Area of investment and support

Area of investment and support: Regional impact from science of the environment

The aim of this programme is to bring research organisations together with businesses, policy bodies and other organisations to deliver high impact and focused research translation and innovation in environmental science.

Partners involved:
Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)

The scope and what we're doing

The Regional Impact from Science of the Environment (RISE) initiative follows on from the Environmental Science Impact Programme, with a continued focus on developing regional impact from environmental science. This ambition was clearly articulated in the UK’s Industrial Strategy, one of its five foundations being places, along with ideas, people, infrastructure and business environment.

RISE is dedicated to bringing research organisations together with businesses, policy bodies and other actors contributing to economic development specific to their location, to deliver significant regional impact from NERC environmental science.

Opportunities, support and resources available

The South West Partnership for Environment and Economic Prosperity (SWEEP) is an initiative that will help deliver economic and community benefits to the South West, while also protecting and enhancing the area’s natural resources. SWEEP is a collaboration of three research institutions:

  • University of Exeter
  • University of Plymouth
  • Plymouth Marine Laboratory

They are working together with a large group of highly-engaged business, policy and community partners.

Yorkshire Integrated Catchment Solutions Programme (ICASP) is an ambitious and exciting programme to generate benefits for Yorkshire by applying environmental science to catchment challenges. Its base is the Yorkshire Ouse drainage basin, home to 6.7% of the UK population, 30% of the Northern Powerhouse region, including 10 metropolitan boroughs, and covering a third of the land area of Northern England. It contains the catchments of the following rivers: Aire, Calder, Derwent, Don, Nidd, Ouse, Swale, Ure and Wharfe. This catchment area is facing some complex and costly challenges: flooding and drought, soil and water degradation and loss of agriculturally productive land and important ecosystems.

Community Water Management for a Liveable London (CAMELLIA) is a project to bring together environmental, engineering, urban planning and socio-economic experts with governmental and planning authorities, industry, developers and citizens to co-develop solutions that will enable required housing growth in London while sustainably managing its water and environment.

The West Midlands Air Quality Improvement Programme (WM-Air) will provide improved understanding of pollution sources and levels in the region, and new capability to predict air quality, health and economic impacts of potential policy measures. It will support the application of these measures to specific case studies across the West Midlands, ranging from major infrastructure projects such as HS2, to making effective use of green infrastructure (urban vegetation) across the region, to deliver clean air.

Past projects, outcomes and impact

NERC invited research organisations with a strong and substantial portfolio of NERC-funded research to apply through Regional Impact from Science of the Environment funding opportunities for a five-year programme of activity with a NERC contribution of £2·5 million to £4 million at 80% full economic cost. Four projects worth £17 million have now been funded that will use NERC research to boost UK local economies.

The funding opportunity was shaped within the scope of the UK’s Industrial Strategy. Applicants were encouraged to take a flexible, multidisciplinary and creative approach to delivering against the purpose of this initiative. As was the case with Environmental Science Impact, programmes were to be designed to support the strategic ambitions of the research organisations involved, while understanding and gaining benefit from the opportunities offered by their region.

This programme has funded four highly ambitious programmes that have the potential to achieve transformative impact from NERC environmental science research by:

  • bringing considerable NERC investment in excellent research within the participating research organisations, together with strengths in businesses, policy bodies and other stakeholders particular to their locations
  • conducting a coherent programme of high impact, focused, co-designed and co-delivered research translation and innovation activities
  • leveraging benefits and contributions from other sources of funds relevant to the ambition of the proposal
  • creating durable collaborations between the academic and non-academic participants.

Who to contact

Regional impact from science of the environment team



Last updated: 12 September 2023

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