Complaints concerning research grants, training awards and fellowships
We deal with a large number of grant, fellowship and studentship applicants and award holders. Within such a large community it is inevitable that individuals and institutions will have comments, complaints, grievances and ideas relating to NERC funding policy and procedures.
We welcome these, but with so many prospective points of entry into NERC, it is important that the academic community is aware of whom to contact and how. This is especially important in instances of formal grievance or complaint.
NERC uses expertise and advice from a variety of NERC panels and boards, as well as from individual scientists, representatives of government agencies and external interest groups. But ultimate responsibility for decisions, actions, administration and management rests with Council and NERC officers. NERC officers must be the first recipients for complaints and grievances, not members of the Peer Review College or members of Moderating Panels and NERC Boards.
Complaints or comments relating to the administrative handling of your proposal or award should be directed to the RCUK Shared Services Centre. Similarly, comments or complaints about Je-S should be directed to the Je-S Helpdesk.
Complaints or concerns relating to the conduct of NERC funded research or researchers should be directed in the first instance to the Funding Complaints Officer, Gemma Truelove. Any enquiries will be logged and investigated informally initially, with feedback on the decided actions given to the person raising the issue within ten working days. Cases will be escalated to the appropriate NERC Director if, and when, necessary.
Complaints relating to NERC policy or the decision making process should be discussed initially with the appropriate NERC officer. These may be listed on web pages relevant to your query or on the funding contacts page. Complaints should not be sent to SISB members, Council members, Peer Review College or Moderating Panel members as it is not within their remit to respond and this will only serve to delay the response while the complaint is forwarded to the appropriate NERC officer.
The following are not considered as grounds for complaint:
- rejection of proposals according to the published sift procedure;
- wording and/or tone of peer review comments, ie that which does not relate to the factual content of the review;
- the membership of peer review panels;
- the remit of a particular funding call or scheme.
Formal complaints should be directed in writing, by post or electronically, to the appropriate NERC officer, who will aim to acknowledge receipt of the complaint and/or seek clarification within ten working days. If this person cannot deal with your complaint they will pass it on to the appropriate contact and give you their name.
The appropriate NERC officer will investigate the complaint, and will try to resolve the problem to the complainant's satisfaction.
If the response from the relevant NERC officer is not felt to be satisfactory, complainants should write to the NERC Complaints Officer:
People, Skills & Communication Director
Natural Environment Research Council
Polaris House, North Star Avenue
Swindon, SN2 1EU
Complaints relating to research grants, fellowships and studentships will be dealt with once by the NERC and then the matter will be considered closed. Multiple complaints about the same issue, after receiving a response from the appropriate NERC officer and/or the NERC Complaints Officer, will not be considered.