Public policy

Scientist in laboratory

The issue

To develop and implement robust, sustainable policies, it is critical that the evidence used is of the highest possible quality, independent and unbiased, and is critically analysed and evaluated.

Professor Ian Boyd, the Defra chief scientific advisor recognises that "science is an essential component of policymaking in most areas of government"[1], however research findings can only be used to inform policies if researchers and policymakers cooperate closely to understand specific needs, ensure relevance of topics, and communicate effectively and openly.

NERC works with the academic research base and key policymaking and implementing organisations to inform the direction of novel strategic research investments and to translate the expertise and knowledge of our scientists for tangible, real world utilisation. NERC works with policymakers to ensure that high quality evidence is placed at the heart of policymaking.

Who should be interested?

NERC research is applicable across the whole range of public policy and government departments. Other interested organisations could be those who seek to influence public policy, NGOs, think tanks and those with an interest in policy evidence and analysis.

Current activities

Policy-relevant activities span across all NERC's priority areas and details of specific initiatives can be found within our research programmes and innovation activities.

NERC is funding a new Policy Evidence Programme, the Environmental Evidence for our Future (EEF) initiative, which will pave the way to addressing crucial challenges and exciting opportunities that present from the UK leaving the European Union, including optimising sustainable environmental management and ensuring the resilience of our ecosystems and the quality of our water and air.

NERC is developing strategic partnerships with policy bodies to identify and deliver the needs of the partner organisation under an efficient and mutually-beneficial long-term framework.

NERC also works with the Research & Innovation for our Dynamic Environment (RIDE) Forum - a partnership building links, designing and funding joint activities and engaging with multiple policy partners that have a stake in environmental change research, innovation, training and capabilities.

See examples of how NERC science has directly informed policy.


UK Partnerships team

  1. Boyd. eLife 2013;2:e01061. DOI: 10.7554/eLife.01061 - (PDF) - external link -