Funding opportunity

Funding opportunity: Jet zero: aviation’s non-CO2 impacts on the climate

Apply for funding to deliver collaborative research which focuses on the underpinning science of aviation’s non-carbon dioxide (CO2) impacts and how they interact with climate over time with the view to identifying benefits, mitigation options, informing industry and government policy decisions.

You must be:

  • based at a UK research organisation eligible for NERC funding
  • in a role that meets the individual eligibility requirements

The full economic cost (FEC) of your project can be up to £1,000,000. We will fund 80% of the FEC.

Projects must begin by no later than 10 May 2024 and last for up to 24 months.

Who can apply

Before applying for funding, check the following:

UKRI has introduced new role types for funding opportunities being run on the new UKRI Funding Service. For full details, visit Eligibility as an individual.

Who is eligible to apply

  • This funding opportunity is open to research groups and individuals
  • We encourage multidisciplinary research and collaborations with other UK organisations
  • We welcome applications from individuals at any career stage, subject to NERC eligibility criteria
  • You may be involved in no more than three applications submitted to this funding opportunity. Only one of these can be as project lead

We do not fund overseas organisations, except for specific costs for project co-leads (previously co-investigator) from Norway and the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA). Read more about this in the NERC eligibility guidance for applicants.

You should include all other international collaborators, or UK partners not based at approved organisations as project partners.

This includes industrial collaborations, whose partnership is particularly encouraged as part of this funding opportunity. As well as organisations from the business or financial sectors.

Sub-contracting aspects of the work, meaning particular goods and services, to non-eligible institutions is possible, according to the NERC research grants and fellowships handbook. However, projects incorporating funded industrial partners will be eligible for a competition launching in 2024 delivered by the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI) Programme (through Innovate UK) which is part of the same research programme. See ‘What we are looking for’ section for more detail.

Project partners fund their own involvement. We will only fund minor incidental expenses, such as some travel costs, if needed for project partners.

Equality, diversity and inclusion

We are committed to achieving equality 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 UK government Jet Zero Strategy provides the sector-specific plans for decarbonising aviation by 2050. Much of the strategy focuses on reducing CO2 emissions from aviation, however, the Strategy recognises that aviation also has non-CO2 climate impacts, which could have as significant or greater impact than CO2 emissions. There continues to be scientific uncertainty regarding the magnitude of aviation’s non-CO2 impacts on the climate and therefore in the Jet Zero Strategy, the government has committed to improving their understanding of aviation’s non-CO2 impacts, and to identify and develop policy options and measures to mitigate these impacts.

This research programme, in partnership with the Department for Transport (DfT) and the Department for Business and Trade (DBT) will focus on aviation’s non-CO2 impacts.

The programme seeks to establish how the non-CO2 impacts interact with climate over time, and how to mitigate their impacts with the view to informing industry funding and government policy and investment decisions.

For more information on the background of this funding opportunity, as well as information on the programme design, go to the ‘Additional information’ section.


You must cover at least one of the six strands in one of the two themes. Coverage of multiple strands and Industrial partnership is encouraged. See ‘Who is eligible to apply’ for further information.

Your project should be focused on technology readiness level (TRL) 1-4.

You should not seek to undertake research on aviation CO2 emissions, unless appropriate for the purposes of better understanding a non-CO2 issue.

Applications can be related to fossil fuel powered aircrafts, Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) powered aircraft and or zero-carbon emission aircraft. Applications will focus on civil aviation (passenger or cargo flight) and research in wider sectors where it is applicable to civil aviation.

Theme 1. Improving our understanding of aviation’s non-CO2 impacts

1.1. Reducing the uncertainties about contrail cirrus formation, persistence, and climate impact

Research suggests that contrail cirrus clouds are presently the largest contributor to aviation’s non-CO2 impacts. However, the confidence level of their impact is low, due to difficulties in predicting persistent contrails. You could cover:

  • improving the current model and prediction capabilities for ice-super-saturated regions and weather modelling to help increase understanding of where contrail cirrus formation is more likely
  • validating these models through increasing observations of contrails, their lifetime, and their specific forcing

1.2. Better understanding the formation of nitrogen oxides emissions from aircraft and their climate impact

There is a low confidence on the present impact of nitrogen oxides, in part due to the complexity of atmospheric interactions with nitrogen oxides particles. You could cover:

  • reducing uncertainties through increased observations and modelling of nitrogen oxides emissions, in particular at cruise altitude
  • increasing understanding over the future net nitrogen oxides effect, and whether it is likely that this will switch from warming to cooling

1.3. Increase understanding of additional non-CO2 emissions and impacts

There are also other non-CO2 emissions that require better scientific understanding. You could cover:

  • increasing modelling and observations of water vapour, aerosol-radiation interactions (from particulates such as soot and sulphur emissions) and aerosol-cloud interactions
  • understanding the interactions these have with contrail formation and nitrogen oxides

Theme 2. Mitigating aviation’s non-CO2 impacts

2.1. Using Sustainable Aviation Fuel

Research and analysis carried out thus far suggests that Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) is expected to have a positive impact on reducing non-CO2 impacts because of lower levels of soot particles produced which could reduce the warming impact of contrails. However, the degree to which SAF reduces the climate effect of persistent contrails is not well quantified, due to limited evidence and modelling. You could explore:

  • using observations to improve modelling and understanding of the impact of SAF blend flights on contrail cirrus formation and persistence
  • exploring relationships between percentage SAF blend and non-CO2 impacts
  • considering which specific SAF pathways (such as feedstock and technology) are better at reducing non-CO2 impacts than others

2.2. Using hydrogen for direct combustion and fuel cells

Further research is needed into the climate impacts of hydrogen-powered aircraft due to the potential of additional water vapour being emitted into the atmosphere. Evidence also suggests that hydrogen combustion aircraft can lead to the thermal formation of nitrogen oxides. You could cover:

  • evaluating the likelihood of hydrogen fuel cell aircraft increasing water vapour emissions in the upper atmosphere, stratosphere and troposphere, and the impact this will have on contrail cirrus formation
  • evaluating the likelihood of hydrogen combustion aircraft engines increasing nitrogen oxides formation, and by how much compared to current aircrafts using kerosene
  • considering if there any methods to mitigate the potential increase in nitrogen oxides (for example, reducing the combustion temperature or removing nitrogen oxides through a chemical process)

2.3. Other approaches to mitigating aviation’s non-CO2 impacts, including but not limited to, contrail prediction and avoidance technology

There are several potential operational and policy approaches that could be deployed to mitigate the non-CO2 impacts of aviation. For example, research has been undertaken to consider the impact of adjusting the aromatic content of kerosene on contrail formation and carbon pricing has been shown to be an effective tool in reducing aviation’s CO2 emissions.

Of particular significance is contrail prediction and avoidance technology, which is becoming more prevalent, and in which there is growing interest amongst commercial operators. However, there is currently no proven way to predict with enough accuracy areas where contrails may be formed, nor the climate impact they will have, and therefore there is no proven way to ensure that fuel burn and CO2 are not increased as a result. You could cover:

  • improving understanding of the accuracy of contrail cirrus avoidance technologies and strategies through increased modelling capabilities, such as weather, ice super saturated regions, and contrail formation
  • validating these models through observations, initially ground based, with a view of future work exploring satellite and aircraft observation options
  • considering what issues there are with airspace capacity and safety if numerous flights chose to avoid contrail formation, and if this could lead to more inefficiency on a system scale
  • considering the trade-off between non-CO2 and CO2 in this work – will there be a reduction in the overall climate impact of aviation?
  • considering further developing understanding of the effectiveness of other approaches to mitigating the non-CO2 impacts of aviation, such as adjusting the aromatic content of kerosene or carbon pricing


The duration of awards is a maximum of 24 months.

Projects must start by 10 May 2024.

Funding available

The FEC of your project can be up to £1,000,000.

We will fund 80% of the FEC (meaning £800,000) with the following exceptions:

  • eligible costs for international project co-lead (previously co-investigator) involvement would be funded at 100%

We anticipate funding 10 projects in this first round of funding.

It is anticipated that there will be future funding opportunities as part of this programme in 2024 and 2025. The scope and detail of these opportunities will be announced in due course.

What we will fund

  • facilities costs
  • ship time costs and marine equipment

What we will not fund

  • PhD studentship costs
  • requests for equipment of £10,000 and over are not part of this funding opportunity. You should request smaller items of equipment (under £10,000 individually) under ‘Consumables (other directly incurred costs)’ in your application

Services and facilities

You can apply to use a facility or resource in your funding application.

You should discuss your application with the facility or service as soon as possible before the funding opportunity’s closing date to:

  • discuss the proposed work in detail
  • receive confirmation that they can provide the services required within the timeframe of the funding

The facility will provide a technical assessment that includes the calculated cost of providing the service. NERC services and facilities must be costed within the limits of the funding.

You should not submit the technical assessment with the application, but you must confirm you have submitted it.

For more information, see the NERC research grants and fellowships handbook.

Read the full list of NERC facilities that require a technical assessment.

High Performance Computing (HPC), Ship-Time or Marine Equipment (SME) and the large research facilities at Harwell have their own policies for access and costing.

Ship-time and marine facilities

Applications may want to investigate access to NERC ship-time. There may be opportunities for scientists to use laboratory spaces and berths onboard the RRS Sir David Attenborough (SDA) during some of its transit routes (particularly round Sub-Antarctic Islands and the trip from the Falklands to the UK, but other opportunities may be available subject to SDA science support presence). Access will centre around underway water, atmospheric and air sampling systems.

If you wish to explore access to NERC ship-time as part of this funding opportunity, you should contact NERC Marine Planning ( by 10 November 2023 to discuss whether your request can be accommodated. If the request is considered feasible, you must then complete an online ship-time and marine equipment form (SME) available from Marine Facilities Planning. SMEs must be submitted by 1 December 2023 and approved by NERC Marine Planning before your funding application is submitted. Ship time costs should be included as part of your project budget. A PDF of the SME should be attached as a facility form to your application.

If you intend to apply for NERC’s marine facilities, you should contact to discuss ship-time and equipment needs as soon as possible for your plans to be considered. If you do not do this, your request may not be included in the NERC Marine Facilities Programme.

A PDF of the SME or ADF can be attached as a facility form to your application.

Ship time costs should be calculated as part of your project budget.

Supporting skills and talent

We encourage you to follow the principles of the Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers and the Technician Commitment.

International collaboration

If your application includes international applicants, project partners or collaborators, visit UKRI’s trusted research and innovation for more information on effective international collaboration.

Find out about getting funding for international collaboration.

Data management

You must adhere to UKRI open research policy and NERC data policy and complete the ‘Data management and sharing’ question.

For details of data centres, see the NERC Environmental Data Service.

We will pay the data centre directly on behalf of the programme for archival and curation services, but you should ensure that you request sufficient resource to cover preparation of data for archiving by the research team. Additional services from the data centres, such as database development or a specialist in project data management during your project, will need to be discussed with the relevant data centre prior to submission, costs for additional services will need to be included in your application.

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 on 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

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

Research disruption due to COVID-19

We recognise 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 career, such as:

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

Reviewers and panel members will be advised to consider the unequal impacts that COVID-19 related disruption might have had on the capability to deliver 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, you can highlight this within your application if you wish, but there is no requirement to detail the specific circumstances that caused the disruption.

How to apply

We are running this funding opportunity on the new UKRI Funding Service. You cannot apply on the Joint Electronic Submissions (Je-S) system.

The project lead is responsible for completing the application process on the Funding Service, but we expect all team members and project partners to contribute to the application.

Only the lead research organisation can submit an application to UKRI.

Watch our recording on how to apply for an opportunity in the Funding Service.

To apply:

Select ‘Start application’ near the beginning of this Funding finder page.

  1. Confirm you are the project lead.
  2. Sign in or create a Funding Service account. To create an account, select your organisation, verify your email address, and set a password. If your organisation is not listed, email
  3. Answer questions directly in the text boxes. You can save your answers and come back to complete them or work offline and return to copy and paste your answers. If we need you to upload a document, follow the upload instructions in the Funding Service. All questions and assessment criteria are listed in the ‘How to apply’ section on this Funding finder page.
  4. Allow enough time to check your application in ‘read-only’ view before sending to your research office.
  5. Send the completed application to your research office for checking. They will return it to you if it needs editing.
  6. Your research office will submit the completed and checked application to us.

Watch our research office webinars about the new Funding Service.


We must receive your application by 30 January 2024 at 4.00pm UK time.

You will not be able to apply after this time. Make sure you are aware of and follow any internal institutional deadlines.

We will not be returning applications for amendment.

Personal data

NERC, as part of UKRI, will need to collect some personal information to manage your Funding Service account and the registration of your funding applications.

We will handle personal data in line with UK data protection legislation and manage it securely. For more information, including how to exercise your rights, read our privacy notice.

NERC, as part of UKRI, will need to share the application and any personal information that it contains with:

  • the Department for Transport (DfT) so that they can participate in the assessment process as the co-funders of this funding opportunity
  • the broader programme partners Department for Business and Trade (DBT), Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI) and Innovate UK
  • the programme Expert Advisory Group (EAG) who will advise the funders on a balanced portfolio of investments from the fundable projects

For more information on how DfT use personal information, visit Personal information charter – Department for Transport.

Publication of outcomes

NERC, as part of UKRI, will publish the outcomes of this funding opportunity on What NERC has funded.

If your application is successful, we will publish some personal information on NERC Grants on the Web and on the UKRI Gateway to Research.


Word count: 550

In plain English, provide a summary that we can use to identify the most suitable experts to assess your application.

We may make this summary publicly available on external-facing websites, so make it suitable for a variety of readers, for example:

  • opinion-formers
  • policymakers
  • the public
  • the wider research community

Guidance for writing a summary

Clearly describe your proposed work in terms of:

  • context
  • the challenge the project addresses
  • aims and objectives
  • potential applications and benefits

Core team

List the key members of your team and assign them roles from the following:

  • project lead (PL)
  • project co-lead (UK) (PcL)
  • project co-lead (International)
  • researcher co-lead (RcL)
  • specialist
  • grant manager
  • professional enabling staff
  • research and innovation associate
  • technician
  • visiting researcher

Only list one individual as project lead.

The project lead is responsible for completing the application process on the Funding Service.

Project co-lead international may only be used for collaborators based at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) and in Norway, where NERC has collaboration agreements in place.

Find out more about UKRI’s new grant roles.

Vision and Approach

Word count: 10

What are you hoping to achieve with and how will you deliver your proposed work?

Upload guidance

Create a document that includes your responses to all criteria. The document should not be more than six sides of A4, single line spacing in 11-point Arial (or equivalent sans serif font) with margins of at least 2cm. You may include images, graphs, tables.

You should also include:

  • an additional page for a diagrammatic workplan (including milestones and timelines in the form of a Gantt chart or similar)

The maximum document length may therefore be seven sides of A4.

For the file name, use the unique Funding Service number the system gives you when you create an application, followed by the words ‘Vision and Approach’.

Save this document as a single PDF file, no bigger than 8MB. Unless specifically requested, please do not include any personal data within the attachment.

If the attachment does not meet these requirements, the application will be rejected.

Once you have uploaded, enter the text “attachment provided” into the textbox, mark this section as complete and move to the next one.

What the assessors are looking for in your response:

For the Vision, explain how your proposed work:

  • is of excellent quality and importance within or beyond the field(s) or area(s)
  • has the potential to advance current understanding, generates new knowledge, thinking or discovery within or beyond the field or area
  • is timely given current trends, context and needs
  • impacts world-leading research, society, the economy or the environment

Within the Vision section we also expect you to:

  • indicate clearly how your application fits the scope of this funding opportunity, specifically which strand and theme you are addressing
  • provide an explanation supported by qualitative or quantitative evidence on how and to what extent the proposed research can contribute to the development of solutions for reduction in aviation’s non-CO2 impacts
  • identify the potential direct or indirect benefits and who the beneficiaries might be

For the Approach, explain how you have designed your work so that it:

  • is feasible, and comprehensively identifies any risks to delivery and how they will be managed
  • if applicable, uses a clear and transparent methodology
  • if applicable, summarises previous work and describes how this will be built upon and progressed
  • will maximise translation of outputs into outcomes and impacts
  • describes how your, and if applicable, your team’s research environment (in terms of the place, and relevance to the project) will contribute to the success of the work

Within the Approach section we also expect you to:

  • demonstrate that it is effective and appropriate to achieve your objectives, and in relation to the scope of this funding opportunity
  • demonstrate access to the appropriate services, facilities, infrastructure, or equipment to deliver the proposed work
  • provide a project plan including milestones and timelines in the form of a Gantt chart or similar
  • include a detailed and appropriate plan for how you will acquire and manage data

Applicant and team capability to deliver

Word count: 1,500

Why are you the right individual or team to successfully deliver the proposed work?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Evidence of how you, and if relevant your team, have:

  • the relevant experience (appropriate to career stage) to deliver the proposed work
  • the right balance of skills and expertise to cover the proposed work
  • the appropriate leadership and management skills to deliver the work and your approach to develop others
  • contributed to developing a positive research environment and wider community

The word count for this section is 1,500 words, 1,000 words to be used for Résumé for Research and Innovation (R4RI) modules and, if necessary, a further 500 words for Additions.

Use the Résumé for Research and Innovation (R4RI) format to showcase the range of relevant skills you and, if relevant, your team (project and project co-leads, researchers, technicians, specialists, partners and so on) have and how this will help deliver the proposed work. You can include individuals’ specific achievements but only choose past contributions that best evidence their ability to deliver this work.

Complete this section using the R4RI module headings listed. Use each heading once and include a response for the whole team, see the UKRI guidance on R4RI. You should consider how to balance your answer, and emphasise where appropriate the key skills each team member brings:

  • contributions to the generation of new ideas, tools, methodologies, or knowledge
  • the development of others and maintenance of effective working relationships
  • contributions to the wider research and innovation community
  • contributions to broader research or innovation users and audiences and towards wider societal benefit

Provide any further details relevant to your application. This section is optional and can be up to 500 words. You should not use it to describe additional skills, experiences, or outputs, but you can use it to describe any factors that provide context for the rest of your R4RI (for example, details of career breaks if you wish to disclose them).

Complete this as a narrative. Do not format it like a CV.

UKRI has introduced new role types for funding opportunities being run on the new Funding Service.

For full details, see Eligibility as an individual.

Ethics and responsible research and innovation (RRI)

Word count: 1,000

What are the ethical or RRI implications and issues relating to the proposed work? If you do not think that the proposed work raises any ethical or RRI issues, explain why.

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Demonstrate that you have identified and evaluated:

  • the relevant ethical or responsible research and innovation considerations
  • how you will manage these considerations

If you are collecting or using data, identify:

  • any legal and ethical considerations of collecting, releasing or storing the data including consent, confidentiality, anonymisation, security and other ethical considerations and, in particular, strategies to not preclude further reuse of data
  • formal information standards with which your study will comply

Resources and cost justification

Word count: 2,500

What will you need to deliver your proposed work and how much will it cost?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Justify the application’s more costly resources, in particular:

  • project staff
  • significant travel for field work or collaboration (but not regular travel between collaborating organisations or to conferences)
  • any consumables beyond typical requirements, or that are required in exceptional quantities
  • all facilities and infrastructure costs
  • all resources that have been costed as ‘Exceptions’

Assessors are not looking for detailed costs or a line-by-line breakdown of all project resources. Overall, they want to be assured that:

  • all resources are appropriate
  • the project will make optimal use of resources to achieve its outcomes

If you have equipment costs, input these under the ‘Directly Incurred’ heading on the Funding Service. This will allow them to be costed at 50% at the awarding stage (and ignore the 80% FEC displayed on the Funding Service).


Word count: 1,000

List the references you have used to support your application.

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Include all references in this section, not in the rest of the application questions.

You should not include any other information in this section.

We advise you not to include hyperlinks, as assessors are not obliged to access the information they lead to or consider it in their assessment of your application.

If linking to web resources, to maintain the information’s integrity, include persistent identifiers (such as digital object identifiers) where possible.

You must not include links to web resources to extend your application.

Data management and sharing

Word count: 500

How will you manage and share data collected or acquired through the proposed research?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Provide an outline data management plan which should clearly detail how you will comply with our published data sharing policy, which includes detailed guidance notes.


  • which NERC data centre is required to archive the data
  • whether the total volume of data is likely to be larger than 1TB
  • any other detail on how you will comply with NERC data policy

For details of data centres, see the NERC Environmental Data Service.

Provide a data management plan that clearly details how you will comply with UKRI’s published data sharing policy, which includes detailed guidance notes.

Project partners

Provide details about any project partners’ contributions.

Add details about any project partners’ contributions. If there are no project partners, you can indicate this on the Funding Service.

A project partner is a collaborating organisation who will have an integral role in the proposed research. This may include direct (cash) or indirect (in-kind) contributions such as expertise, staff time or use of facilities.

Add the following project partner details:

  • organisation name and address (searchable via a drop-down list or enter the organisation’s details manually, as applicable)
  • project partner contact name and email address
  • type of contribution (direct or in-direct) and its monetary value

If a detail is entered incorrectly and you have saved the entry, remove the specific project partner record and re-add it with the correct information.

For audit purposes, UKRI requires formal collaboration agreements to be put in place if an award is made.


Word count: 500

Does your proposed research require the support and use of a facility?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

If you will need to use a facility, follow your proposed facility’s normal access request procedures. Ensure you have prior agreement so that if you are offered funding, they will support the use of their facility on your project.

For each requested facility you will need to provide the:

  • name of facility, copied and pasted from the facility information list
  • proposed usage or costs, or costs per unit where indicated on the facility information list
  • confirmation you have their agreement where required

If you have to attach a facility form, then upload it as a PDF. If you need to upload multiple forms, then combine them into a single PDF.

If you do not need to use a facility, simply add ‘N/A’ into the text box, mark this section as complete and move to the next section.

Upload guidance

Upload a single PDF containing facility forms ensuring it is no larger than 8MB, if applicable.

For the file name, use the unique Funding Service number the system gives to your application you create an application, immediately followed by the words ‘facility forms’. Then use the ‘upload’ button.

Unless specifically requested, please do not include any personal data within the attachment.

Once you have uploaded, mark this section as complete and move to the next one.

How we will assess your application

Assessment process

We will assess your application using the following process.


An assessment panel comprised of independent external members will review your application against the assessment criteria and rank it alongside other applications. Panel members will consist of experts spanning the breadth of the funding opportunity remit to ensure that due consideration is given to interdisciplinary applications.

The programme Expert Advisory Group (EAG) will consider fundable applications to make recommendations for a balanced portfolio of investments under this funding opportunity.

The EAG will formally advise the funders, who will make the final funding decision.


We aim to complete the assessment process within four months of the funding opportunity closing date.


We will give feedback with the outcome of your application.

Principles of assessment

We support the San Francisco declaration on research assessment and recognise the relationship between research assessment and research integrity.

Find out about the UKRI principles of assessment and decision making.

We reserve the right to modify the assessment process as needed.

Sharing data with co-funders and Expert Advisory Group

NERC, as part of UKRI, will need to collect some personal information to manage your UKRI Funding Service account and the registration of your funding applications.

We will handle personal data in line with UK data protection legislation and manage it securely. For more information, including how to exercise your rights, read our privacy notice.

NERC, as part of UKRI, will need to share the application and any personal information that it contains with:

  • the Department for Transport (DfT) so that they can participate in the assessment process as the co-funders of this funding opportunity
  • the broader programme partners Department for Business and Trade (DBT), Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI) and Innovate UK
  • the programme Expert Advisory Group (EAG) who will advise the funders on a balanced portfolio of investments from the fundable projects

For more information on how DfT use personal information, visit Personal information charter – Department for Transport.

Assessment criteria

The criteria against which your application will be assessed are:

  • vision
  • approach
  • applicant and team capability to deliver

The primary criteria will be ‘vision and approach’: this relates to the originality and quality of the proposed research in respect to the degree to which your application addresses the scope of this funding opportunity through addressing the strands and themes, as well as the capability of the team to deliver this.

The panel will also consider ‘resources and cost justification’ and ‘ethics and responsible research and innovation’ implications.

Find details of assessment questions and criteria under the ‘Application questions’ heading in the ‘How to apply’ section.

Contact details

Get help with your application

If you have a question and the answers aren’t provided on this page, then contact us.

Important note: The Helpdesk is committed to helping users of the UKRI Funding Service as effectively and as quickly as possible. To manage cases at peak volume times, the Helpdesk will triage and prioritise those queries with an imminent opportunity deadline or a technical issue. Enquiries raised where information is available on the Funding Finder opportunity page and should be understood early in the application process (for example, regarding eligibility or content/remit of an opportunity) will not constitute a priority case and will be addressed as soon as possible.

Contact details

For questions related to this specific funding opportunity, contact

For help and advice on costings and writing your proposal, contact your research office in the first instance, allowing sufficient time for your organisation’s submission process.

Any queries regarding the system or the submission of applications through the Funding Service should be directed to the helpdesk.


Phone: 01793 547490

Our phone lines are open:

  • Monday to Thursday 8:30am to 5:00pm
  • Friday 8:30am to 4:30pm

To help us process queries quicker, we request that users highlight the council and opportunity name in the subject title of their email query, include the application reference number, and refrain from contacting more than one mailbox at a time.

You can also find information on submitting an application.

Sensitive information

If you or a core team member need to tell us something you wish to remain confidential, email the Funding Service helpdesk on

Include in the subject line: Jet Zero; sensitive information; your UKRI Funding Service application number

Typical examples of confidential information include:

  • individual is unavailable until a certain date (for example due to parental leave)
  • declaration of interest
  • additional information about eligibility to apply that would not be appropriately shared in the ‘Applicant and team capability’ section
  • conflict of interest for UKRI to consider in reviewer or panel participant selection

For information about how UKRI handles personal data, read UKRI’s privacy notice.

Additional info


The government’s Net Zero Strategy (2021) set out the UK’s overarching plan for decarbonising all sectors of the economy by 2050. Analysis in the strategy showed that aviation is expected to become one of the UK’s largest emitting sectors by 2050. Aviation is a hard-to-abate sector as many of the technologies needed to decarbonise the sector are at the early stage of development and commercialisation and technological changes will need to pass stringent safety testing before being deployed for commercial use.

In July 2022, the government published the Jet Zero Strategy which set the sector-specific plan for decarbonising aviation by 2050. The strategy seeks to improve the efficiencies of aircraft, airspace, and airports through the development and uptake of low and zero carbon fuels and technology solutions. In addition to the use of carbon markets, greenhouse gas removal technologies as well as influencing consumers to choose more sustainable flight options.

Developments in system efficiencies, Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF), and new aircraft technology are the most likely to reduce harmful aviation emissions and deliver UK economic growth.

While actions and deliverables of the Jet Zero Strategy are primarily focused on reducing CO2 emissions, it also specified the need to address the non-CO2 impacts of aviation. The non-CO2 impacts of aviation such as particulate matter (soot), sulphur aerosols, water vapour and nitrogen oxides are complex and has varying lifetimes. The current consensus is that aviation’s non-CO2 impacts could represent around 66% of the effective radiative forcing on the climate (or 2-3 times the net warming rate than that of CO2). However, the current scientific understanding is limited, with the non-CO2 impacts on climate considerably more uncertain than those resulting from CO2.

The UK aviation industry is accelerating the development of new ultra-efficient and zero-emission aircraft technologies and low carbon solutions to address the challenge of aviation CO2 emissions. However, both government and industry are mindful that while there continues to be uncertainty regarding the magnitude of aviation’s non-CO2 impacts, it most likely has an overall warming impact which could be greater than CO2 emissions. Therefore, designs for technological solutions for reducing CO2 emissions should also consider incorporating measures to reduce aviation’s non-CO2 impacts as well.

Undertaking further research and increasing our scientific understanding will improve government understanding on the magnitude of aviation’s non-CO2 impact, increase scientific understanding and give confidence to both government and industry on investment and policy decisions for aircraft technology, manufacturing, fuel production and wider aviation operations.

Programme management

The overall funders for the wider programme under which this funding opportunity is part (NERC, DBT and DfT) will establish a Programme Board to oversee the progress of the programme, making funding decisions and have oversight for delivery and strategic direction of the research programme.

Programme Coordinator

A Programme Coordinator will be recruited to be responsible for delivery of cross-programme integration, stakeholder engagement and communication across the wider landscape to maximise the outcomes and impacts of the programme.

Funded projects will work with the Programme Coordinator to achieve integration and maximise project and programme outcomes.

Expert Advisory Group

A programme Expert Advisory Group (EAG) will be established comprising of experts from across industry and academia. The EAG will provide critical advice and recommendations to the Programme Board on the strategic direction of the programme and balance of the portfolio. Active EAG members will not be eligible for funding through programme funding opportunities.

Programme integration and reporting requirements

If you are successful, you will be required to report research outcomes on Researchfish in line with standard UK Research and Innovation terms and conditions for funding. This is required annually and continues for up to five years post grant end.

In addition, if you are successful, you will be expected to attend a kick-off event (date to be confirmed in 2024) and annual programme meetings, the latter to present your ongoing results. Project leads will be required to work with the Programme Coordinator and the EAG throughout the lifetime of their project. You should include costs (travel and subsistence) for attendance to workshops and cross-programme meetings in your application.

You may also be required to provide additional information for monitoring and evaluation purposes during the programme lifetime and, according to standard grant terms and conditions, projects may be required to comply with any additional requests, for example, reporting to DBT for future programme evaluation activities, including via the ATI Programme.

At the end of your project, project teams will be required to report to the funders and will subsequently be invited to attend an end of programme meeting (date to be confirmed in 2028).

Additional programme funding opportunities

It is anticipated that there will be future NERC-led funding opportunities as part of this programme in 2024 and 2025. The scope of these will be advertised in due course.

Applications which involve funded industrial partners should target a competition covering the scope of theme 2 (see ‘What we are looking’ for section) expected to launch in 2024 and delivered by the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI) Programme which is part of the same research programme. Further details will be released at a later date.

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