Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)

The Natural Environment Research Council is the UK's largest funder of independent environmental science, training and innovation, delivered through universities and research centres.

Our vision

"To place environmental science at the heart of responsible management of our planet."

We no longer live in a natural world - there is virtually no part of the environment that we have left unchanged.

Our growing population and the way we live has changed our relationship with the environment and humans are now the dominant source of change.

People around the world aspire to escape poverty and improve living standards: achieving this whilst living within the Earth's limits is a great challenge of the 21st century.

NERC science has a critical role to play in meeting this challenge - to help the UK deliver innovation and growth with responsible environmental management.

Our purpose

NERC was created in 1965 when a number of environmental research organisations and surveys were brought together by Royal Charter.

Our Charter sets out our responsibilities:

  • to promote and support, by any means, high-quality basic, strategic and applied research, survey, long-term environmental observation and monitoring and related post-graduate training in environmental and related sciences
  • to advance knowledge and technology ... and to provide services and trained scientists and engineers which meet the needs of users and beneficiaries ... thereby contributing to the economic competitiveness of the UK, the effectiveness of public services and policy and the quality of life
  • and to generate public awareness, communicate research outcomes, encourage public engagement and dialogue, disseminate knowledge and provide advice in relation to those activities.
Learning lab on water quality picture

Learning Labs in Windhoek (video)

This video outlines how the Learning Labs approach brings stakeholders together to tackle climate change adaptation issues emerging in urban Africa. 

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Engagements at the Maputo Learning Lab March 2017

Discourse analysis as a method for understanding urban governance

This briefing note is an introduction into the definition and method of discourse analysis and outlines its application within the FRACTAL focal cities.

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Cover picture of FRACTAL briefing note on City government-research partnerships

City government-research partnerships

This briefing note provides reflections on city government-research partnerships, from Cape Town and Johannesburg.

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FRACTAL Graph cropped

Transdisciplinarity, co-production, and co-exploration

This working paper presents the concepts of transdisciplinarity, knowledge co-production, and coexploration and their challenges, and how they are being operationalised in FRACTAL.

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Climate change temperature map of the world

Learning within & about climate science

This briefing note provides key discussion points on the role of learning in integrating climate science into decision making. 

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ProSus Magazine cover

ProSus #3: Building resilience in southern African cities

The third issue of START’s ProSus Magazine features reflections, research and stories from the Future Resilience for African Cities and Lands (FRACTAL) program.

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