In 2019-20 the Union wrote to research funding bodies around the world regarding priorities for funding fashion and sustainability research. These 31 organisations were sourced from the Union membership. The letter was signed by the full membership of the Union at the time. Initially letters were sent in June 2019, with follow up letters sent in January 2020. This initiative arose from a perceived overemphasis on research funding directed at technical solutions to fashion and sustainability, under the umbrella of circular economy. The letter called for funding priorities to be redirected towards new knowledge creation that is relevant to and commensurate with the multiple global crises we face. The letter asked for greater pluralism in funding priorities, including those which favour the long term, systems change, collaborative practice and moving beyond the growth logic.
Of the organisations, two responded, and the Union board had a productive conversation with one organisation. Four organisations responded with a form letter usually sent to funding applicants. Given the lack of response from most organisations and given that the issues raised in the letter remain, the board of UCRF is planning a follow-up to this initiative in the near future.