Council transition to the new Funding Service – NERC

In 2023, applicants to the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and other councils will be making applications via the UKRI Funding Service rather than via the Joint Electronic Submission (Je-S) system. This is in line with the Simpler and Better Funding (SBF) programme.

UK Research and Innovation’s (UKRI) principles of assessment and decision making will continue to underpin our peer review policies and processes during and after the transition to the Funding Service.

The transition to the Funding Service will not affect NERC budgets in 2023, and the commitments made in NERC’s strategic delivery plan do not change.

Responsive mode funding opportunities

To find out about core responsive mode application questions and assessment criteria for the Funding Service, see how applicants use the UKRI Funding Service.

As NERC discovery science funding opportunities (pushing the frontiers and large grants) are launched on the Funding Service, we will use the UKRI Funding Service assessment criteria as the basis for NERC’s approach.

You will recognise many similarities in these new questions to those currently used by NERC, including those introduced for the pushing the frontiers funding scheme.

Where required, some NERC funding opportunities will have additional opportunity-specific assessment criteria. All assessment criteria will be published on the funding finder, and we will make assessment criteria explicit and clear for each funding opportunity.

Pushing the Frontiers funding opportunities closing in July 2023 and January 2024

These NERC responsive mode funding opportunities will launch on the Funding Service and will use most of the core responsive mode questions.

NERC has already reduced the information we request at the application submission stage to focus on information required for the expert review and assessment process. This is in line with the recommendations from the Tickell Review on reducing research bureaucracy.

Piloting variation of costs and resources question

NERC will additionally pilot a variation on the standard question relating to costs and resources in the Funding Service. We are doing so to explore how and if it is possible to reduce the burden of providing detailed cost information up front.

The application will include an indication of the likely cost of the project by selecting one cost range:

  • up to £800,000
  • £800,000 to £1 million
  • £1 million to £2 million

Most applications are expected to be under £1 million. We recognise that a small number of projects have exceptional costs that require the budget to exceed the £1 million limit. A third option (£1 million to £2 million) is available to recognise this limited number of cases. No further information on costs will be submitted at the time of application.

Once a decision is made on applications that are in the funding frame, we will request further details about the funding required under each fund heading and justification for those costs from those applicants only.

Ask a question about the SBF programme

If you would like to ask a question about the UKRI SBF programme, please contact:


Telephone: 01793 547490

Last updated: 21 November 2023

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