2010 Review of Skills Needs in the Environment Sector

In the coming years, the UK will need to plug skills gaps or it risks running short of people with the necessary skills to tackle urgent problems such as environmental risks to human health and safe carbon capture and storage.

Between 2008-2010, NERC led the Review of Skills Needs in the Environment Sector on behalf of the Environment Research Funders' Forum (ERFF). In total, the review identified 224 skills needed by businesses, government and academics working on issues connected with the natural environment.

In particular, it identified 15 critical skills that are in short supply. These include hard-edged skills, such as numeracy, computer modelling and field research, and softer skills, such as translating research into plain language to make it more easy to understand.

The review also explains why such skills are so badly needed - for example, to enable the UK to develop and apply new technologies, respond to the impacts of climate change and extreme weather, and improve our knowledge and understanding of environmental issues.

All the outputs from the review are set out below. These are just the first part of what will be an ongoing process for NERC, to refresh the work.

The outputs of this report were refreshed during the 2012 Skills Review.

Review outputs

The Summary Report

'Most Wanted' ERFF Report Number 7.

'Most Wanted' summary report (PDF, 7.2MB)

The Skills Framework

Summary of all the postgraduate and professional skills needs for the environment sector.

Skills Framework (PDF, 779KB)

Overview and outputs paper


  1. Overview
  2. Guide to the Skills Framework for the environment sector
  3. The Skills Framework for the environment sector
  4. The Postgraduate and Professional Skills Needs Inventory
  5. Report on additional feedback from the consultation
  6. Report on the methodology
  7. The way forward

Overview and outputs paper (PDF, 461KB)

Annexes paper


  1. Membership of the project board
  2. Membership of the review group
  3. Glossary
  4. Documentation for the public consultation
  5. Respondents to the public consultation
  6. Hierarchy of drivers, topics and challenges
  7. Bibliography
  8. Record of methodology used to analyse responses
  9. Documentation for review group input

Annexes paper (PDF, 1.3MB)

Note: ERFF has now merged with the Living With Environmental Change (LWEC) partnership. Further information on LWEC is available from the LWEC website - external link.