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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 overseas funding agencies, to issue joint Announcements of Opportunity within NERC research programmes, enabling UK and overseas researchers to collaborate without facing 'double jeopardy' in peer review.

  • 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 - external link, and participating in collaborative activities of EU member states to align strategies and pool resources, such as ERA-NETS, Joint Programming Initiatives, and ESFRI.

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

  • We promote opportunities for strategic, ongoing partnerships with countries through framework agreements. For example:

    • NERC is a founding member of Belmont Forum of environmental science funding agencies.

    • NERC and our RCUK partners have a Memorandum of Understanding with FAPESP - external link, the Research Council for the State of São Paulo, Brazil. This removes barriers to collaboration by enabling a single review process for joint applications in responsive mode, and in selected research programmes. This MoU has supported joint UK-Brazilian research projects through NERC's International Opportunities Fund and the human-modified tropical forests research programme.

    • We have a memorandum of understanding with the Indian Ministry of Earth Sciences to promote exchange of scientific and technical expertise and joint activities in areas of mutual interest, including atmospheric, polar, biodiversity, ocean and hydrological research. We have co-funded joint calls with MoES as part of NERC's Changing Water Cycle and Drivers of Variability in the South Asian Monsoon programmes.

    • We are a member of Science Europe - external link.

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