Engaging environments: Public engagement funding announcement

13 June 2017

NERC is inviting proposals for public engagement consortium and capacity-building projects that aim to build a long-term, effective and innovative public engagement community, and support the formation of collaborative teams.

Group of people in discussion

These teams will then go on, in a second stage, to bid to lead one ambitious large-scale project that will achieve national impact and recognition in engaging the UK public with contemporary issues of environmental science. Projects can cost between £50,000 and £100,000 (at 80% full economic cost).

Public engagement has the power to make research more relevant to the society in which it sits. This is particularly topical in a time when environmental science research is so relevant to many debates around issues facing our society. Environmental science affects all of our lives, and solutions to many of the challenges we face now and in the future will rely heavily on whether science engages and works with people.

A recent public insights report showed that people had a strong appetite for information about environmental science research, and trust publicly-funded scientists to inform them.

Large-scale projects need to draw on expertise from many different fields and rely on strong networks.

Developing the ecosystem of public engagement in environmental science, and the meaningful relationships that this demands, will take time in order to develop ideas and become familiar with concerns, issues and the expertise of all parties. This call provides the investment of funding and time for these groups to change and develop.

Alison Robinson, NERC's Director of Corporate Affairs, said:

The launch of 'engaging environments' sees a big shift in realising our ambitions for public engagement in NERC. We're looking forward to supporting community-led, balanced and informed debate about some of the topical and relevant issues from across the NERC portfolio.

This call builds on learning from the 2016 funding round, where NERC backed 18 projects to engage the UK public with environmental science around challenging issues and the outputs of a community consultation workshop.

The closing date for proposals is 16:00 on 25 July 2017. The projects will begin in October 2017 and will run for one year. Further details and an Announcement of Opportunity can be found on the NERC public engagement webpages.

Further information

Hannah King
Public Engagement Officer
01793 411572


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, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS).