Funding opportunity

Funding opportunity: Biological influence on future ocean storage of carbon

Apply for funding to contribute toward a new understanding of key processes regulating ocean carbon storage. You will deliver cutting edge observations by taking advantage of NERC ship-time available via the programme’s cruise plan and state-of-the-art technologies, particularly autonomous systems and novel sensing methods.

You must be based at a UK research organisation eligible for NERC funding.

The full economic cost of your project can be up to £2,375,000. NERC will fund 80% of the full economic cost for most UK costs.

Projects must start by November 2023 and will be funded for up to 36 months.

Who can apply

Normal individual eligibility applies. Check if you are eligible for funding.

Principal investigators and co-investigators must meet the eligibility criteria in section C of the NERC research grants and fellowships handbook.

Principal investigators based outside the UK are not permitted. Co-investigators must be based in the UK, except for 2 current exceptions:

Co-investigators based in the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) and in eligible organisations in Norway can be included under specific agreements:

All costs related to these 2 international co-investigator agreements would be funded at 100% of eligible direct costs only. The maximum amount that can be requested for all international costs is 30% of the total full economic cost of the project.

Funding cannot be requested for other non-UK collaborators (beyond allowable incidental expenses), who would need to be involved as a project partner.

Applications from organisations or individuals that are not eligible will be rejected without reference to panel review.

Proposals must include more than 1 institution.

Applicants may be involved in no more than 2 proposals submitted to this funding opportunity. Only 1 of these may be as the lead principal investigator. Only those applicants invited to submit full proposals, after the assessment of outline proposals, may do so.

We strongly encourage the inclusion of early career researchers through this opportunity. The inclusion of researcher co-investigators is also encouraged where they have made a substantial intellectual contribution to the development of the application and will be engaged with the ensuing research.

Equality, diversity and inclusion

NERC is committed to achieving equity of opportunity for all funding applicants. We encourage applications from a diverse range of researchers.

We support people to work in a way that suits their personal circumstances. This includes:

  • career breaks
  • support for people with caring responsibilities
  • flexible working
  • alternative working patterns

Find out more about equality, diversity and inclusion at UKRI and NERC’s diversity and inclusion action plan.

What we're looking for


The ocean stores huge amounts of carbon dioxide that would otherwise be in the atmosphere. Marine organisms play a critical role in this process, but emerging evidence indicates that climate models are not fully accounting for their impact. This undermines carbon policies, such as national net zero targets.

This biological influence on future ocean storage of carbon (BIO-Carbon) research programme is carefully designed to produce new understanding of biological processes. It will provide robust predictions of future ocean carbon storage in a changing climate.

The World Climate Research Programme (WCRP), which coordinates climate research internationally and is sponsored by United Nations (UN) organisations, has expressed its greatest priorities as 3 questions.

This programme will address 2 of those questions:

  • what biological and abiological processes drive and control ocean carbon storage?
  • can and will climate-carbon feedbacks amplify climate changes over the 21st century?

Programme challenges

There are 3 interlinked programme challenges, which will address three aspects of biological influence:

Challenge 1: how does marine life affect the potential for seawater to absorb carbon dioxide, and how will this change?

The ability of the ocean to absorb carbon dioxide is influenced by its alkalinity. Reducing alkalinity pushes more of the dissolved carbon in seawater into the form of carbon dioxide. This reduces the capacity of the ocean to take up further carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Seawater alkalinity is influenced by a range of natural processes. The most important of these is the biological production of calcium carbonate (for example, by molluscs and fish), which removes alkalinity from seawater. As the calcium carbonate sinks, it dissolves, and the alkalinity is returned to the seawater.

Maintaining the vertical distribution of alkalinity fundamentally sets the capacity of our oceans to take up carbon dioxide. However, estimates of global ocean calcium carbonate production, vertical transport and dissolution vary by up to a factor of 5.

This uncertainty is important because failure to reproduce alkalinity accurately in a climate model significantly impacts future projections of ocean carbon dioxide uptake and storage.

Examples of significant knowledge gaps relating to key processes include:

  • what organisms are producing highly soluble carbonates in the surface ocean, and where?
  • which forms of calcium carbonate are dissolving where in the ocean?
  • what are the factors involved in the dissolution of different forms of carbonate, and what is their sensitivity to the anticipated impacts of climate change?

Challenge 2: how will the rate at which marine life converts dissolved carbon dioxide into organic carbon change?

Primary production by marine phytoplankton converts a similar amount of carbon dioxide into organic material each year as do all land plants combined.

Climate models cannot constrain this crucial global flux to within a factor of 3 for the contemporary climate, which points to major gaps in understanding.

Furthermore, uncertainty about our estimates for how oceanic primary production will change under climate warming has increased, rather than lessened, this decade. Whether global primary production will increase or decrease is unknown.

Primary production is strongly influenced by ocean warming and the availability of light and nutrients. However, the contributions of changes in these drivers to trends across climate models are poorly constrained.

The importance of organism interactions and metabolism, and their associated demands for carbon and other resources, is neglected by climate models. This is despite emerging observational indications of their significance.

Examples of knowledge gaps relating to key processes, operating across different scales, include:

  • what controls the efficiency of primary production?
  • what are the contributions of nutrient recycling and the consumption of phytoplankton by zooplankton to this efficiency?
  • how do these processes vary across different ocean environments, and how might future change, such as warming and acidification, affect them?

Challenge 3: how will climate change-induced shifts in respiration by the marine ecosystem affect the future ocean storage of carbon?

Organic carbon produced in the upper ocean cannot be returned to the atmosphere until it is converted back into carbon dioxide by the respiration of marine organisms.

Deeper ocean respiration supports longer carbon storage as it takes longer to return to the ocean surface and make contact with the atmosphere.

We still have poor understanding of how respiration varies with depth, location or season. We know it reflects the diversity of the organisms, from bacteria attached to sinking dead material to fish migrating daily between the surface and the ocean interior.

We also know that these organisms are responding to anthropogenic changes, such as changes in temperature which affect the metabolism of organisms.

In addition, existing models only reproduce a limited selection of relevant processes, with no consistency in that selection across models.

Examples of significant knowledge gaps relating to key processes affected by climate change include:

  • what is the relative influence of size, shape and composition of non-living organic material in determining the rate at which it is converted back to carbon dioxide?
  • what are the relative magnitudes of the carbon dioxide generated by bacterial degradation of non-living organic matter and that respired directly by other organisms?
  • how might ongoing changes in the environment (for example, to oxygen or temperature) affect respiration?


In addressing challenges 1, 2 and 3, the programme’s research will provide a fundamental understanding of key biological processes that are globally relevant.

By encapsulating this new knowledge in a robust modelling framework, it will examine the resulting feedback on future predictions for how global ocean carbon storage may change.

Additionally, it will provide new parameterisations of key processes for inclusion in the next generation of climate models, and ‘emergent constraints’ to identify clearly erroneous forecasts.

The use of emergent constraints has been successfully applied to other areas of climate science, such as a constraint on climate sensitivity provided by air temperature variability or cloud feedbacks. However, it is yet to be adopted widely in marine science.

Geographic focus

The BIO-Carbon programme aims to highlight the importance of international waters to discussions on carbon policy.

All BIO-Carbon proposals for this funding opportunity are therefore required to focus research on processes that are globally relevant, in waters:

  • within the open ocean water column
  • beyond the continental shelf break
  • where the seafloor is typically at a depth greater than 1,000 metres

BIO-Carbon programme’s fieldwork projects funded through this opportunity will be focused in the North Atlantic. More detailed information on the geographic focus of the BIO-Carbon cruise plan will be made available in March 2023, shortly after a community workshop. The geographic focus of cruise plan will be limited by the need to efficiently use BIO-Carbon’s allocated ship-time and budget for National Marine Facilities support costs. For more information on the workshop see the ‘Additional information’ section.


The outcomes of this research programme will:

  • enhance our understanding of key biological processes that affect how carbon storage by the global ocean will change in the future
  • significantly improve global ocean carbon budget projections, to better inform policy development and decision making in support of net zero ambitions
  • provide new parameterisations of key processes and emergent constraints on global model behaviour for use in simulations feeding into the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) seventh assessment report
  • implement new parameterisations and constraints in a suite of global models. This will provide a robust assessment to 2100 of the biologically associated changes in global ocean carbon storage, and their sensitivity to key processes identified by this programme. This assessment should be suitable for inclusion in IPCC’s seventh assessment report
  • provide a significant UK contribution to the UN Ocean Decade outcome for ‘A predicted ocean’ by improving our ability to model oceanic responses under anthropogenic influence
  • address 2 priorities of the WCRP’s grand challenge on carbon feedbacks in the climate system

Apply for funding

Apply to this stage 1b opportunity for funding to contribute toward a new understanding of key processes regulating ocean carbon storage. Proposals should deliver cutting edge observations by taking advantage of NERC ship-time available via the programme’s cruise plan and state-of-the-art technologies, particularly autonomous systems and novel sensing methods. Creation and deployment of new moorings is outside the scope of this funding opportunity.

Alongside this funding opportunity, the Net Zero Oceanographic Capability (NZOC) programme will provide proposals with an additional opportunity to build an enhanced use of autonomous platforms into their science plans. This NZOC science mission will be primarily shore launched and linked where possible to the programme’s cruise plan. Further details on the NZOC science mission and a webinar to inform development of science plans will be made available on the BIO-Carbon website on 18 January 2023. The webinar will take place on 31 January 2023. Proposals utilising the NZOC opportunity are encouraged to consider use of multiple vehicles.

Proposals should focus primarily on 1 of the programme’s 3 challenges. Proposals are however encouraged to additionally address aspects of the other 2 challenges, where complementary.

Applicants should ensure that they are aware of relevant previous and current research to avoid duplication and ensure that their proposal is focused on delivering leading edge research. Applicants are strongly encouraged to liaise with stage 1a projects to take advantage of their findings.

In addition to the usual scientific outputs, stage 1b projects will be required to make their preliminary findings available to inform the development of modelling project proposals addressing the next round of funding opportunities in stage 2. Applicants are therefore required to include a statement on how their projects will contribute to the development of these stage 2 proposals (see ‘Additional information’ section).

Proposals are required to include a section that clearly outlines the intended outcomes of the project and how they will make a significant contribution towards delivering the programme’s overall aims.

Cruise programme


A community workshop will take place on 7 to 8 March 2023 to discuss the cruise plan for the BIO-Carbon programme, and more widely to support development of proposals. Outputs from the programme’s stage 1a gap analysis project will be presented to inform cruise planning discussions at this workshop. Other stage 1a projects will also present preliminary results relevant to stage 1b.

Proposers are encouraged to attend this workshop.

Science plans

Proposals are required to develop science plans that take advantage of the BIO-carbon cruise plan, which will be confirmed by NERC shortly after the workshop. This plan will be informed by discussions at the workshop and advice from the BIO-Carbon Programme Advisory Group (PAG). The confirmed BIO-Carbon cruise plan will be made available in mid-March to those who have submitted a notification of intent.

In the first instance, principal investigators should approach the programme champion, Adrian Martin (, for queries about fieldwork, whether cruise or NZOC related.

Once full proposals have been assessed (July 2023), NERC will invite the principal investigators of the 3 proposals recommended for funding to work together with the programme champion and National Marine Facilities. They will develop a final version of the BIO-Carbon cruise plan. This plan will efficiently accommodate all aims wherever possible within the £1 million funding available for National Marine Facilities support costs (for example, for technician, marine equipment, and autonomous system costs).

The final cruise plan is likely to comprise 1 to 2 joint BIO-Carbon research cruises. It will possibly be augmented by opportunistic involvement in other scheduled cruises, that will collectively meet the science plan requirements of all three proposals. In extreme instances, NERC may ask principal investigators to adjust science plans so that an affordable cruise plan can be agreed, and grants can be awarded.

Successful applicants will be required to present their findings to date at a community workshop in summer 2025 ahead of the release of the stage 2 funding opportunity. Following the 2025 workshop, the project teams are expected to engage with the community to facilitate the development of proposals for stage 2.

Projects will be required to provide progress reports to the BIO-Carbon PAG twice a year. At least 1 of these meetings will be held virtually.


The travel and subsistence costs for 3 members of each project team to attend in person meetings with the PAG once a year should be included in the costs of proposals.

The cost of attending the summer 2025 workshop should also be included in the cost of the proposal. However, where possible you should hold project meetings virtually as a more sustainable and cost-efficient alternative to in-person meetings and in line with the UK Research and Innovation travel policy.

Funding available

Proposals can request funding for up to 36 months and must start by November 2023.

The full economic cost for a project will be up to £2,375,000. NERC will fund 80% of full economic cost for most UK costs, with some exceptions (see ‘What we will not fund’ heading).

3 projects will be funded, each primarily focusing on a different 1 of the programme’s 3 challenges. Collectively all funded projects will be expected to provide a broad coverage across all challenges.

We will fund 80% of the full economic cost for UK organisations:

  • directly incurred costs such as staff payroll, travel and subsistence, and consumables
  • directly allocated costs such as investigators’ salaries, estates costs and shared resources
  • indirect costs such as research organisation administration

UK equipment is funded at 50% full economic cost.

Eligible international co-investigator costs (under the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis or Norway agreement) are funded at:

  • 100% for eligible direct costs
  • a maximum of 30% of the full economic cost value can be requested for all international costs

For eligible international co-investigators, we will fund:

  • co-investigator salaries
  • directly incurred (DI) costs (for example, travel and subsistence, consumables)
  • research assistants

What we will not fund

For eligible international co-investigators we will not fund:

  • estates and other indirect costs
  • capital costs
  • equipment over £10,000 (anything under £10,000 can be requested under DI costs)

NERC services and facilities

Proposals should include formal requests for NERC services and facilities (for example, high-performance computing (HPC) or isotope analyses) where relevant.

No additional funding is available to cover NERC services and facilities costs. Therefore, all costs associated with the use of NERC services and facilities (excluding any costs of National Marine Facilities capabilities that are provided by NERC ‘free at the point of use’) must be included within:

  • the funding limit of proposals
  • the directly incurred other costs of proposals

This applies to the costs associated with the National Marine Facilities pay-as-you-go autonomous platform, Autosub Long Range, if additional use is required to that provided by the NZOC science mission.

Prior to submitting a proposal, applicants wishing to use a NERC service or facility must contact the facility to seek agreement that they could provide the service required.

Applicants wishing to use most NERC facilities will need to submit a mandatory ‘technical assessment’ with their proposal. This technical assessment is required for aircraft but not for NERC marine facilities and HPC. For NERC, this means a quote for the work which the facility will provide.

A full list of the facilities requiring this quote can be found on the NERC website. Further information on NERC services and facilities can be found on the NERC website.

Data management

For NERC-relevant data, you must adhere to the NERC data policy. You should produce an outline data management plan as part of your proposal.

NERC will pay the data centre directly on behalf of your programme for archival and curation services. However, you should ensure that you request sufficient resources to cover preparation of data for archiving by the research team.

Read the NERC data policy.

How to apply

Notification of intent

Applicants wishing to submit a proposal must register a notification of intent (NoI) for their plans by 17 February 2023 3:00pm UK time. Please use the NoI template (DOCX, 24KB).

Only those who have registered an NoI will be able to submit an outline proposal.

Applicants are encouraged to consult preliminary results from the stage 1a gap analysis project (available on the BIO-Carbon web page from 18 January 2023), identifying significant but poorly understood processes. A full report will be provided at the March 2023 workshop.

The NoIs will be used to inform NERC’s plans for the assessment panel.

Email your NoI to:

Outline proposals

Closing date: 29 March 2023 4:00pm UK time.

Applicants must submit an outline proposal. The outline proposal stage will be used to identify proposals that will be invited to submit a full proposal.

An outline proposal submission is required for each proposed project. This should be submitted by the lead principal investigator and cover all components.

You must submit your outline proposal through the Joint Electronic Submission system (Je-S).

When applying select:

  • NERC
  • document type: outline
  • scheme: NERC outline
  • call: BIO Carbon Outlines MAR23

Applicants must ensure that their outline proposal is received by NERC by 4:00pm UK time on the closing date. Any proposal that is received after the closing date, is incomplete, or does not meet the eligibility criteria of this funding opportunity, will be returned to the applicant and will not be considered.

The outline proposal form should include the expected co-investigators and their research organisations. If successful, some of the co-investigators would then become the principal or co-investigators on the component grant proposals and not be named on the lead grant proposal.

All documents should be completed in single-spaced typescript of minimum font size 11-point Arial font or other sans serif typeface of equivalent size to Arial 11, with margins of at least 2cm. References must now also be presented in minimum font size 11-point.

Please note that Arial narrow and Calibri are not allowable font types as they are smaller and any proposal which has used either of these font types within their submission will be rejected.

Applicants referring to websites should note that assessors may choose not to use them.

Case for support

For all applications, the principal investigator must submit a completed Je-S outline proforma together with a case for support.

The case for support should not exceed 4 sides of A4 and should include the following summary information:

  • outline of research proposed
  • proposed geographical area and flexibility in this
  • National Marine Facilities marine equipment likely to be required for use during fieldwork not included in a published list of basic equipment
  • description of the relationship of the proposal to the research challenges
  • description of the outputs and how they contribute to the aims and outcomes of the programme
  • outline of the expected outcomes of a successful proposal and how these will be achieved
  • outline of potential collaborations, partnerships or both
  • composition of the research team, highlighting groups that this funding opportunity aims to encourage
  • proposed use of any other NERC facilities (initial discussions should be held with the relevant facilities on feasibility at this stage)

Applications interested in taking advantage of the NZOC science mission, have a further half side A4 (in addition to the 4 sides of A4) to outline:

  • equipment (vehicles, sensors) likely to be required
  • indication of geographical region
  • time of year and duration of deployment


It is the responsibility of applicants to undertake sufficient planning at the outline proposal stage. You should determine that the full costs of research proposed (including any facility costs) can be accommodated within the fixed financial limits of the scheme.

The resources indicated at the outline proposal stage are considered as estimates only and may be amended in a subsequent full proposal, within the financial limits of the scheme. No CVs or project partner letters should be submitted at the outline proposal stage.

If you are successful

Applicants should be informed during the week commencing 24 April 2023 if they are to be invited to proceed to the full proposal stage.

Full proposals

Closing date: 13 June 2022

Only applicants successful at the outline proposal stage will be invited to proceed to the full proposal stage.

It is expected that proposals will evolve between the outline proposal and the full proposal (including personnel and partnerships). However, the major science elements are expected to remain broadly the same, within the confines of any feedback from the outline proposal stage. Applicants considering any significant changes in the scope of a project should agree them with NERC prior to submitting their full proposals.

We intend to allow up to 6 outline proposals to progress from the outline proposal stage to the full proposal stage.

Details on the submission and assessment procedures for full proposals will be provided to the principal investigator of successful outline proposals. As an indication of expectations for this stage, full proposals will be submitted through Je-S and have a similar format to the NERC large grants scheme.

How we will assess your application

Outline proposals

Outline bids will be assessed by members of the BIO-Carbon Programme Advisory Group who aren’t named on any outline bids, supported by some additional independent advisors.

Up to 6 outline bids will be invited to develop full proposals. Any sift of proposals will be made on the basis of the likely fit to requirements of the funding opportunity and the potential for excellence.

Applicants will be given brief feedback summarising the reasons why the application was successful or unsuccessful.

No further feedback will be available.

Full proposals

The primary assessment criteria for full proposals will be:

  • excellence
  • fit to scheme

Proposals will be evaluated by an assessment panel consisting of independent experts and relevant members of the NERC Peer Review College, where possible, that will make funding recommendations to NERC. This recommendation will take into account the need for the BIO Carbon programme to fund a balanced portfolio of projects that will form a coherent programme.

Contact details

Ask about this funding opportunity


Get help with applying through Je-S



01793 444164

Opening times

Je-S helpdesk opening times.

Additional info


The ocean takes up 20 to 30% of anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions, holding 50 times the total amount of carbon present in the atmosphere.

However, the ocean’s ability to store carbon is sensitive to climate change. Inaccurately accounting for changes in oceanic carbon storage risks the efficacy of net zero ambitions and jeopardises major international efforts to reach global climate targets. This was recently highlighted by the G7 Future of the Seas and Oceans initiative.

The 2021 United Nations (UN) Climate Change Conference has seen nations identify specific targets for their carbon emissions. However, the ocean is already responding to anthropogenic change, and the efficacy of national targets depends on an accurate picture of how the global ocean will continue to store carbon.

The recently published global carbon budget has highlighted that there are large gaps in our understanding of how the ocean does this. Trends in the flux of atmospheric carbon dioxide into the ocean differ by a factor of 3 between models and observations, leading to widening discrepancies in future projections.

An understanding of the fundamental processes responsible for ocean carbon storage is also essential for any meaningful discussion of the efficacy and risks of climate mitigation through artificially perturbing the ocean as part of carbon dioxide removal schemes.

Such discussions are restarting internationally due to the emerging need for negative emissions unless there is urgent action to avoid a temperature rise greater than 1.5°C.

Biological processes are responsible for maintaining a lower concentration of carbon in the ocean surface relative to deeper waters, facilitating ocean storage of atmospheric carbon dioxide. However, the mechanisms by which they do so, and the sensitivity of these mechanisms to climate change, are poorly understood.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s sixth assessment report stated that there is high confidence that feedbacks to climate will arise from anthropogenically triggered alterations to ocean biological processes. However, there is low confidence in the magnitude of the feedbacks, or whether they have a positive or negative effect.

This knowledge gap is reflected in current climate models, with no consensus on which biological processes are included and no analysis of the consequences for predictions of this inconsistent representation.

There is therefore an urgent need for an integrated observational and modelling research programme. A programme that provides the capability to predict the future of global oceanic carbon storage with the accuracy required to guide human activity towards desired climate goals.

Such a programme would address the critical need for ‘a predicted ocean’, identified as a priority by the UN Ocean Decade to provide the knowledge, skills and tools to predict, and adapt to, future changes in the ocean and their impacts.


This research programme has 2 stages.

Stage 1 will provide new understanding of key processes. Stage 2 will integrate this new knowledge into models, to assess its global consequences.

The strategy for stage 1 is to encourage modelling, laboratory work and fieldwork to overlap, recognising that such an interdisciplinary approach is key to solving this complex issue.

Stage 1 is split between projects not requiring fieldwork and projects requiring fieldwork. These projects are staggered so ideas for novel techniques or sampling strategies from non-fieldwork projects can percolate into planning for fieldwork projects.

Fieldwork projects will form part of a major fieldwork programme, with scope for significant use of NERC ship time and autonomous systems.

In addition to bringing novel modelling approaches to bear on this topic, stage 2 will make use of contrasting global models that are routinely used across the UK community. This will allow the feedbacks arising from climate-triggered shifts in processes to be assessed.

Using a diverse range of models will provide a robust assessment of the impact of biologically affected changes in ocean carbon storage to 2100, and its uncertainty. The UK has a range of models needed for this important step that very few other countries possess.

Delivery and coordination

A programme champion has been appointed to provide a coordination function and to ensure the effective delivery of the programme. They are advised by the BIO-Carbon Programme Advisory Group (PAG).

The champion leads on critical tasks as defined by NERC and PAG. They are not allowed to bid for research funding from the programme.

PAG has been appointed by NERC and includes international members who have experience in developing and delivering similar programmes.

It will, among other things:

  • play a critical role in advising NERC on the programme’s cruise schedule and constraints for larger fieldwork projects
  • assess the progress of all funded projects every 6 months
  • maximise opportunities to secure stronger outcomes from the programme’s funded projects

The programme will span the majority of the UN Ocean Decade (2021 to 2030). Working closely with the champion, PAG and funded researchers, NERC will ensure that by the end of the programme it has made a major UK contribution to the Ocean Decade.

The programme will seek endorsement as a UN Ocean Decade project. It will link to other relevant Ocean Decade programmes to benefit from wider activity in this area and ensure results have maximum impact.

Workshop in March 2023

From 7 to 8 March 2023 a workshop will be held that will be open to all members of the community. The format of workshop is to be determined.  Further information and a means of registering will be made available on the programme website.

It will include a report by the gap analysis project funded in stage 1a of BIO-Carbon, presenting a prioritisation of processes and information on their geographical distribution.

There will also be presentations from other active stage 1a projects to inform development of stage 1b proposals.

Wider input from the community will be facilitated and break-out facilities provided for discussions related to stage 1b proposals.

Information presented at the workshop, together with feedback from workshop participants and advice from PAG, will contribute to development of a cruise plan by the programme champion. The plan will be submitted to NERC to bid for ship-time in the 2024 to 2025 marine facilities programme.

Responsible research

Through our funding processes, we seek to make a positive contribution to society and the environment. This is not just through research outputs and outcomes but through the way in which research is conducted and facilities managed.

All NERC grant holders are to adopt responsible research practices as set out in the NERC responsible business statement.

Responsible research is defined as reducing harm or enhancing benefit to the environment and society through effective management of research activities and facilities. Specifically, this covers:

  • the natural environment
  • the local community
  • equality, diversity and inclusion

Grant holders should consider the responsible research context of their project, not the host institution as a whole, and take action to enhance their responsible research approach where practical and reasonable.

Reporting requirements

If you are successful in getting funding, you will need to report your research outcomes through a service called Researchfish. This is required annually and continues for up to 5 years after funding ends. Find out about UKRI reporting requirements.

COVID-19 impacts

UK Research and Innovation recognises that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused major interruptions and disruptions across our communities. We are committed to ensuring that individual applicants and their wider team, including partners and networks, are not penalised for any disruption to their careers such as:

  • breaks and delays
  • disruptive working patterns and conditions
  • the loss of on-going work
  • role changes that may have been caused by the pandemic

Reviewers and panel members will be advised to consider the unequal impacts of the impact that COVID-19 related disruption might have had on the track record and career development of those individuals included in the application. They will be asked to consider the capability of the applicant and their wider team to deliver the research they are proposing.

Where disruptions have occurred applicants can highlight this within their application, if they wish, but there is no requirement to detail the specific circumstances that caused the disruption.

Supporting documents

Notification of intent template (DOCX, 24KB)

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