Grants awarded to train NERC researchers in making science more accessible

2 October 2017

NERC has awarded grants to seven UK research institutes to deliver training to NERC-funded researchers to help make their science more accessible to non-expert audiences.

People meeting around a table

The £350,000 investment is part of the Evidence Synthesis Training pilot scheme to develop and deliver training to PhD students and early career researchers. NERC research provides the independent evidence necessary to inform robust decision-making across a range of sectors, but this evidence can be presented in formats that are difficult to understand or use by non-expert audiences.

For the UK to get the most out of its investment in environmental research, we need to develop capacity in the NERC research community in the synthesis of evidence - the process of considering diverse, individual studies within a broader context, using a transparent methodology, to provide answers to particular questions. This approach provides a robust mechanism for translating research into evidence to inform decision-making for business, policy and research.

The training supported through this pilot scheme will be developed and delivered in collaboration with a range of partners who regularly make use of NERC research outputs to ensure that it meets the needs of our broader community.

Director of the Walker Institute at the University of Reading, Professor Rosalind Cornforth, leads the Climate Services Academy training course in collaboration with partners at the Uganda National Health Research Organisation, which has received funding as part of the pilot. She said:

At the Walker Institute we work directly with policy makers and practitioners on the ground in some of the world's most vulnerable places. We see first-hand how important it is to make sure we are building an effective evidence base and getting the relevant tools into practical use in routine decision-making.

Our climate is changing, and for sustainable, resilient development we need to ensure that the evidence base from climate science is integrated into decision-making processes. It is vital we train the next generation of researchers in this and deliver this training in partnership with national research and educational establishments that can grow and maintain this way of working.

The grants will start from 1 October 2017 and all training courses will be completed by the 31 March 2018. The grants awarded under the Evidence Synthesis Training pilot scheme are:

  • Collaboration for environmental evidence training opportunities. Principal Investigator: Dr Nicola Randall at Harper Adams University.
  • Evidence Synthesis Training pilot scheme. Principal investigator Mr James Miller at the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology.
  • Scientific evidence synthesis and policy implementation for environmental sciences. Principal Investigator: Professor Elena Kulinskaya at the University of East Anglia.
  • NERC Grantham Evidence Into Use. Principal Investigator: Professor Joanna Dorothy Haigh at Imperial College London.
  • Synthesising, analysing and interpreting diverse evidence and data in marine conservation and marine protected area management. Principal Investigator: Dr Richard Stafford at Bournemouth University.
  • The Climate Services Academy & training. Principal Investigator: Professor Rosalind Jane Cornforth at the University of Reading.
  • Evidence Synthesis Training for Environmental Policy (E-STEP) Program. Principal Investigator: Dr Alexandra Collins at Imperial College London.

Find further details of these awards at RCUK Gateway to Research website - external link under the call name Evidence Synthesis Training. Information for applicants interested in attending these courses will be available on the institutional websites of the award holders.

Further information

NERC Talent & Skills Team