National capability prioritisation
As set out in the Delivery Plan 2011-2015, it is NERC's plan that, over a ten-year period, research programme funding should increase and national capability funding should decrease as a proportion of the overall Spending Review allocations that NERC receives.
In March 2011, Council accepted the recommendations made by the Science & Innovation Strategy Board, using input from the National Capability Advisory Group, on areas where we should reduce and redirect our national capability effort. The areas identified were under the following different categories of national capability:
- Major platforms
- Observing & observing systems
- Analysis, interpretation & modelling
- Data & information
- Adding value
The proposed changes to activities within these categories are shown in the document below. The Major Platform changes were identified taking an integrated approach across sectors, while changes in other categories were identified on a sector basis.
On the basis of the prioritisation exercise, Council agreed actions to achieve overall cash savings by the end of the 2014-15 financial year, by sector, as follows:
- £1·5m atmospheric science
- £4·4m Earth science
- £1·2m Earth observation science
- £2·3m marine science
- £2·4m terrestrial & freshwater science
Note that these savings apply to the whole of each sector and not just to the research centre within the sector. Changes in the polar sector are subject to discussions with government departments having an interest in the Antarctic; these discussions are not yet concluded. Net cash savings realised through prioritisation of national capability will be invested in research programmes.
Following Council's decision, the NERC Executive Board reviewed the prioritisation outcomes and agreed those changes that should be addressed in an integrated way across sectors and those changes that a single sector needed to address.
The timelines for delivery of the prioritisation outcomes, together with the multi-sector/single sector approaches, are now being developed and will be shared once they have been agreed.