NERC publishes its latest Delivery Plan, covering 2016 to 2020

4 May 2016

NERC has published its latest Delivery Plan, which lays out budgets and investment priorities for the period 2016-20.

Montage picture: low emmissions road sign, stormy sea and harvesting a wheat field

Recognising that science is vital to our country's prosperity, security and wellbeing, the government is providing real terms stability for overall research funding from 2016 to 2020.

Each year NERC will invest around £290 million in resource and £34 million capital in world class labs, plus additional capital in large research infrastructure. We will focus our investment where environmental science enhances prosperity, security and wellbeing in the UK and globally.

The new Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF, £1·5 billion over five years) combines UK aid or official development assistance (ODA) and research objectives. As a new budget outside the research councils, GCRF provides a powerful and exciting opportunity for the UK's world-leading environmental scientists, in partnership with other disciplines, to address major challenges facing the developing world.

NERC will manage its budgets to support an environmental science base that balances:

  • UK and international priorities
  • single and multi-disciplinary research
  • discovery science and strategically directed research
  • the diversity of environmental science disciplines, sectors and research centres.

To achieve these balances NERC will review and evolve its budget processes and allocations as the implications of the new GCRF emerge.

Further information

Tamera Jones
NERC media office
01793 411561
07917 557215


1. NERC is the UK's main agency for funding and managing research, training and knowledge exchange in the environmental sciences. Our work covers the full range of atmospheric, Earth, biological, terrestrial and aquatic science, from the deep oceans to the upper atmosphere and from the poles to the equator. We coordinate some of the world's most exciting research projects, tackling major issues such as climate change, environmental influences on human health, the genetic make-up of life on Earth, and much more. NERC is a non-departmental public body. We receive around £330 million of annual funding from the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS).

2. NERC's research centres - the British Antarctic Survey, the British Geological Survey, the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, the National Centre for Atmospheric Science, the National Centre for Earth Observation and the National Oceanography Centre.

3. NERC supports:

  1. 3,000 scientists & 1,000 PhD students
  2. 1,000 research projects and 60 UK or international programmes
  3. 55 universities and 20 research institutes
  4. UK national capability: four ships, seven aircraft, six polar bases, six data centres and 32 community facilities.