Further information - research grants
For complete information on the application procedure read the NERC research grants handbook. The following is a brief introduction.
Applicants to a Standard, Large or Knowledge Exchange grant call may submit up to one application as the Principal or as a Co-Investigator, and one further application as a non-lead Principal Investigator or Co-Investigator.
Large grant applications will only be accepted if an outline proposal has previously been submitted and invited to proceed to the full proposal stage.
Applicants must ensure that their application is received by NERC by 16:00 on the relevant closing date. They should leave enough time for their application to pass through their organisation's Je-S submission route before this time. Any application that is received after the closing date, is incomplete or does not meet NERC's eligibility criteria will be returned to the applicant and will not be considered.
For some of our schemes we allow the award to be joint between several research organisations. Each component, greater than £65k 100% FEC, may be submitted separately with a named Principal Investigator but the project title, objectives, summary, academic beneficiaries and impact summary should be common to all component application forms.
For all applications for NERC research grants, the Principal Investigator must submit form Je-SRP1 (NERC), together with a Case for Support. The maximum length of the Case for Support depends on the scheme type. It must be completed in single-spaced typescript of minimum font size 11 point (Arial font) with margins of at least 2 cm. References can be presented in a smaller font size provided it is sufficiently clear. Applicants should avoid the use of colour graphs or pictures, which will not be reproduced in colour in any hard copies used during assessment. Any proposal in which the Case for Support does not comply with these specifications will be rejected.
Case for Support
The Case for Support should have three parts:
Part 1 - Previous Track Record
- A summary of results and conclusions of recent relevant work
- Specific expertise available to the project
- An indication of how previous work has contributed to UK competitiveness or improving the quality of life
Part 2 - A Description of the Proposed Research
- Underlying rationale, scientific and technological issues to be addressed
- Specific objectives of the project
- Methodology and approach
- Programme and/or plan of research
- Management of the project and resources
- Long-term stewardship of resulting datasets
- Dissemination activities
Part 3 - Outline Data Management Plan
Justification of Resources
Applicants use this part if the proposal to justify the resources requested. Failure to properly demonstrate that the resources are fully appropriate to the proposed programme of research and that they provide value for money, may result in cuts being recommended by moderating panels.
An example of a well-written Justification of Resources is provided below. Our thanks to the authors of this text for providing their permission to publish it as a good practice guide.
Justification is not required for the Directly Allocated Estates and Indirect costs. All other costs, particularly all Directly Incurred and Investigator effort, must be fully justified.
All applications for research grants must be accompanied by a pathways to impact document. Its main purpose is to describe what will be done to ensure that the non-academic beneficiaries identified in the Impact Summary have the best possible opportunity to engage with, and therefore benefit from, the research. Applicants are allowed two pages of A4 to:
- Provide an outline of the user information:
- Who the users will be
- How the work will benefit these users
- Identify activities that will be undertaken to ensure optimal engagement with end-users and awareness-raising
- Identify who is likely to be undertaking the impact activities
- Detail costs of any impact activities proposed (including staff time)