NERC urgency funding

Apply for funding to respond quickly to transient and unexpected scientific opportunities. These may be events affecting the environment created by the occurrence of sporadic natural events such as earthquakes, droughts, floods and ephemeral events in ecosystems. You must be based at a UK research organisation eligible for NERC funding.

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Apply for funding to respond quickly to transient and unexpected scientific opportunities.

These may be events affecting the environment created by the occurrence of sporadic natural events such as:

  • earthquakes

  • droughts

  • floods

  • ephemeral events in ecosystems.

You must be based at a UK research organisation eligible for NERC funding.

The aim of this grant is to help you collect valuable data at the start of the event before other events and actions affect the data collection.

The full economic cost of your project can be up to £100,000. NERC will fund 80% of the full economic cost.


You can apply if you are both:

  • a research group or an individual residing in the UK

  • employed by an eligible UK research organisation.

You can only apply for urgency funding if there is an unexpected event you need urgent data on.

Your project’s principal investigator must be:

Find more information on:


Your proposal must be for work in one of our research areas.

Your project must focus on urgent data collection and essential initial analysis only.

We expect projects to last up to one year. You must have a clear strategy for taking the research forward once the urgent phase is complete.

What we will not fund

This scheme is not intended to support studentships or to fund equipment.

We will not accept more than one proposal involving an individual investigator in a two-year period.

NERC reserves the right to limit the number of urgency proposals considered or supported relating to the same event or location.

We will not fund:

  • time-limited events, such as an unforeseen opportunity to take part in a particular experiment or programme, or the unexpected availability of staff or facilities

  • opportunities created by deliberate direct human actions or decisions

  • events where planning could have allowed support through published funding opportunities. This can include seasonal, frequent or periodic natural events (such as extreme weather conditions or volcanic eruptions) that you expect to be imminent but haven’t yet happened

  • operational monitoring to forecast hazardous natural events

  • responses to unexpected research findings

  • continuation of monitoring or other existing projects

  • collection of data to inform urgent policy or national or international decision-making.


How to apply

Outline proposal

You must outline your proposal on one side of A4 and send this to for approval. This must be no later than four weeks after the environmental event first occurs.Your outline proposal must include:

  • a brief description of the opportunity

  • justification for the urgency

  • brief objectives and methods of your proposed research

  • a list of the organisations and investigators involved

  • a proposed start date and duration

  • potential reviewers you would like to nominate.

After approval, you must apply through the Joint Electronic Submission (Je-S) system within 10 working days.

Full proposal document requirements

To reduce unnecessary bureaucracy, this funding opportunity has been designed to require minimal documentation.

Proposal form

A proposal form (Je-S proforma) must include an estimated high-level costs summary.Any significant collaborators (from outside of the research organisation) should be named and their role described in the ‘partnership details’ section of the form.

Case for support

This must be a maximum of three sides of A4 and include the following.

Description of the proposed research

This must be no more than two sides of A4. The description of the proposed research must include justification for the urgency and a strategy for taking the research forward after the urgent phase is completed.A brief paragraph outlining the data management plan should also be included (ODMP).

Narrative capability to deliver

This must be no more than one side of A4. The narrative capability to deliver must describe your team’s skills and capability to deliver, demonstrating the ability of the team to successfully execute the proposed project, and share outcomes and understanding from the research in a timely manner.

Technical assessment, facility form or quote

Where relevant, you should submit technical assessments, facility forms or quotes with the proposal.The quotes will not be made available to reviewers or moderators. Items of equipment costing more than £10,000 may not be requested through the urgency grant scheme.

Proposal cover letter

This attachment does not go out to reviewers or moderators, 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.See the NERC handbook (paragraph 133) for required format of documents.

What you must not submit

Justification of resources

You must not submit a justification of resources. Costings for successful projects will be checked and further information may be requested before the grant can be awarded.


You must not submit a CV. Information relevant to the investigators should be included in the one side narrative capability to deliver in the case for support.

Letters of support (for project partners or others)

Detailed information on support offered by project partners is not required. They must, however, be named in the project partners section of the Je-S proforma. Their contribution to the project can be explained briefly in the case for support where required.

For more information please visit the UKRI Website

Supporting information

Get help with developing your proposal

For help and advice on costings and writing your proposal, please contact your research office in the first instance, allowing sufficient time for your organisation’s submission process.

Ask about this funding opportunity


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