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NERC urgency funding

This fund allows researchers to respond quickly to transient and unexpected scientific opportunities. These may be events affecting the environment like earthquakes or volcanic eruptions.

The aim is to help researchers collect valuable data at the start of the event before other events and actions affect the data collection.

You can apply if you are a research group or an individual based at a UK university or other approved institution. We welcome unsolicited ideas for pure, applied or policy-driven environmental research that seeks to answer clearly-defined science questions.

We will fund up to 80% of your project’s full economic cost to a maximum of £52,000.

Who can apply

You can apply if you are a research group or individual based at a UK university or other approved institution.

See our list of approved research council institutes (PDF, 17KB) and approved independent research organisations (PDF, 26KB).

Your project’s principal investigator must be:

  • resident in the UK
  • employed by an eligible UK research organisation (higher education institution, research council institute or a recognised independent research organisation)
  • employed at lecturer (or equivalent) level or above.

You can find more information on eligibility in our research grants and fellowships handbook (PDF, 755KB).

What we're looking for

You can apply for urgency funding only if there is an unexpected event you need urgent data on.

Your proposal must be for work in one of our research areas.

We expect projects to last up to one year and to focus on urgent data collection and essential initial analysis only. You must have a clear strategy for taking the research forward once the urgent phase is complete.

This scheme is not intended to support studentships or to fund equipment.

We will not accept more than one proposal from an individual investigator in a two-year period.

We will not fund:

  • time-limited events, such as an unforeseen opportunity to take part in a particular experiment or programme, or the unexpected availability of staff or facilities
  • opportunities created by deliberate direct human actions or decisions
  • events where planning could have allowed support via published funding opportunities. This can include seasonal, frequent or periodic natural events
    events that you expect to be imminent but haven’t yet happened. This can include extreme weather conditions or volcanic eruptions
  • operational monitoring to forecast hazardous natural events
  • responses to unexpected research findings
  • continuation of monitoring or other existing projects
  • collection of data to inform urgent policy or national or international decision-making.

How to apply

You must outline your proposal on two sides of A4 and send this to the relevant programme manager for approval. This must be no later than four weeks after the opportunity first occurs.

Your outline proposal must include:

  • a brief description of the opportunity
  • justification for the urgency
  • objectives and methods of your proposed research
  • a list of the organisations and investigators involved
  • an estimate of the funding you will need
  • a proposed start date and duration
  • potential project partners and co-funders
  • potential reviewers you would like to nominate.

After approval, you must apply via the Joint Electronic Submission system (Je-S) within 10 working days.

Full details of the application process are in our research grants and fellowships handbook (PDF, 755KB).

How we will assess your application

We will send your proposal out for external peer review. A member of our Peer Review College will then moderate the reviews and make a funding recommendation.

We aim to complete the assessment process within one month of receiving your application.

You can find out more about our assessment process in our research grants and fellowships handbook (PDF, 755KB).

Contact details

Find a list of our programme managers.

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