What to include in your application - NERC


Common causes of application rejection

You should ensure that your application follows all the presentation and Joint Electronic Submissions (Je-S) system submission requirements detailed in the NERC research grant and fellowships handbook.

Any application which does not follow these rules will be rejected. NERC will not return any applications for amendment.

Formatting requirements

The requirement for grant applications to be completed in font size 11 is designed to ensure that all documents are accessible and easy to read.

We enforce this policy to ensure all applicants have the same amount of space in which to make their case.

If applicants cannot use Arial font and are unsure whether the font type they plan to use will meet NERC guidelines, then they should contact the NERC grants team at researchgrants@nerc.ukri.org before submitting their application.

It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that font size and margins remain the same when documents are converted to a PDF.

Reasons for rejection


Instructions on the funding opportunity for maximum page length, font type and size have not been adhered to.

Investigators and staff

A project lead (principal investigator in Je-S) or project co-lead (co-investigator in Je-S) named on more than the maximum permitted number of applications. The decision on which applications to reject will be made by NERC.

Note: involvement of a UK investigator in an application submitted to the National Science Foundation (NSF) under the NERC or NSF lead agency agreement, counts as a submission as project co-lead (co-investigator) to the next NERC pushing the frontiers grant round.

A project lead or project co-lead who is ineligible or who is based at an ineligible organisation.

Researchers (including researcher co-investigators) not employed at the same organisation as a project lead or co-lead.


Application exceeds the maximum for the round when all components are added together (£1,000,000 at 100% FEC for pushing the frontiers grant rounds, except where permission to exceed the maximum has been received from NERC).

The maximum is not validated by Je-S, so you should check costings across all components before submission.


Applying as part of an application with international partners recognised by NERC (for example, FAPESP (Brazil) or NSF (US)) without either submitting the required additional documents, or without contacting the lead agency in advance, where required.

Funding opportunity

Submitting to the wrong funding opportunity is not validated by Je-S, so you should check that all submitted components have selected the correct funding opportunity in Je-S.


Requesting facility use where permission to use the facility has expired (not applicable to all facilities and permission length varies between facilities).

Demand management

An organisation submitting more applications than permitted under demand management guidelines. Applications submitted over and above the permitted number will be rejected based on a last submitted, first rejected approach.


Application falls out of NERC’s remit.


The application is a resubmission of a similar application less than nine months from the original submission date.

Last updated: 15 June 2023

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