Natural Environment Research Council

Natural Environment Research Council
Abbreviation NERC
Formation 1965
Type Non-Departmental Government Body
Purpose Funding of UK environmental science research
Headquarters Polaris House
  • North Star Avenue,
    SN2 1EU
Region served
United Kingdom United Kingdom
Sir Anthony Cleaver
Chief Executive
Prof. Duncan Wingham
Main organ
NERC Council
Parent organization
£400 million

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

Organisational structure

The council's head office is at Polaris House in Swindon, alongside the other six Research Councils. NERC's research centres provide leadership to the UK environmental science community and play significant and influential roles in international science collaborations.

Insignia Organisation
British Antarctic Survey
British Geological Survey
Centre for Ecology and Hydrology
National Centre for Atmospheric Science
National Centre for Earth Observation
National Oceanography Centre

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 planet Earth as a complex, interacting system. The council's work covers the full range of atmospheric, Earth, biological, terrestrial and aquatic sciences, from the deep oceans to the upper atmosphere, and from the geographical poles to the equator.

NERC's mission is to gather and apply knowledge, create understanding and predict the behaviour of the natural environment and its resources, and communicate all aspects of the council's work. The British Meteorological Office is not part of NERC.

Airborne Research and Survey Facility

The Dornier Do 228 of the Natural Environment Research Council registered D-CALM.

The NERC Airborne Research and Survey Facility (ARSF) collects and processes remotely sensed data for use by the scientific community. The data are collected by various instruments on board a Dornier 228 research aircraft based in Cambridge, UK. These instruments currently include a Leica ALS50-II LIDAR and two hyperspectral sensors, SPECIM AisaFenix and AisiaOwl.[1] Meteorological data are also collected in-flight.

Processing is performed by ARSF-DAN (Data Analysis Node) at Plymouth Marine Laboratory.

See also


  1. "ARSF Sensor Information". Retrieved 2015-10-28.
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