An evaluation of six research centres owned or supported by UKRI-Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) has found that each is ‘internationally excellent’.
The evaluation was conducted by two independent expert panels, which assessed the research excellence and the impact of the following centres:
- British Antarctic Survey
- National Centre for Atmospheric Science
- National Centre for Earth Observation
- National Oceanography Centre
- Plymouth Marine Laboratory
- UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology.
It was based on the Research Excellence Framework methodology for 2021, which is being used to assess UK higher education institutions.
Internationally excellent institutions
The evaluation showed that the six centres that have received the accolade make use of their income from NERC and a range of other sources to deliver high quality research and impact.
Most of the research carried out by the centres was either internationally excellent or world-leading in terms of originality, significance and rigour. All centres had produced world-leading outputs.
Impact from scientific activities
Most of the impacts were considered to have had either ‘very considerable’ or ‘outstanding’ reach and significance. The panels noted the excellent work of the centres to foster impact from their scientific activities.
These highly rated impacts were across a wide range of critical environmental and societal issues, including:
- key contributions to reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
- using satellite-derived information on wildfires to support rapid decision-making around the world
- minimising impacts on protected wildlife from offshore renewable energy
- demonstrating the damaging effects of ocean acidification on marine ecosystems to inform policy makers.
All of the centres were judged to provide an environment that is mostly conducive to producing research and impact of internationally excellent or world-leading quality in terms of vitality and sustainability.
The evaluation results will be used to inform funding decisions and demonstrate the excellence and impact of NERC investments and environmental science.
They will also provide a tool for benchmarking with other research organisations and improve performance.
NERC is extremely grateful for the expertise and commitment of the panels who contributed to this important exercise and the support of many centre staff.
Thank you also to the authors, visual creators and publishers that allowed free use of licensed material for the evaluation and publishers for allowing free access to digital content.
NERC is grateful for the role played by the Publishers Licensing Society and Copyright Licensing Authority in facilitating this access.
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