Natural Environment Research Council

Natural Environment Research Council

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Natural Environment Research Council

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The Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) is a British research council that supports research, training and knowledge transfer activities in the environmental sciences.


NERC began in 1965 when several environmental (mainly geographic) research organisations (including Nature Conservancy which became the Nature Conservancy Council in 1973 and was divided up in 1991) were brought under the one umbrella organisation. When most research councils were re-organised in 1994, it had new responsibilities - Earth observation and science-developed archaeology. Collaboration between research councils increased in 2002 when Research Councils UK was formed.

Chief executives

  • Sir John Lawton 1999-2005
  • Professor Alan Thorpe 2005-present


The council's head office is at Polaris House in Swindon, alongside the other six Research Councils.

NERC supports several research centres including the British Antarctic Survey, the British Geological Survey, the National Oceanography Centre, the National Centre for Atmospheric Science, the National Centre for Earth Observation and the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology. It also supports a number of collaborative centres of excellence and subject-based designated Environmental Data Centres for the storage and distribution of environmental data.


The Natural Environment Research Council delivers independent research, survey, training and knowledge transfer in the environmental sciences, to advance knowledge of......
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