Strategic research - NERC



NERC’s strategic research funding supports research into environmental areas of major economic and societal importance. It aims to address key science challenges and priorities for the 21st century.

NERC plans strategic research funding opportunities via its science committee, which uses ideas from the community on where strategic research should be targeted.

Once strategic research funding opportunities have been agreed, the community are asked to respond with grant proposals.

There are three types of strategic research funding:

  • Highlight topics: funding opportunities once a year, requesting proposals for large-size grants to address one of a defined list of strategic topics.
  • NERC strategic programme areas: there will be one or more funding opportunity per programme, requesting proposals for grants to address specific aspects of the programme’s objectives.
  • Partnerships and Opportunities: when NERC contributes to strategic activities led by other funders, our partners may publish and manage the funding opportunity.

Until 2014, strategic research was funded primarily through NERC’s research programmes, many of which remain active and continue to offer funding opportunities.

See current research programmes.

Last updated: 10 July 2023

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