Pushing the Frontiers of Environmental Science Research

In 2015, NERC introduced a Demand Management quota system, whereby institutions whose 6-round success rate for the former Standard Grants scheme (including New Investigator grants) fell below 20% received a cap on the number of proposals they could submit for that financial year's rounds. Imperial fell below 20% in the 2022-23 demand management quota, and will be affected by an institutional cap for each of the July 2022 and January 2023 rounds. To manage the cap and increase the quality of proposals being submitted to avoid future restriction, an internal review group has been established to aid in the support (and selection where required) of bids. (Terms of Reference for NERC Proposals Review Group (doc))

PIs are asked to submit their completed Case for Support (comprising description of research and capability to deliver) and Lay Summary for internal review by the date indicated in the upcoming round's process below (incomplete submissions will not be considered by the Group - please follow the NERC guidance regarding the length and format of the Case for Support. Lay summary should be 4000 characters).

PIs are strongly encouraged to note the NERC Reviewer's Guidance for Pushing the Frontiers as well as the Guidance to Applicants when developing their proposals, particularly in regard to the Capability to Deliver section of the Case for Support, which should be a narrative, drawing on the Royal Society’s Résumé for Researchers, explaining the team’s suitability to undertake and deliver high quality, innovative science.

The Group strongly encourages PIs to discuss their proposal ideas as early as possible with colleagues and/or their Head of Department, and for Departments to be involved in bids prior to PI submission to the institutional level group for subject specific support or earlier triage, as suits their local practice. Please check with your Department for any review/support processes with which you may need to engage.

All proposals that involve a JeS form being submitted by Imperial must go through the internal process - this is the basis on which NERC counts proposals against an organisation. If Imperial is not the lead on a bid we would recommend that unless there are overriding reasons not to, Co-I costs are included on the lead institution's JeS application (NERC no longer imposes a limit on these costs) instead of submitting a separate JeS application, to maximise the number of submissions Imperial can make as a lead and partner. More details can be found in the FAQs section of NERC's webpage on Demand Management.

JANUARY 2023 ROUND INTERNAL PROCESS (INTERNAL DEADLINE: 15 November 2022, midday)

  • September: Announcement of internal institutional review process
  • September-November: Participation of PI in local Departmental review/support processes available
  • 15 November, midday: Submission of Case for Support and Lay Summary to researchoffice.fundingstrategy@imperial.ac.uk (Dr Louise Sherlock, Funding Strategy Team, Research Office ext. 42769)
  • 29 November: Review Group meets; suggestions for how to strengthen proposals (and selection decisions where needed) returned to PIs and Heads of Departments by Funding Strategy Team.
  • Post-meeting: Funding Strategy Team informs Faculty Research Services Managers and NERC of the proposals that are expected to be submitted from Imperial for the upcoming round, based on Group outcomes.
  • December-January: PIs submitting to the round progress their proposals as per guidance from the Review Group.  PIs should involve their Faculty Research Services teams as soon as possible and submit in line with their internal deadlines to allow these teams to perform necessary checks.

Examples of successful proposals

Some Imperial academics that have successfully been awarded NERC Standard Grant funding since the July 2014 round have agreed to share their Case for Support as examples. These documents, organised by Faculty, can be accessed on the Research Office Sharepoint site (College staff access only).