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NERC have released a 2022 call for capital investment to create new or build upon existing equipment and support NERC’s environmental science remit. The primary objectives of the call are to provide strategic investment in UK capital infrastructure and deliver a step change in research capability. Proposals are required to:

  • enable significant and world-class environmental research to be undertaken that would otherwise not have been possible and has the potential to stimulate innovation and economic impact;
  • support NERC’s environmental science remit and areas in the NERC delivery plan (see NERC’s environmental science remit);
  • demonstrate a commitment to embed sustainability within the project in line with NERC’s responsible business statement (PDF, 462KB);
  • provide maximum positive impact over both short and long timescales;
  • have a useful life exceeding one year;
  • create or build upon a new capability rather than maintain or duplicate an existing capability, unless evidence is provided as to why this is appropriate.


Proposals must be for a single asset available to multiple users through equipment sharing. Individual components that form a suite of equipment are allowable only if they form a single asset. Only one asset may be formed in a proposal. Multidisciplinary research on NERC funded capital equipment is welcomed

The full cost of the project can be between £350,000 and £750,000. NERC will fund 100% of the full cost for equipment only.

The project must run for no longer than 20 months. Proposals must start on 4 July 2022, and grants must be completed by 31 March 2024.

Proposals should avoid duplication of equipment by determining whether the asset being requested is available for equipment sharing. Where the asset requested is a duplicate, a strong case must be made as to why the:

  • pre-existing asset is insufficient to meet required capability or user demand
  • asset outlined in the proposal should be funded.

Full details of the call, eligible costs and assessment criteria can be found on the UKRI website.

Oxford is capped at submitting two proposals to UKRI, therefore an internal selection process is being run to prioritise bids.


Internal process

Candidates must download and complete the Case for Support template from IRAMS. Applications must be submitted and approved by departments on IRAMS by Wednesday 9 March (12 noon). The three quotes required for submission to UKRI do not need to be submitted at the internal stage.

 A multidisciplinary panel of academics will review the applications and shortlist the two proposals to be submitted to UKRI. Outcomes will aim to be communicated to internal applicants by Monday 21 March (end of day).


 Assessment criteria

The internal selection panel will assess bids against the below UKRI assessment criteria: 

  1. Creates or supports a step change in world-class environmental science capability - The asset must create a new, or build upon an existing, capability. It must also make the strongest possible contribution to the national agenda.
  2. Demonstrates long-term support for NERC’s environmental science - The asset must enable significant and world-class environmental research to be undertaken that would otherwise not have been.
  3. Demonstrates a strategic and timely response to an evidenced community demand - The asset must be important to multiple beneficiaries. It must be clear how it fits in with others in existence at both the host institute and elsewhere. The proposal must demonstrate clear, sensible plans with respect to how the asset will be utilised or shared among both internal and external users. This must include consideration of asset sharing to ensure long-term, sustainable improvements to the environmental research landscape.
  4. Demonstrates full consideration of sustainability, including for the lifecycle of the asset - The proposal must demonstrate consideration for preventing environmental harm and enhancing environmental benefit in line with NERC’s responsible business statement (PDF, 462KB). Responses should be proportional to the size and nature of the project and include evidence of actions taken to minimise carbon emissions. Read about NERC’s environmental sustainability policy.

Applicants should also check availability of equipment registered on the national equipment database and whether their requested asset was funded by NERC under previous NERC capital calls.



 For queries on the call or internal selection process, please contact