Skills review

NERC is the UK’s main agency for funding and managing research, postgraduate training and knowledge exchange in the environmental sciences. As global and environmental priorities change, we need to maintain our understanding of the skills which are required by the environmental sciences sector.

In the coming years the UK will need to plug skills gaps, or it risks running short of people with the necessary skills to tackle urgent problems such as environmental risks to human health and safe carbon capture and storage.

Between 2008 and 2010, NERC led the Review of Skills Needs in the Environment Sector on behalf of the Environment Research Funders’ Forum. In total, the review identified 224 skills needed by businesses, government and academics working on issues connected with the natural environment. Fifteen of these skills were identified as being skills that are in short supply, including hard skills (such as numeracy and field research) and soft skills (such as the translation of research into easily understandable language).

The 2010 Skills Review was refreshed in 2012 to take into account any changes in skills demand from the environmental sciences sector. This refresh identified that many of the skills gaps identified by the first review still persist. The 15 most critical skills gaps from both of these reports were published as two reports designed to help guide students when making career choices and to highlight priority areas for investment.

See the 2012 Review of Skills Needs in the Environment Sector (UK Government Web Archive).

Last updated: 31 March 2022

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