NERC Science Committee: member vacancies

Closing date
6 June 2024
Number of positions
Length of term
Three years
Time commitment
17 days each year, which includes three Science Committee meetings (up to two days per meeting)
£200 per day attendance allowance (for meetings)
Interview dates (via Zoom)
21 October 2024 (afternoon), 23 October 2024 (afternoon) and 24 October 2024
Outcomes communicated
Two to three weeks after the interview

The Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) invites applications from across the NERC science remit to join its Science Committee. This is a great opportunity to support an excellent and sustainable UK environmental science community.

You will work collegiately to offer advice and recommendations to Council and NERC Head Office on current and future funding priorities and new NERC investment.

You will be supported in this role by the Chair and current members in developing your expertise and experience as a committee member.

Who we’re looking for

We are looking for individuals who have a range of expertise and experience in research and innovation relevant to the higher education sector.

You do not need to be based in a research organisation, but need to have either:

  • a range of subject matter knowledge appropriate to NERC’s areas of research, innovation, training and capital
  • other lay experience of benefit to NERC’s wider strategic ambitions

NERC is seeking broad representation across our community, reflecting different characteristics and professional backgrounds.

Our ideal candidate will have the enthusiasm and time to commit to advise us on how we can best achieve our delivery plan ambitions.

The panel will consider career stage when reviewing your answers to the following essential skills.

Essential skills

We are seeking five candidates across the breadth of NERC scientific disciplines that can communicate well and work collaboratively to support and challenge the Science Committee’s debates and fellow members.

You must have:

  • the ability to communicate, collaborate, support and challenge
  • understanding of the environmental challenges confronting the world based on a deep understanding of environmental science with a whole-systems, solution-focused approach
  • insights to support NERC’s responsible business statement ambitions and ensure Science Committee considers equality, diversity and inclusion in its advice
  • disciplinary or professional expertise that you could bring to Science Committee
  • experience in strategic planning and projections of large investment portfolios and programmes, involving some or all of:
    • research
    • innovation
    • training and skills
    • scientific infrastructures and services
    • international partnership

What you’ll be doing

Members sit on the committee as individuals, rather than representing a particular organisation.

Find out more about the Science Committee, including:

  • what the committee does
  • who the committee reports to
  • what to expect as a committee member
  • future meeting dates

Read the Science Committee terms of reference.

We expect members to:

  • conduct themselves in a way that ensures that UK Research and Innovation’s (UKRI) business is carried out efficiently and effectively
  • adhere to the highest standards of professional and ethical practice, as outlined in the Seven Principles of Public Life

Time commitment and remuneration

A Science Committee member is expected to dedicate up to 17 days each year (which includes three Science Committee meetings each year and Council Retreat).

Some meetings will be virtual, and some will be face to face.

An attendance allowance (for meetings) of £200 per day (if eligible) together with reasonable travel and subsistence costs will be reimbursed in accordance with UKRI’s travel and subsistence policy.

How to apply

Complete the NERC Science Committee application form by 6 June 2024.

You should also email a two-sided CV to, for the attention of Gemma Davies.

Please make sure you have also read the NERC Science Committee application pack 2024.

Equality, diversity and inclusion

At NERC, as part of UK Research and Innovation, we are proud to be users of the disability confident scheme.

We guarantee to interview all disabled applicants that meet the essential criteria for any of our vacancies.

There is a section on the application form to indicate if you would like to be considered under this scheme.

Reasonable adjustments

We want to make our recruitment processes as well as participation in our boards and panels accessible to all, such as making adjustment for people with a disability.

Please email if you:

  • have any queries about the application process
  • would like this application in a different format (for example, accessible PDF, large print, easy read, audio recording or braille)
  • would like to discuss how we can support your application

Read our accessibility statement for our website.

If your application is successful, we will work to fulfill your requirements to enable you to fully participate in board and panel meetings.

Please let us know in advance if you would like to discuss in confidence how we can support you, or if you require an alternative way to submit your application, by contacting

How we’ll assess your application

Panel review

After the closing date, all applications (CV and application forms) will be passed to the selection panel.

The panel will review the applications against the person specification.

The selection panel for these appointments will be:

  • Professor David Hannah, Professor of Hydrology, University of Birmingham, and Director of Birmingham Institute for Sustainability and Climate Action and Science Committee Chair
  • NERC Director, Research and Skills
  • Dr Karen Hanghøj, Director of the British Geological Survey
  • Rashik Parmar, Group CEO of British Computer Society and NERC Council member


The panel will agree which applicants will be selected for interview by the end of July 2024.

Further particulars will be provided to candidates selected for interview.

Final appointment

At the final appointment stages, where applicants are as qualified on merit, the selection panel will seek to achieve a balanced membership in terms of, for example, diversity (including geographical diversity), expertise, and experience

The first meeting for new committee members is in March 2025.

Further information

Actions of the Science Committee and its members are subject to the NERC governance framework and the Seven Principles of Public Life.

Testimonials from Science Committee members

Professor Dan Parsons, Loughborough University:

I have loved my time on NERC Science Committee, helping to shape policy and funding distributions through recommendations to Council over strategic and discovery environmental science, along with shaping the balance between capability and capacity funding has been a particular highlight. I have also had the privilege to interact with colleagues from across NERC Science and have been impressed by the breadth and depth of quality in the research NERC funds across the UK.

Professor Jane Hill, University of York:

I have found my time on Science Committee to be very rewarding. I’ve valued the opportunity to contribute to discussions and decisions about NERC science and enjoyed the opportunity to network with other committee members. I’ve not found the role too onerous and have been very well-supported by NERC office and staff.

Professor Helen Williams, University of Cambridge:

Being a member of NERC SC provides you with a great opportunity to understanding the workings of NERC and UKRI and to have a voice in their decision-making processes, as well as getting to meet a range of fantastic environmental scientists and NERC staff that you might not otherwise encounter.

Professor Nicola Beaumont, Plymouth Marine Laboratory:

Acting on Science Committee has been a fascinating and inspiring experience. This role has provided an opportunity to better understand the functioning of NERC, including how this fits within UKRI. Building on this I consider that I have been able to actively inform the future of the UK natural science research agenda which is immensely rewarding. It has also been enjoyable to meet the NERC HQ team and to spend time with the other NERC SC members, all of whom have broadened my outlook on environmental science and life more generally. The meetings are consistently well organised and I have particularly enjoyed visiting a wide variety of UK institutes, with great tours and talks to provide insight to a wide range of research activities.

Equality, diversity, and inclusion (EDI)

We believe that everyone has a right to be treated with dignity and respect, and to be provided with the appropriate opportunities and tools to flourish and succeed. We believe in an ethical and trusted working environment that is attractive and accessible to everyone who is interested in developing their career with us.

We value diversity of thought and experience and are committed to creating systems that value difference so that everyone can feel welcomed, included and nurtured throughout their time with us.

Find out how we support EDI in the workforce.

Please refer to the ‘How to apply’ section for information on reasonable adjustments and the disability confident scheme.

Ask a question about this vacancy

Gemma Davies, Governance Manager, Science Committee


Last updated: 18 April 2024

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