Seventh Call Announced for NERC Highlight Topics

The Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) is investing £16 million in the seventh (2021) round of the Highlight Topics initiative, which is a route for funding research that focuses on environmental challenges in defined topic areas.

The highlight topics in the seventh call are:

Ionosphere at multiple scales: scientific exploitation of the new EISCAT_3D radar.

Using system-wide approaches to understand and use environmental barriers to restrict or manage the spread of current and future zoonotic pathogens.

Creating resilient, productive and healthy urban environments through a novel understanding of ecosystem processes.

Drivers and climate implications of recent rapid loss of Antarctic sea ice.

Urban climate feedbacks between street, neighbourhood and city scale processes.

Understanding the environmental basis for prevention of zoonotic pathogen emergence.

The topics are considered to be equal priority. Proposals must address issues within a single highlight topic; proposals addressing more than one highlight topic will not be accepted. Where multiple proposals are invited within a highlight topic, they must be independent projects that deliver as stand-alone proposals.

Projects are required to have a Principal Investigator based in a UK research organisation eligible for UKRI funding (ie approved higher education institutions, research council institutes and independent research organisations). NERC individual eligibility rules apply (refer to Section C of the NERC research grant and fellowships handbook).

Up to £16 million is available in total for the seventh call. The maximum value for proposals under each topic area is either up to £2 million or up to £4 million (at 80% full economic cost) for up to four years. Funding levels and duration depend on the highlight topic chosen.

There is a two-stage application process: a Notification of Intent followed by a full proposal. The Notification of Intent will not be assessed, but NERC will use the information to plan the proposal assessment. Full proposals submitted without a prior Notification of Intent will be rejected.

The Notification of Intent deadline is 18 February 2021 (16:00) and the full application deadline is 25 March 2021 (16:00).

More information about this research funding opportunity and the application process is available on the RESEARCHconnect funding information platform. RESEARCHconnect provides up-to-the minute content, insight and analysis on research funding news and policy. To find out more about how RESEARCHconnect can keep you in the know, and subscription fees, contact us today.