Research centres

NERC supports six 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

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
NG12 5GG

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

The Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (CEH) is a world-class research organisation focusing on land and freshwater ecosystems and their interaction with the atmosphere.

CEH integrates UK-wide observation and curiosity driven research, from the smallest scale of genetic diversity to large-scale, whole Earth systems. Their long-term monitoring, analysis and modelling deliver UK and global environmental data, providing early warnings of change and management solutions for our land and freshwaters. These range from evaluating the causes of change in biodiversity stock and function, forecasting floods, identifying an addressing the impacts of pollution and climate change, to safeguarding UK soils and carbon stocks. Their work also includes developing decision support tools for the sustainable intensification of agriculture and the management of ecosystem services and water resources.

CEH has four research sites located in England, Scotland and Wales. Its annual budget is around £34 million. NERC provides over £21 million; the rest is from external funding.

CEH logo

Centre for Ecology & Hydrology
Maclean Building
Benson Lane
Crowmarsh Gifford
OX10 8BB

CEH website - external link
01491 838800
Fax 01491 692424

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

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

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

Alternative NERC contact:

Simon Kerley
01793 411797

The National Oceanography Centre (NOC) is a national research organisation, delivering integrated marine science and technology from the coast to the deep ocean, working in partnership with the UK marine research community.

Wholly owned by NERC, the NOC was formed by bringing together the NERC-managed activity at Liverpool's Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory and the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton, creating the UK's leading institution for sea-level science, coastal and deep-ocean research and technology development.

The centre works in close partnership with institutions across the UK marine science community addressing key science challenges including sea-level change, the oceans' role in climate change, predicting and simulating the behaviour of the oceans through computer modelling, development, the future of the Arctic Ocean and long-term monitoring technologies.

The NOC works with many organisations and partners to help deliver national capability through major research facilities, mapping, data management and programmes of sustained observing.

NOC logo

National Oceanography Centre, Southampton
University of Southampton Waterfront Campus
European Way
SO14 3ZH

National Oceanography Centre, Liverpool
Joseph Proudman Building
6 Brownlow Street
L3 5DA

NOC website - external link
0238 059 6666 (Southampton)
0151 795 4800 (Liverpool)