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Pathways to impact

All research grant and fellowship applicants must consider how they will or might achieve impact outside the scientific community and submit this with their application as a Pathways to Impact statement.

Excellence with impact is a central goal for NERC and all the research councils. NERC aims to deliver maximum economic and societal benefits from its investments, to support UK economic competitiveness, to make public services and policy more effective, and to improve people's health and wellbeing.

To achieve this we need excellent impact activities, which anticipate and deliver the needs of the ultimate users of our science, whether they are in business, policy, the third-sector, the wider public or other groups.

The research councils' policy is that grant applicants are responsible for considering how their research can achieve excellence with impact.

By capturing and communicating the impact of those activities, to government and other key stakeholders, NERC can demonstrate the importance of environmental science and make sure government continues to support your work.

Proposals submitted to NERC should adhere to the NERC policy and guidance detailed here and in the NERC Research Grants Handbook.


Research grant proposals will continue to be assessed and ranked on science excellence. Pathways to Impact submissions will be assessed but they are not used in proposal ranking; however research grants will not be allowed to start without an acceptable Pathways to Impact statement.

Fellowship proposals are assessed based on leadership potential of the applicant and science excellence; Pathways to Impact will be considered in the same way as for research grants.

NERC may fund well-justified, high-quality non-academic impact activities identified in your Pathways to Impact statement to make sure they are delivered effectively as part of the grant.

Detail and guidance is available in the document below.

NERC Pathways to Impact: Policy and guidance (PDF, 101KB)


Queries relating to Pathways to Impact should be directed to .