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.
Atmosphere, ocean and land surface processes simulated in GCMs (source: US National Climate Assessment 2014)

Climate Models: What They Show Us and How They Can Be Used in Planning

Explore this guide from the Future Climate For Africa programme which provides a primer on global climate models (GCMs) and how to use them in planning.

Read more
A man smiles and points at a poster showing research results about climate change

Building Climate Resilience in Africa Through Research and Development

This article provides an evaluation of the Future Climate for Africa programme (2015-2021), which has brought together more than 200 researchers from over 20 countries to improve understanding of climate variability and change across Africa. 

Read more
Construction equipment in between buildings for the purpose of a water supply and sanitation project in Lusaka

Bottom-Up Adaptive Decision-Support for Resilient Urban Water Security: Lusaka Case Study

This research applies the Decision-Scaling (DS) method as an adaptation framework for decision support, by evaluating system vulnerabilities at both the city- and region- scale for resilient urban water security in Lusaka. 

Read more
Improving resilience to coastal events can have significant benefits. Photo: Robert J. Nicholls

Improving the resilience of UK coastal communities

This article sheds light on the usage of resilience as a quantitative, evidence based framework for management of climatic hazards in coastal areas of the United Kingdom.

Read more
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. 

Read more
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.

Read more

Pages