You must apply using the Joint Electronic Submission (Je-S) system.
We recommend you start your application early. You can save completed details in Je-S at any time and return to continue your application later.
When applying, select ‘new document’ then:
- council: NERC
- document type: standard proposal
- scheme: standard grant
- call: pushing the frontiers of environmental research July 22.
Your host organisation will be able to provide advice and guidance on completing your application.
The opportunity will close at 16:00 on 19 July 2022 and it will not be possible to submit applications after this time.
You should leave enough time for your proposal to pass through your organisation’s Je-S submission route before this date. Any proposal that is incomplete or does not meet NERC’s eligibility criteria or follow NERC’s proposal submission rules will be office rejected and will not be considered.
There are restrictions on how many applications a research organisation can make. This will depend on the organisation’s previous standard grants success rate. The proposal will count as a submission for the organisation under the demand management calculation.
You can find out more about the application process in the NERC research grants and fellowships handbook.
Applying for more than £1 million
NERC will accept applications for more than the normal £1 million limit in exceptional cases.
For example, we may accept applications if you have high facility, fieldwork, equipment or other costs but your project does not meet our large grant scheme’s requirements for scale and complexity of research.
If you are planning to apply for more than the funding limit of £1 million, you must get approval first. Your application will be rejected if you have not received permission before you apply.
For this funding opportunity, a case for exceeding the maximum limit must be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org by 8 June 2022 at the latest and you should receive a decision within 10 working days.
This includes costs for:
- Geophysical Equipment Facility ocean bottom instruments
- Geophysical Equipment Facility seismometers
- Facility for Airborne Atmospheric Measurements, Airborne Research & Survey Facility or the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) twin otter aircraft (the facility will be able to advise on eligible instrument or aircraft costs)
- the European Incoherent Scatter Radar facility
- other ship-time or marine facility related costs.
Find out more in section B (‘types of award’) of the NERC research grants and fellowships handbook.
Applicants wishing to use NERC’s marine facilities must complete an online shiptime and marine equipment (SME) or autonomous deployment (ADF) application form on the Marine Facilities Planning website.
The SME or ADF number should be included on the Je-S grant proposal form under ‘services and facilities’. Completed SMEs or ADFs should be submitted by 20 June 2022 and approved by NERC Marine Planning by the time the proposal (Je-S form) is submitted.
Failure to do so may result in the request not being considered for inclusion in the NERC Marine Facilities Programme.
British Antarctic Survey Antarctic Logistics Support
Applicants requiring NERC British Antarctic Survey Antarctic Logistics Support must complete a pre-award operational support planning questionnaire (OSPQ) online.
Applicants must email the Antarctic Access Office (AAO) at BAS (email@example.com) stating their name, institution and proposal title.
The AAO will set up a new and numbered pre-award OSPQ and send the link to the applicant along with instructions for completion.
The deadline for pre-award OSPQs to be submitted is 27 April 2022. Any funding applications that request Antarctic logistic support without having received prior logistic approval will not be awarded.
For this funding opportunity, the requirements for what can be submitted through Je-S have changed considerably from previous NERC Discovery Science schemes. We have reduced the requirement for many of the attachments to reduce bureaucracy.
Please attach blank documents as needed to manage any validations in Je-S, which cannot be removed (noting we are migrating to a new system and therefore this need is temporary).
The application document requirements are as follows.
A proposal form (Je-S proforma) must include an estimated high-level costs summary. The costs will not be considered as part of the assessment process.
Case for support
This must be a maximum of seven sides of A4 and include the following.
Description of the research project
This must be no more than five sides of A4 and include all necessary tables, figures and references. This must highlight the ground-breaking, high-risk and high-reward nature of the research project.
Description of the applicants’ skills and capability to deliver
This must be no more than two sides of A4 and should:
- demonstrate the ability of the team to conduct ground-breaking, innovative research and that they have the capability to successfully execute the project
- be a narrative, drawing on the Royal Society’s Résumé for Researchers, explaining your suitability to undertake and deliver high quality, innovative science.
The assessment process will consider your ideas and contribution, relative to career stage, to your field of science, the wider research and innovation community and users of research. It will not be solely based on metrics (for example, publications and income).
Technical assessment, facility form or quote
Where relevant, you should submit relevant facility quotes with the proposal.
The quotes will not be made available to reviewers or panels. If required, a blank document can be attached to pass the system validation, in which case, any successful applicants will need to provide the quotes to NERC before grants are awarded.
These are required if the proposal is being submitted under a lead agency agreement.
Proposal cover letter
This attachment does not go out to panels, so should not be used except to flag up a significant issue to the NERC office.
This attachment should be used to declare any relevant interests, and list any collaborators.
For this current round, the proposal cover letter should also be used to declare if you would have been eligible to apply as a new investigator under NERC’s previous standard grants scheme (which is no longer in operation).
Under the previous standard grants scheme, applicants would be eligible to apply as a new investigator if they were within five years of first becoming eligible for NERC funding as a principal investigator (taking account of any career breaks). And if they had not received competitive research funding from any source, as a principal investigator, that included post-doctoral research assistant staff support costs.
This information will be used in the current funding round solely for the purposes of internal monitoring of the impacts of NERC’s new Discovery Science funding schemes launched in 2022.
What you must not submit
Do not submit the following:
- justification of resources: successful applicants will be asked to provide NERC with more details before the award, to enable NERC to manage costs for services and facilities use and requests for equipment
- CV: the principal investigator and co-investigators should provide relevant information in the ‘capability to deliver’ section of the case for support
- outline data management plan (ODMP): successful grant holders will be required to produce a full data management plan working with the relevant NERC data centre
- project partner letter of support: the involvement of any key project partners can be explained briefly in the case for support, where required
- letters of support.