Peer Review College 2022 – NERC

Closing date
9 January 2023
Outcomes communicated date
End of March 2023

NERC is seeking to refresh its membership of the peer review college. This includes:

  • widening the pool of members
  • building the core members who assist in panel assessment and moderation panels
  • widening the panel chair base to support expert review processes

The NERC peer review college plays a vital role in determining the research that NERC funds and in maintaining its quality by ensuring that research proposals are reviewed by a community of peers.

Who we're looking for

The UK leads the world on research quality in environmental science. NERC discovery science spans the full breadth of sciences and methodologies required to advance our understanding of the Earth system and to reveal people’s impact on environmental processes. It is driving policy change and catalysing innovation in the UK and worldwide.

Members of NERC’s peer review college are researchers within the environmental science community, who are usually familiar with the NERC funding assessment process.

The majority are academics based at universities, research organisations and NERC research centres. However, applications are also encouraged from those who are involved in environmental science research from a policy or applied perspective and have a strong interest in NERC science, its use and impact.

Members agree to review up to 8 proposals per year. There is no limit to the number of meetings members may be asked to attend, but NERC will not normally issue more than 3 requests per year.

Experience and expertise

We are looking for researchers:

  • with experience in all types of environmental science and researchers
  • who work at the interface with other councils or who consider themselves to work across disciplines
  • who are happy to review multi-disciplinary proposals

We would like to improve membership covering some specific areas of expertise:

  • air pollution and quality
  • geological hazards
  • geodynamics
  • geothermal systems
  • geohydrology
  • forest carbon sequestration
  • machine learning
  • marine extreme events
  • marine microbiology, primary production, and marine biochemistry
  • petrology
  • riverine ecosystems, toxicology
  • soil health
  • tropical forest ecology (above and below ground carbon stocks)
  • weather

Diversity and inclusion

NERC is committed to enabling environmental science to be more diverse and inclusive. An organisation’s success and competitiveness depends on its ability to embrace diversity and draw on the skills, understanding and experience of its people.

The potential rewards of diversity are significant: utilising talent from the widest possible pool can make a major contribution to the impact of research and will benefit the economic and social wellbeing of the UK.

Applications across the NERC disciplinary remit are strongly encouraged from those who:

  • identify as an ethnic minority
  • have a disability
  • have diverse gender identities and expressions
  • identify with other groups who are currently underrepresented

NERC is pleased to discuss concerns a potential applicant might have about whether they can actively participate in the college, and to consider reasonable adjustments that enable individuals to apply.

What you'll be doing

The main role of the peer review college is to:

  • review discovery science research proposals (grants and fellowships)
  • review highlight topic grants
  • participate in discovery science panel meetings

Members may also be asked to assess proposals, including participating in assessment panels, to other NERC schemes and calls within their area of expertise.

NERC increasingly employs panel assessments as part of a drive to reduce the burden on reviewers and increase the efficiency with which assessments are made in certain call types and areas. College members will need to be able to conduct panel assessments when required.

Panel roles

We are seeking candidates for the following roles.

Peer review college pool members

Pool members are responsible for completing reviews as part of the peer review process. They will be asked to attend moderating and assessment panels meetings where their expertise is required, according to the proposals submitted.

Core panel members

Core members will complete reviews in the same way as other members, but they will also have responsibility for attending moderating and assessment panel meetings, to ensure consistency between different panel meetings and funding schemes.

NERC will not normally issue more than 3 meeting requests per year.

Panel chairs

Additional panel chairs are required to increase the numbers of the existing membership pool. They will take on the key role of chairing our discovery science panels, fellowship sift and interview panels, highlight topic panels, research grant assessment panels and other panels as required.

Chairs will be recruited for 4 years and may opt to receive an annual payment for this role.

How to apply

Each application must be supported by a colleague with oversight responsibility of the individual in a management structure. Previous college members are welcome to apply again.

How we'll assess your application

We encourage researchers from all backgrounds who are ready to make the commitment to peer review and support the research and innovation system in doing so.

We will consider how applications fit our criteria for membership for each role. NERC peer review college chairs will be involved in the selection process.

The peer review college membership list will be posted when the recruitment has been finalised.

Further information

Questions and further information on NERC college membership


Last updated: 2 November 2022

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