Responsive Mode (RM) is the funding stream that supports excellent research in response to unsolicited ideas from research groups, consortia or individuals, in any area relevant to NERC's remit. NERC promotes unrestricted and innovative thinking; proposed research can be pure, applied or policy-driven, and must seek to address - or provide the means to address - clearly defined science questions.
Through Responsive Mode, NERC encourages (but does not demand):
- 'adventurous' research;1
- 'technology-led' proposals;2
- collaboration and the exchange of ideas across and within disciplines and institutional boundaries; and
- collaboration with international and non-academic partners.
RM is a key component of delivering NERC's strategy and is intended to facilitate the identification of the next generation of strategic priorities. By providing young researchers with the opportunity to develop their careers, together with its support for cutting-edge areas of science, RM plays a crucial role in sustaining the UK's position as a world leader in environmental science research.
Current Responsive Mode funding schemes are listed below:
Excellence is the principal assessment criterion for applications submitted to NERC's Responsive Mode schemes. NERC acknowledges that excellence in science does not fit a single definition but is recognisable by its potential for long-lasting impact.
Demand management measures
Demand management measures for Natural Environment Research Council Responsive Mode funding schemes will be introduced with effect from 1 April 2012.
The RMAP provides a vision for the RM funding stream, an updated RMAP is due to be finalised in 2013.
1 NERC defines 'adventurous' research as that which is innovative and high risk, challenging current conventions from a position of intellectual strength, exploring new boundaries or adapting novel techniques to an entirely different field.
2 NERC considers 'technology-led' proposals to be those where the focus is on technology development and the potential application of that technology falls within NERC's remit. These can be distinguished from scientific, curiosity-driven proposals that contain an element of technology development, which are not considered to be technology-led. The 'technology' can be any instrument, platform, sensor or technique developed, provided or used for environmental science. This includes information and communication technology; high performance computing and e-science technologies; as well as mathematical and statistical techniques. Applicants need to clearly explain the potential use of the technology.