Urgency grants are prompted by unexpected and transient scientific opportunities created by the occurrence of sporadic natural events such as earthquakes, droughts, floods or ephemeral events in ecosystems.
NERC Urgency grants are used to respond rapidly to unexpected and transient events affecting the environment, for example the 2010 Amazon drought or the eruption at Eyjafjallajökull volcano in Iceland in 2010.
Submission of an Urgency grant proposal is only permitted if relying on published funding opportunities would clearly result in a missed opportunity to undertake environmental research of high scientific importance. Urgency proposals must fall within the NERC scientific remit.
Prospective applicants must first contact the appropriate Science Programmes Officer for approval before submitting a proposal for consideration under the urgency scheme.
Up to two sides of A4 outlining the proposed work and the reasons for the urgency must be sent to the Science Programmes Officer no later than 4 weeks from the first occurrence of the scientific opportunity. Science Programmes Officer contact details can be found in the research areas section of the website.
The following situations will not be accepted as grounds for an Urgency proposal:
- Time-limited logistical events, such as an unforeseen opportunity to participate in a particular experimental or observational programme or the unexpected availability of staff or facilities, etc.
- Opportunities created by deliberate direct human actions or decisions.
- Events where planning could have allowed support for study via published funding opportunities, such as seasonal, relatively frequent, or periodic natural events.
- Events that are expected to be imminent but have not yet occurred, such as forecast extreme weather conditions, volcanic eruption etc. Urgency grant funding cannot be used to undertake operational monitoring for the purpose of forecasting the occurrence of hazardous natural events.
- Responding to unexpected research findings.
- Continuation of monitoring or other existing projects for any reason.
- Collection of data to inform urgent policy or national/international decision making.
NERC reserves the right to limit the number of Urgency proposals considered or supported relating to the same event or location. NERC will not accept more than one Urgency proposal from an individual Investigator in a 2 year period.
Following approval, urgency proposals must be submitted to NERC via the Je-S system within 10 working days. Please select Document Type 'Standard Proposal', Scheme 'Urgency Grants' and Call 'Urgent Grant'.
The maximum funding that may be sought for an Urgency application is £65,000; this limit applies to the total (100%) Full Economic Cost of the project, of which NERC will fund 80%.
Urgency proposals can be up to 12 months in duration and are expected to focus on the urgent data collection and essential initial analysis only. A clear strategy is required for taking the research forward once the urgent phase is completed. Note that no studentships or equipment can be funded via this scheme.
Urgency proposals are judged using the same assessment criteria for funding as other Responsive Mode schemes. Urgency proposals are first assessed by external peer reviewers. Once reviews have been received, a member of the NERC Peer Review College moderates the comments and makes a recommendation. The reviewing and moderation process should be completed within one month from submission of the Urgency proposal.
It is expected that research will begin within one month of the offer acceptance being returned. The grant may lapse if it is not started within this period.