New forum for environment research
23 October 2002
Environmental scientists are getting a helping hand this month with the creation of a new focus group.
The Environment Research Funders' Forum (ERFF) is bringing together the UK's major public sector sponsors of environmental science. Its aims are to maximise communications between these organisations, encourage partnerships and enhance the effectiveness of science funding.
Professor John Lawton, Chief Executive of the Natural Environment Research Council, has been selected to chair the Forum for the next two years. He says, " I am delighted to be in at the beginning of this important venture to bring environmental science funders together. There is an enormous effort in the UK to find solutions to environmental problems such as the effects of global climate change, and to seek out benefits from scientific research. By uniting the people who fund the science we shall have a co-ordinated approach to future efforts."
The Forum will allow funders to identify and take strategic action on any gaps in environmental research and training. It will also shape future science direction through horizon scanning and other activities and add value to UK environmental interests internationally. To do this members will share their strategies, priorities and activities.
Professor Howard Dalton, Chief Scientific Adviser for the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is one of the Forum's founder members. He comments, "Bringing together the broad spectrum of funders of environmental research gives us for the first time the means to ensure that funding gaps are identified and filled, priorities agreed, improved co-ordination, and a fuller, better informed understanding of the challenges which lie ahead. It is up to funders to make the most of this opportunity."
The Forum is not a grant-funding body itself. Initial membership has been drawn from UK public bodies that fund or use environmental research and trained scientists, but other organisations will be invited to participate in the Forum's activities.
Secretary to the Environment Research Funders' Forum
Tel: 01793 411583
NERC Press Office
Natural Environment Research Council
Polaris House, North Star Avenue
Swindon, SN2 1EU
Tel: 01793 411561
Mob: 07917 557215
1. The ERFF holds its first meeting in London on 31 October 2002.
2. For the first two years, from October 2002 until September 2004, the Forum will be chaired by Professor John Lawton, but the Chair and secretariat will be rotated every two years.
3. The ERFF will work openly and transparently. Agendas, reports of meetings and working papers will be public documents and will be made available on the Forum's web site.
4. Current membership includes: the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), the Environment Agency (EA), the Medical Research Council (MRC), the Met Office, the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), the Scottish Executive Environment and Rural Affairs Department (SEERAD) and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA).
Press release: 10/02
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