Research centres

NERC supports four research centres. Our research centres provide leadership to the UK environmental science community and play significant and influential roles in international science collaborations.

The scale of polar science is immense; from insects and microbes studied under the microscope, to the continent-sized ice sheet best appreciated from satellite imagery.

Each year NERC invests around £38 million in the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) to deliver and enable world-leading interdisciplinary research in the polar regions.

BAS's skilled science and support staff based in Cambridge, Antarctica and the Arctic, work together to deliver research that uses the polar regions to advance our understanding of Earth as a sustainable planet. Through its extensive logistic capability and know-how, BAS facilitates access for the British and international science community to the UK polar research operation. Numerous national and international collaborations, combined with excellent infrastructure, help sustain a world-leading position for the UK in Antarctic affairs.

The NERC £15 million five-year Arctic Research Programme, launched in 2010 to address specific topics of scientific uncertainty in the Arctic region, is coordinated and managed at by British Antarctic Survey.

BAS employs over 400 staff. Facilities to support scientific and operational activities include laboratories and offices in Cambridge; two year-round Antarctic research stations - Rothera, Halley - and the summer-only Signy; two subantarctic stations on South Georgia; and the NERC Arctic research facility at Ny Alesund. Two research ships - RRS James Clark Ross and RRS Ernest Shackleton - and a fleet of five aircraft enable logistic support and access to the polar regions as well as supporting research missions elsewhere.

BAS logo

British Antarctic Survey
High Cross
Madingley Road
Cambridge
CB3 0ET

BAS website - external link
01223 221400
Fax 01223 362616

The British Geological Survey (BGS), founded in 1835, is the world's longest-established national geological survey and the UK's premier centre for Earth science information and expertise. BGS's annual budget is around £47 million, and approximately half of BGS's income comes from NERC. The remainder comes from commissioned research from the public and private sectors.

In addition to geological work in the UK, BGS has an extensive programme of overseas research, surveying and monitoring, including major programmes in the developing world. Much of this work is now won through competitive tendering.

BGS's headquarters are based at Keyworth, just outside Nottingham. They have regional offices in Edinburgh, Oxfordshire, London and Cardiff.

BGS logo

British Geological Survey
Kingsley Dunham Centre
Keyworth
Nottingham
NG12 5GG

BGS website - external link
0115 936 3100
Fax 0115 936 3200

The National Centre for Atmospheric Science (NCAS) is a world leader in atmospheric science. NCAS carry out research programmes in:

  • the science of climate change, including modelling and predictions;
  • atmospheric composition, including air quality;
  • weather, including hazardous weather;
  • technologies for observing and modelling the atmosphere.

NCAS provides national capability in atmospheric science research. The centre performs directed and multi-disciplinary research, using state-of-the-art technologies for observing and modelling the atmosphere.

Additionally, NCAS provide scientific facilities for scientists and researchers across the UK to enable excellent atmospheric science on a national scale. These include a world-leading research aircraft, ground-based instrumentation, access to computer models and facilities for storing and accessing data.

NCAS studentships in air quality & health

Information concerning NCAS coordinated NERC studentships in air quality and atmospheric chemistry and physics can be found on the NCAS website - external link

All queries and applications for research organisations interested in hosting these studentships should email

The main administrative centre is at the University of Leeds, however NCAS's three science directorates (climate, weather, atmospheric composition) and its four services and facilities are distributed across many UK universities and related institutions.

NCAS logo

National Centre for Atmospheric Science
NCAS Headquarters
School of Earth and Environment
University of Leeds
Leeds
LS2 9JT

NCAS website - external link
0113 3436408

The National Centre for Earth Observation (NCEO) is an established NERC research centre that provides NERC with national capability in earth observation science.

NCEO is building on the considerable expertise of the Centres of Excellence by using data from earth observation satellites to monitor global and regional changes in the environment so that we might predict future environmental conditions.

NCEO logo

The National Centre for Earth Observation
Michael Atiyah Building
The University of Leicester
University Road
Leicester
LE1 7RH

NCEO website - external link
0116 252 2016
Fax 0116 252 2464

Alternative NERC contact:

Simon Kerley
01793 411797