Highlight topics - Fourth round

30 November 2017

NERC invites proposals for the fourth round of highlight topics, a route for funding strategic research. Highlight topics focus strategic research on defined subject areas, and will be delivered through independent projects.

The highlight topics in this call are:

  1. Emerging risks from microplastics in the marine environment
  2. What is the 4PM? New understanding of soil organic carbon persistence to meet C offset targets
  3. Policy-relevant climate science to quantify and manage the risk of climate hazards
  4. Deep subsurface heat as a potential major future energy resource
  5. Multiphase evolution of volcanic emissions
  6. Preservation and potential of seafloor mineral resources
  7. The impact of light pollution on biological processes
  8. Understanding urban soil properties, functions, and below-ground inter-connections in delivery of ecosystem services
  9. Impacts of future ship traffic and emission regulations upon gas-phase chemistry, aerosol composition and radiative forcing in the North Atlantic and Arctic atmosphere
  10. Objective verification of national carbon budgets for assessing climate change mitigation measures

NERC has allocated £24 million to this call. Please refer to the individual highlight topic scope outlined in the Announcement of Opportunity for the maximum duration and budget limits per project. There are more highlight topics than funding is available for, so that all highlight topics will not, necessarily, result in funded grants. This is to ensure that only the very best research is funded.

If you intend to submit a proposal,  please complete the online notification of intent form, which must be received by 16:00 on 23 January 2018.

Proposals must be submitted via the research councils' Je-S system by 16:00 on 14 March 2018.

Please see the Announcement of Opportunity for full details.

Announcement of Opportunity (PDF, 269KB)


For eligibility, application process and peer review queries, please contact .

For scientific and remit queries, please contact .