grant & mentoring period May – September 2021
  • Showcase event in Nepal October 2021
  • Showcase event in UK November 2021

The incubator event will be hosted by Kathmandu University and Applied Arts Scotland and will be delivered online with some participants able to attend in-person sessions at KU Department of Art and Design (subject to availability and Covid-19 safety guidelines at the time). In-person sessions will be prioritised for those individuals who can prove barriers to accessing virtual sessions.

“Live” events will take place during afternoon sessions (Nepal Standard Time). Pre-recorded material will be available for participants to view at their convenience in advance of and following sessions. Live and pre-recorded content will be available in English and Nepali. Pre-recorded and session content will be delivered by representatives from Kathmandu University, Applied Arts Scotland, Edinburgh Napier University and other invited Nepali experts.

Individuals and teams awarded the additional support will receive monthly tailored mentoring sessions with experts from Nepal and the UK. These may take place in person, subject to Covid-19 restrictions, and online. The expertise of mentors will be tailored to your idea(s) and any specific needs you identify. Along with the grant, these sessions will support you to further develop your idea into a prototype object, service and/or process and beyond, and help you consider how best to showcase this work to audiences in Nepal and the UK.

Showcase events will take place in Nepal and the UK. These are an opportunity for you to share your ideas, experiences and prototypes with a wide audience, and receive feedback on these. The format of the showcase events will be finalised by July 2021, observing all local and national government Covid-19 restrictions in the planning and delivery of these.


Some of the ideas developed during this Programme may be described within academic case studies where we consider the ways in which people, planet, profit and purpose have been addressed, and how the ideas contribute towards environmental improvement and climate change resilience. Any descriptions will respect and credit your intellectual property and will not compromise the sustainability of your idea and (potential) business. We expect selected Programme participants to cooperate with this research, which may include taking part in interviews and providing supporting information including images, film and audio. You will of course reserve the right for your information to be anonymised. Your data will be treated in confidence and will adhere to Kathmandu University and Edinburgh Napier University standards of research ethics and data protection.

Selected Programme participants are expected to agree to any reasonable requests for press or media, and to discuss any self-initiated media coverage with the project team using the email address provided below in the first instance. Press information will be agreed upon and released by the project partners.

Submit your application for the incubator event via the Google form (English) / Google form (Nepali) by 23:59 (Nepal Standard Time) on 18 March 2021.

You will be asked to provide information about yourself / or your team, your background and your idea. The information about your idea can be submitted in writing on the application form or in a film. Your idea is the most important thing, so please make sure you describe it clearly, explain why you / your team are the right person/people to progress it and how the Programme will support you to do this.

If you are applying as a team, please provide the details of a named representative(s) who will attend the incubator event on your application.

Mandatory questions on the application form are indicated by a red asterisk – you must complete these in order for your application to be considered. Ensure that you adhere to word and time limits where these are specified for written and recorded applications, respectively. You can save and return to your application form at any time in advance of the submission deadline.

Applications will not be accepted after the submission deadline.

Information on applying for the additional support will be provided to participants of the incubator event.

The British Council, Kathmandu University and Applied Arts Scotland will jointly host an orientation webinar on the Innovation Grant Programme on 22 January 2021. You can register for the webinar through this form.


Selection of participants for both the incubator event and additional support will be made by representatives of the project partners:

  • Dr. Inge Panneels, Research Fellow, Edinburgh Napier University
  • Dr. Jyoti Tandukar, Tribhuvan University
  • Dr. Lynne Hocking-Mennie, Vice-Chair, Applied Arts Scotland
  • Dr. Sunil Chitrakar, Vice-Chairperson, CEO Mahaguthi
  • Helen Voce, Advisor, Applied Arts Scotland
  • Kirti Man Shakya, Kathmandu University
  • Mira Pokharel, CEO, National Innovation Centre
  • Nischal Oli, Head of Arts, British Council Nepal
  • Pratisthit Lal Shrestha, Kathmandu University
  • Prina Bajracharya, Kathmandu University
  • Rosha Chitrakar, Crafted in Kathmandu
  • Shyambadan Shrestha, Nepal Knotcraft Centre

Selection from among eligible applications (see above) will be based on the information you provide about your idea in your application form against the following selection criteria:

  1. Potential of the idea to address the Programme’s purpose and objectives.
  2. Ways in which future implementation of your idea could benefit people, planet, profit and/or purpose.
  3. Potential for the Programme to support the development of the idea.


For further information about the Programme we suggest reading the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)document in the first instance. You can also attend the Innovation Grant Programme orientation webinar on 22 January 2021.

If you have queries or require support with your application, please email detailing your question or the type of support you require.

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