Strategy and goals


The environment is everyone's business. We depend on it for shelter, heat, light, food and water - all provided by globally interconnected trade, transport and communications.

People around the world aspire to escape poverty and improve living standards: achieving this whilst living within the Earth's limits is a great challenge of the 21st century and NERC science has a critical role to play in meeting it.

We do this by investing in excellent, peer-reviewed science, often designed and delivered in partnership - with our academic community, business and the public and third sectors.

Our research meets society's needs through discovery science - driven by curiosity - and strategic research that addresses some major challenges of the 21st century: how we can benefit from finite natural resources, build resilience to environmental hazards and manage environmental change.

Read our strategy publication The Business of the Environment.

Our goals

To fund excellent, peer reviewed science that helps us:

  • understand and predict how our planet works
  • manage our environment responsibly as we pursue new ways of living, doing business, escaping poverty and growing economies.

We will foster UK and international partnerships so that business, government, civil society and scientists can work together to:

  • address the challenges and opportunities of managing the environment
  • co-design and co-deliver new environmental science
  • find and apply existing scientific knowledge
  • drive UK innovation, economic growth and societal wellbeing.

Making it happen

Our strategy is built on partnerships. We design and deliver our science with other funders, including our sister research councils, and with partners in the public, private and third sectors.

To ensure our science supports UK ambitions for growth and improved public wellbeing, we:

  • fund excellent, peer-reviewed discovery and strategy research
  • broker strategic partnerships with leading businesses, bringing them together with researchers, government and NGOs to address their innovation needs
  • invest in world-class skills, with a focused programme of postgraduate training to sustain the flow of top talent and skills for UK science, business and government
  • invest in UK national capability that provides long-term, large-scale monitoring and observation, and supports rapid response and national good services
  • pool our resources with other nations, agreeing international research priorities and sharing resources to tackle them.

We manage our assets and administration to deliver our strategy efficiently, and continuously monitor our progress toward our goals so we achieve value for money with scarce public funds.