Call for ideas for strategic research highlight topics for environmental solutions to COVID-19

NERC invites highlight topic ideas (strategic funding for research and innovation) to encourage environmental solutions that learn from the COVID-19 pandemic, and in doing so support the UK environment, economy and society to recover from COVID-19 legacy challenges.

Ideas can come from any individual or group, and any part of the environmental science community (including researchers and those who use environmental science research). Once an idea is sent to NERC, the proposer relinquishes ownership of that idea and transfers it to NERC. NERC may choose to publish or share material received.

Please refer to the generic guidance below, which explains what we are looking for in a highlight topic idea in more detail.

Guidance for developing and submitting ideas for strategic research (PDF, 180KB)

Ideas for new highlight topics related to environmental solutions to COVID-19 legacy issues should be submitted by 1600 BST 23 July 2020 using the online submission form.

Ideas will have a lifetime of a single round to ensure they remain timely. All submitters of ideas will receive feedback, and we encourage the community to use this feedback and the ideas guidance to decide whether to resubmit ideas for future rounds.

Ideas received by the previous 14 May 2020 cut-off will be considered alongside the new ideas submitted. New submissions NOT related to COVID-19 legacy challenges will not be considered.

Cut-off dates

Please note that timings are indicative only and so may change.

HT timetable

  • Cut-off date for HT COVID-19 ideas - 1600 BST 23 July 2020
  • New HTs announced, feedback on ideas available - November 2020


NERC encourages ideas from all parts of the environmental science community and NERC staff are available to discuss potential ideas and provide advice. If you have any queries on the process or would like advice on a potential idea please contact us at in the first instance, and we will put you in touch with a NERC colleague who can help.