UK environmental science best in the world

18 April 2018

A recent report showed that UK environmental science ranks top amongst research-intensive countries around the globe. Further analysis now shows that NERC-funded science outperforms the UK environmental research average.

Graphic of the Earth showing the UK

The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) commissions regular reports comparing the performance of research across different countries. The most recent report was conducted by Elsevier and published in 2017. It showed that UK environmental research ranked first amongst research-intensive nations for citation impact - a measure of research quality.

To compare between countries, the Elsevier analysis calculates the world average for citation impact and gives that a score of 1·0. A score higher than 1·0 means higher than world average. The Elsevier report shows UK environmental science had an average citation impact score of 1·5 - that is above every other research-intensive country.

We then conducted further analysis on journal articles associated with NERC-funded grants and NERC research centre programmes. The analysis showed that, overall, the NERC-funded science scored 2·0.

We also found that the work we support is highly collaborative. For example, 62% of NERC-funded publications included international co-authors in 2015.

Executive Chair of NERC Professor Duncan Wingham said:

The report reflects that UK environmental science harnesses the world's best scientists and knowledge to solve complex environmental, economic and societal challenges.

Further information

Sylvie Kruiniger
External Communications Officer


1. The data for the NERC analysis were derived from InCites prepared by Clarivate Analytics (previously Thomson Reuters).