NERC Engaging the Public with Environmental Science – Proposals Invited for Second Call

Grant funding is given for innovative projects that increase, improve and develop public engagement with environmental science.

The Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) Engaging the Public with Environmental Science Call seeks to develop new ways to engage the public with environmental science.

The relatively small size of the grants is designed to allow individuals and organisations to trial public engagement projects that could be innovative in their way of delivery, public audiences they engage or subject area. Projects can be planned and delivered as a ‘proof of concept’ and/or be a small public engagement activity or event with carefully planned outputs and intentions. It is hoped that successful grant holders will go on to develop the projects further, including accessing other funding.

NERC aims to fund a diverse portfolio of projects which deliver or facilitate excellent public engagement with environmental science research. Aligning to the NERC public engagement with research and innovation strategy 2020 to 2025, there is a wish to increase the diversity of projects funded. Engagement must focus on the UK public. If international engagement is a by-product of the core engagement, this is deemed acceptable.

Applications must meet a minimum of two of the following objectives, meeting a minimum of one objective from section one and a second objective from either section one or two.

Section one

  • Convene public debate, with contemporary issues.
  • Build capacity of researchers to engage with the public.
  • Inspire public audiences with environmental science.

Section two

  • Engage the public with environmental science where new opportunities have arisen.
  • Trial innovative public engagement with environmental science approaches.
  • Leadership activities in public engagement with environmental science.

The team must include (as a main or co-applicant) a UK researcher based at an eligible research organisation (including universities, higher education institutes and research organisations) who is working within the NERC remit (but not necessarily funded by NERC). NERC welcomes applications from researchers and practitioners from a diverse range of backgrounds and experience, including the following groups:

  • Environmental science researchers, including early career researchers and PhD students. (PhD students are eligible to apply as the main applicant for this grant with permission from their PhD supervisor and DTP/CDT where applicable.)
  • Researchers across academic disciplines, or fields outside academia.
  • Public engagement specialists.
  • Community organisations, public groups or public-facing groups (eg learned societies, environment and diversity groups, charity members, community groups, local authorities and commercial companies providing a public service).
  • Business, third sector and government bodies.

The total fund budget is £96,000. Between £5,000 and £10,000 is available. Projects must be delivered between July 2022 and February 2023. NERC will fund 100% of the full economic cost. Funding requests may include staff resources, non-staff resources and certain childcare costs.

Applications must be submitted by the deadline of 18 May 2022 (16:00).

A webinar and question and answer session for applicants will take place on 27 April 2022 at 13:30. Interested parties are requested to email NERC for further information.

(This report was the subject of a RESEARCHconnect Newsflash.)