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International research

NERC works with partners overseas to: agree international research priorities and jointly tackle large-scale environmental research challenges; to access all parts of the Earth in our quest to understand how it works and how it changes; and to make the best use of our resources by aligning national programmes, co-funding calls for proposals, and sharing capability.

NERC's support for international partnerships is embedded across all of our funding streams. For example, we welcome international project partners in all proposals for NERC research grants. NERC research centres, facilities and data centres play significant and influential roles in international science collaborations, negotiating access for UK scientists to a large range of world-renowned resources.

Our activities include:

  • Collaboration with international funding agencies, enabling UK and international researchers to collaborate without facing 'double jeopardy' in peer review. For Discovery science agreements have been signed with the National Science Foundation (US), FNR (Luxembourg) and FAPESP (Brazil).

  • Securing access to world class research infrastructure for UK researchers, including overseas marine and airborne facilities, ocean drilling platforms, radar, and databases, through exchange and barter agreements and subscriptions.

  • Funding schemes to support UK researchers in fostering long-term international partnerships, such as the NERC International Opportunities Fund.

  • Helping UK environmental science play a leading role in the developing European Research Area. For example, working with RCUK and other UK government partners to inform the priorities of the European Commission's Horizon 2020 programme, and participating in collaborative activities of EU member states to align strategies and pool resources, such as ERA-NETS, Joint Programming Initiatives, and ESFRI. NERC is a member of Science Europe - external link.

  • Funding open research calls to promote sustainable growth and wellbeing of emerging knowledge economies through the government Newton Fund and Global Challenges Research Fund.

  • Funding and managing RCUK overseas teams - external link - in China, India, USA and Brussels, to increase opportunities for collaboration between researchers in the UK and abroad.

  • Promoting opportunities for strategic international partnerships through membership of international bodies including the Belmont Forum and the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA).

Contact us

For any further information about NERC's international role, please contact:

International Team
Natural Environment Research Council
Polaris House, North Star Avenue
Swindon, SN2 1EU