Radioactivity & the Environment
Announcement of Opportunity: Expert Group
NERC is commissioning a £5m, five year capacity-building research programme, with projects planned to run between 2013-14 and 2017-18. It will form part of the NERC contribution to the wider RCUK Energy Programme and falls under NERC's environment, pollution & human health (EPHH) strategic theme.
NERC is inviting applications from individuals interested in joining a time-limited Expert Group for the Radioactivity & the Environment programme. The group will advise the NERC Programme Executive Board (PEB) on priority areas for research and ways to build UK research capacity in these areas. The Expert Group will have a secretariat provided by a specialist team in NERC's centres.
This page defines the role of the Expert Group and the recruitment process.
Applications expressing interest in joining the group are invited in accordance with the format outlined below.
The closing date for expressions of interest to join the group has now closed.
Environmental radioactivity is an area of particular national importance. In response to tough targets for reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, it is possible that new nuclear power plants will be commissioned in the UK and elsewhere. The UK also faces legacy issues such as radioactive waste disposal.
Changes in international recommendations, such as the requirement to protect the environment from ionising radiation, are impacting on legislation, regulators and industry within the UK. Research priorities include improved understanding of transfer pathways for less studied radionuclides, effects of radiation on wildlife and the impact of climate change on environmental behaviour and radionuclides.
The scientific foci of the programme may include transfer factors and dose estimation in representative animals and plants, dose-effect relationships, migration of radionuclides released from deep geological disposal, characterisation and quantification of natural background radiation and impacts of long-term environmental change on pathways leading to human exposure.
It is timely for the UK to rebuild capacity in this area and for the Expert Group to address geological disposal, radioecology and marine issues.
The programme will be commissioned in two Phases:
Phase 1 will be a re-scoping study to produce a report assessing the extent to which UK capacity in this area needs to be rebuilt to deal with both legacy and new build issues. It will take the work of a previous NERC expert group further by additional consideration of radioactivity in the marine environment. The group will analyse evidence about the priority research areas where capacity is needed, and develop recommendations on the priority research areas and which elements to include in a capacity building programme.
Phase 2 will be the programme's formal Announcement of Opportunity (AO), the precise content of which will be formulated by the Programme Executive Board following the outcomes of Phase 1. The Expert Group will not advise on the AO.
The Expert Group will be time-limited and consultative. It is anticipated that the Expert Group will meet initially in November 2011 and then again in early spring 2012.
The Expert Group will be involved in:
- Recommendations about the priority research areas, building on previous scoping work and considering radioactivity in the marine environment.
- Recommendations about the areas where capacity will be needed to address the priority research areas.
- Mapping the skills and expertise currently available within the UK research community relevant to the field.
- Recommendations about types of activity to include in the research programme to attract researchers with the required and novel expertise.
- Recommendations about elements to include in the research programme to deliver the priority areas (eg for research, coordination, management, training and impact).
- Validation of recommendations from the research community, including the potential capacity to be drawn in from related research disciplines.
- Contributing to authorship of the scoping study report.
It is anticipated that the Expert Group will disband following publication of the report to NERC in April 2012.
Expert Group membership will include, but not be limited to, the following groups: the UK and international academic community; relevant government departments and policy-makers; local groups and end users, including industry and business experts.
The final decision regarding the membership of the Expert Group lies with the Programme Executive Board. NERC reserves the right to appoint members to the Expert Group to achieve the balance and representation required.
- Expert Group meetings: November 2011 and February or March 2012 (indicative).
- Scoping study report to NERC: May 2012.
Guidance for applicants
We welcome applications from all relevant research or related backgrounds, from both the public and private sectors who have experience of a range of the activities outlined above and who have a good understanding of the relevant science and how NERC operates. We wish to avoid over-representation from any single department or establishment. Membership of the Expert Group will not preclude subsequent application to the programme call.
The programme will cover all reasonable travel and subsistence costs incurred through Expert Group membership responsibilities. The programme will not pay Expert Group members for their time contributions.
Governance and performance management
The Expert Group will report to the Programme Executive Board. The Expert Group will be coordinated and administered by a secretariat drawn from NERC centres.
Applications will be reviewed and Expert Group members selected internally by the Programme Executive Board, taking advice as appropriate. NERC will reserve the right to add additional membership to the group at any time to achieve the balance and representation required.
Selection will be based on the following criteria (not in priority order):
- the group's balance of representation across academic, stakeholder, international and co-funder communities;
- relevant expertise;
- cross-community knowledge;
- contacts and links;
- with attention to the mix of gender and ethnicity; and
- the applicant's track record.
The timetable is as follows:
- AO Issued for (self-) nominations: 7 September 2011.
- Deadline for receipt of completed applications: 5 October 2011.
- Expert Group members invited by: November 2011.
- Expert Group membership published on NERC website in November 2011.
The application form includes sections on expertise, relevance and relationship to the research programme's aims, current and past membership of professional bodies, experience of NERC operations, recent publications, and the qualities and values the applicant would bring to the Expert Group.
The application will consist of completion of the application form in Times New Roman or Arial, 12 point. The application form must be completed in no more than 3-sides A4. Applicants may attach an up-to-date CV (maximum 2 sides A4) in support of their application.
How to submit an application
Application forms must be submitted as email attachments to email@example.com, marked for the attention of Rachel Leader, by 16:00 on 5 October 2011.
Initial queries should be directed to:
Tel: 01793 411700