History of NERC
NERC began life in 1965 when a variety of environmental research organisations and surveys were brought together by Royal Charter.
These organisations included the Nature Conservancy, the Geological Survey of Great Britain, the National Institute of Oceanography and the Hydrological Research Unit and the British Antarctic Survey.
NERC's original responsibilities included awarding grants, funding postgraduate students, and providing and operating ships, equipment and other facilities for the environmental research community.
The major reorganisation of the research councils, following the government's 1993 White Paper Realising our potential, gave NERC additional responsibilities in the fields of Earth observation and science-based archaeology.
The research councils have collaborated increasingly since then, culminating in the launch of Research Councils UK (RCUK) in 2002. The role of RCUK is to enhance the collective leadership and influence of the research councils and secure greater strategic coordination in the funding of science.
Over the 40 years of NERC's life there have been changes in the organisation and names of the component and supported organisations, in the ways in which NERC carries out its role, and in the part of government that has responsibility for the Research Councils.
What has not changed is NERC's role: to gather and apply knowledge, create understanding and predict the behaviour of the natural environment and its resources, and communicate all aspects of our work.