Area of investment and support

Area of investment and support: National Interdisciplinary Circular Economy Research (NICER)

The National Interdisciplinary Circular Economy Research (NICER) programme includes investment for a Circular Economy hub, centres, and collaborative research and development competitions to realise the UK’s potential to grow and prosper sustainably by transitioning to a more circular economy.

Budget:
The overall programme budget is £30 million. The only remaining funding to be awarded from this programme is £1.5 million for a collaborative research and development competition run by Innovate UK.
Duration:
This programme runs from 2021 to 2025.
Partners involved:
Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), Innovate UK

The scope and what we're doing

The programme consists of:

  • five resource-flow specific centres
  • a Circular Economy Hub
  • collaborative research and development (CR&D) competitions.

This programme is intended to establish a national integrated interdisciplinary research and innovation community for circular economy research. The main aims are to:

  • accelerate understanding and solutions to enable circularity of specific resource and waste streams
  • provide national leadership, coordinate and drive knowledge exchange across the programme as a whole, and with policy, consumer and business stakeholders
  • ensure research is embedded with stakeholders by involving business, policy, consumers and society at every part of the programme, including the provision of funding through centres to enable small and medium sized enterprise involvement.

Opportunities, support and resources available

There are currently no funding opportunities available, but there is a collaborative research and development (CR&D) competition planned for small and medium sized enterprise projects in late 2022.

Through the Circular Economy Hub, there are flexible funding rounds ongoing through the life of the programme.

Find out more about key dates and proposal requirements for the National Interdisciplinary Circular Economy Hub (CE-Hub) flexible funding rounds.

Past projects, outcomes and impact

Circular Economy Hub

The National Interdisciplinary Circular Economy Hub (CE-Hub) is led by the University of Exeter.

Read about the Circular Economy Hub.

Resource-flow specific centres

The five resource-flow specific centres that have been awarded funding are:

  • The Interdisciplinary Textiles Circularity Centre led by the Royal College of Art
  • The Interdisciplinary Circular Economy Centre for Mineral-based Construction Materials led by UCL
  • The Interdisciplinary Centre for Circular Chemical Economy led by Loughborough University
  • The Interdisciplinary Circular Economy Centre in Technology Metals led by the University of Exeter
  • The Interdisciplinary Centre for Circular Metal led by Brunel University London.

Find out more about the five circular economy centres (CE-Hub).

Collaborative research and development competitions

The first collaborative research and development competitions for small and medium sized enterprise funding took place in late 2021. Another competition is planned for late 2022.

Who to contact

Ask a question about the programme

Judith McCann, Senior Portfolio Manager for Manufacturing and the Circular Economy (primary contact)

Email: judith.mccann@epsrc.ukri.org

Lisa Coles, Programme Director and Head of Theme for Manufacturing and the Circular Economy

Email: lisa.coles@epsrc.ukri.org

Governance, management and panels

The programme is managed by a programme management board, secretariat and strategic advisory group.

Programme management board

The programme management board is responsible for the management of the programme and delivery of the programme’s objectives. The group meets four times per year.

The board currently comprises appropriate representation from the funders:

  • Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)
  • Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)
  • Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)
  • Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)
  • Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)
  • Innovate UK.

It also includes a representative of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

Other individuals relevant to items being discussed will also attend board meetings.

Secretariat

The secretariat is responsible for the management of the programme on behalf of the board, including financial management and grant awarding, which is carried out according to the policies and procedures of UKRI. The secretariat is provided by EPSRC.

Strategic advisory group

An advisory board has been established to provide advice and guidance to the programme, with representatives from:

  • academia
  • industry
  • policy
  • third sector.

This group meets three times a year.

Advisory board membership is periodically refreshed. For information about planned updates to advisory groups see our information about advising UKRI and the councils.

This is the integrated website of the seven research councils, Research England and Innovate UK.
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