NERC Launches Call to Explore the Frontiers of Environmental Science Research

Grants are available to adventurous researchers to carry out curiosity-driven, high-risk, high-reward environmental science projects within the NERC remit.

The Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) is funding ambitious, curiosity-driven, high-risk, high-reward environmental science projects through a new round of its Pushing the Frontiers of Environmental Science Research call. The scheme will support adventurous researchers who have curiosity and imagination to enable discoveries that unlock new knowledge.

NERC is seeking proposals that can support pure, applied, technology-led or policy-driven research but still address, or provide the means to address, clearly defined scientific questions. The research must sit predominantly within NERC’s remit.

Multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary research projects are welcomed, as are those that can be designed, supported and delivered in partnership with other research funders and research users.

Projects are required to have a Principal Investigator (PI) based in a UK research organisation eligible for UKRI funding (ie approved higher education institutions, research council institutes, independent research organisations and public sector research establishments). NERC individual eligibility rules apply.

Application can be made as a research group or an individual. PIs must be employed at lecturer (or equivalent) level or above. PIs and Co-Investigators can be at any career stage. Investigators may be involved in no more than two proposals and only one of these may be as the Principal Investigator.

The research project must address a significant environmental science question, but NERC welcomes proposals from applicants that can demonstrate a capability to collaborate with experts from other disciplines to generate innovative research.

Multidisciplinary research and collaborations with other UK organisations are encouraged. International and non-academic collaborators can be involved as project partners.

The scheme’s total budget is £25.5 million. The full economic cost of the project can be up to £1 million, though more can be requested in exceptional cases. NERC will fund 80% of the full economic cost. Justified equipment costs will be funded at 100%.

There is no defined project duration, but awards usually last between three and four years.

Applications must be submitted by the deadline of 17 January 2023 (16:00).

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