£47m to address critical environmental challenges facing the uk

Teams led by NERC research centres will receive funding to tackle six critical environmental science challenges facing the UK. This will enable research teams to investigate extreme weather, coastal flooding, sustainable energy creation, carbon capture and more. NERC’s £47m investment will enable more ambitious, integrated approaches to large-scale research challenges that would not be possible for any single research centre to deliver alone.

£47m to Address Critical Environmental Challenges Facing the UK

Researchers will receive a total of £47 million to address some of the most critical environmental challenges facing the UK. 

The funding from the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) has been awarded to NERC research centres that individually specialise in earth, ecological ocean, polar, and atmospheric science. 

Research teams from the centres will work collaboratively to better understand coastal flooding, greenhouse gas emissions, changes in biodiversity and other critical environmental issues. 

Six major research projects led by the collaboration will:

  • understand how sea-ice loss and glacial melting in polar regions affect the chemical balance of the oceans and, in particular, their capacity to sequester carbon and to support ocean productivity and fish stocks.
  • advance our understanding of how extreme weather and its impacts on the UK will be shaped by climate change in the Arctic and North Atlantic.
  • study the combined weather-related threats that cause coastal flooding and erosion and, in doing so, help the UK to better predict and mitigate how storms will affect coastal communities.
  • support UK agriculture's transition towards net zero emissions and improved sustainability by providing researchers and stakeholders with data from national sensor networks, satellites and a network of commercial study farms and study catchments. 
  • assess the future environmental, social and economic sustainability of offshore wind with blue/green hydrogen production, geological storage, and utilisation of carbon dioxide and hydrogen as a potential energy transition solution for achieving UK net zero greenhouse gas emissions.
  • investigate mitigation strategies that limit future climate change, for example, afforestation, rewilding, methane emission reductions and pathways to net zero.
£47m to Address Critical Environmental Challenges Facing the UK

This funding comes from the NERC National Capability Multi-Centre Science programme, which aims to enable a more ambitious, integrated approach to large-scale research challenges than any single research centre can deliver alone. The research centres involved are:

  • British Antarctic Survey
  • British Geological Survey
  • National Centre for Atmospheric Science
  • National Centre for Earth Observation
  • National Oceanography Centre
  • UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology 
  • Plus a delivery partner, Plymouth Marine Laboratory

The NERC research centres will partner with key national and international institutes to deliver these ambitious projects, including the Met Office, Rothamsted Research, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds in the UK and the Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research in Germany.

Dr Iain Williams, NERC Director of Strategic Partnerships, said: 

“This investment in NERC’s research centres will advance our understanding of the drivers of climatic and biodiversity changes, their impact on the UK environment and how we can mitigate and adapt to such changes.

“By bringing together the wide-ranging expertise and specialist facilities from across NERC’s centres, along with our key partners, these projects will power scientific discoveries that will help us adapt to, tackle or predict the impact of changes to our climate.”