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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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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Embedded Researchers

An Embedded Researcher approach to integrate climate information into decision making in southern African cities

The overall aim of the FRACTAL Embedded Researcher project is to adapt southern African cities to function better and more equitably within both the present and the future climate.

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Climate Risk and Vulnerability: A Handbook for Southern Africa (2nd Edition)

An updated version of the popular handbook outlining projected climate change, sectoral impacts and responses (adaptation, disaster risk reduction, and accessing climate finance) in southern Africa

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Mainstreaming climate information into sector development plans

This report demonstrates the use of climate information in assessing adaptation needs and adaptation interventions. It also outlines changes in thinking as adaptation moves from theory to practice.

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