NERC Launches New COVID-19 Public Engagement Grant

Wednesday, 22 April, 2020

The Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) COVID-19 Public Engagement Grant will fund public engagement with environmental science projects which understand, address or mitigate the impacts of the coronavirus/COVID-19 outbreak.

The current disruption caused by COVID-19 presents major challenges to activities relating to public engagement with environmental science. This grant scheme will help researchers to find different and better methods of engagement that would otherwise be difficult to achieve in the current situation. It could also help researchers to find alternative ways to gather data that would otherwise be collected on fieldwork which can no longer go ahead.

Proposals must support the objectives and approach in the NERC Public Engagement with Research and Innovation Strategy, and be sensitive to social distancing and other restrictions.

Engagement activity should be planned such that it has intended outcomes and impacts. Impact may focus upon society, culture or the environment, or any other area of impact as described by the Research Excellence Framework. The desired outcomes are:

  • Capacity of researchers is built to deliver new or changed public engagement with environmental science research, which understand, address or mitigate the impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak, and/or
  • Delivery of excellent public engagement with NERC research, which understands, addresses or mitigates the impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak, and/or
  • Capacity of researchers is built to deliver digital public engagement with environmental science research.

Eligible activities include:

  • Delivery of new or adaption of current public engagement.
  • Development of existing digital public engagement assets.
  • Collaborative projects, including with museums and/or science centres.
  • Developing partnerships, including with local communities.
  • Building capacity (eg through networks, training, mentoring or sharing best practice).
  • Digital engagement with a potential focus on aspects such as citizen science projects, use of new and emerging technology (eg virtual reality), creation of digital assets and innovative use of social media.

Proposals will be accepted from applicants (Principal Investigators) who are normally eligible for NERC grants and are based within eligible research organisations, ie the Principal Investigator must reside in the UK, be employed by a UK higher education institution, research council institute or recognised independent research organisation, and be employed at lecturer (or equivalent) level or above.

NERC intends to fund projects costing up to £10,000 each with a total budget of £50,000. Proposals can include fully justified direct costs incurred in delivering the project. Successful projects must be completed by 31 March 2021.

Applications must be submitted by the deadline of 13 May 2020 (16:00).

More information about this research funding opportunity and the application process is available on the RESEARCHconnect funding information platform. RESEARCHconnect provides up-to-the minute content, insight and analysis on research funding news and policy. To find out more about how RESEARCHconnect can keep you in the know, and subscription fees, contact us today.


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