Sustainable Management of UK Marine Resources

Surface of the sea with sun

The Sustainable Management of UK Marine Resources programme aims to improve understanding of societal perspectives and behaviours concerning the marine environment, and integrate this into systems-based approaches that support the development and analysis of interventions and inform effective decision-making for marine management and policy development.

At the same time, the programme will aim to achieve an enduring step change in the capability of the marine transdisciplinary research community to work more closely with stakeholders, including policymakers, industry and the public.

The programme is a £12 million collaboration led by NERC, with the Economic & Social Research Council.

Announcement of Opportunity: Sustainable Management of UK Marine Resources

Closing date: 20 Oct

18 Sep 2020

Update – 1. The call closing date has been extended to the 20 October 2020. Proposals must be submitted by 16:00 on this date and no late applications will be accepted.
2. In anticipation of a large number of proposals being submitted to this Call, UKRI will now be introducing a pre-score for excellence stage to the Peer Review process in order that the business of the panel can be effectively managed.
3. The start date for successful proposals has changed from 15 May 2021 to 10 August 2021.

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There is growing reliance on the seas for resources. Over three billion people depend on marine biodiversity for their livelihoods and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation & Development projects the 'ocean economy' to double to around $3 trillion by 2030. For the UK, it is estimated that the marine sector is worth around £47 billion gross value added, with strong growth predicted in offshore renewables and aquaculture sectors. At the same time, the marine environment is under increasing pressure from stressors such as warming, acidification, over-fishing and pollution. Furthermore, our coastal environments are at increasing risk from sea-level rise and severe weather events and a reduction in the natural protection afforded by, for example, beaches and seagrass beds.

This is a transformative period for the UK marine landscape, with opportunities and challenges arising from changing international governance, the drive to increase economic activity, and changing climate. Healthy oceans and seas promote economic, social and environmental prosperity, and support coastal communities, jobs, livelihoods and food security. In order to fully capitalise on these opportunities, it is necessary to develop transparent and public accounting of the benefits, goods and services that the ocean provides, and to identify and assess policy gaps, needs and best practice.

This programme will deliver:

  • scalable, adaptive solutions for marine management and policy development that enable intelligent regulation based on evidence-based understanding of trade-offs
  • an enduring step change in the capability of the marine interdisciplinary research community and its close working on solutions with stakeholders, including policymakers, industry and the public.

This programme aims provide opportunities to break down barriers between academic disciplines and between science and policy, and to establish a strong interdisciplinary community focusing on further developing and strengthening interdisciplinary approaches already used with some success to support decision-making in both marine and terrestrial domains, including social science / economic approaches and methodologies in natural capital accounting.

It will fill a gap in understanding the importance to the economy and to society of different components of marine natural capital and the services they underpin, enabling more comprehensive evaluation of the trade-off potential under different management scenarios and identifying interventions that will improve the marine environment and produce sustainable and resilient outcomes.


2019 - 2024

Can I apply for a grant?

Not at this time


£12 million

Champion budget - £850k at 80% FEC

The governance of the Sustainable Management of UK Marine Resources programme encompasses a number of different bodies which undertake different roles.

Programme Executive Board

The Programme Executive Board is responsible for providing the strategic direction for the programme, the delivery of the programme’s objectives and is the ultimate decision-making authority for the programme. It comprises the programme’s delivery partners as follows:

  • UKRI-NERC (co-Chair)
  • UKRI-ESRC (co-Chair)


The Secretary, based at NERC Head Office, provides administrative support to the Programme Board.