Country: United Kindgdom
Role in SEAS-ERA: NERC will contribute to WP1, WP2, WP3, and will join the Atlantic regional network (WP6).
The UK´s Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) is one of eight UK Research Councils that fund and manage scientific research and training in the UK. NERC uses a budget of around £350 million a year to fund independent research and training in the environmental sciences. About half our budget goes to universities and half is invested in our wholly and part owned research centres. NERC employs 2,700 staff, and funds approximately 85 Fellows, 1000 PhD Students and 300 Masters Students, as well as supporting around 700 staff in Higher Education Institutes employed on grants.
NERC funds research that increases our knowledge of planet Earth as a complex, interacting system. Our work covers the full range of atmospheric, earth, terrestrial and aquatic sciences, from the depths of the oceans to the upper atmosphere. We invest in a broad spectrum of research from non-directed responsive mode research, through a range of directed investments in specific research programmes, to applied and long-term strategic research and survey activities that underpin national and international needs.
Marine science makes a major contribution to meeting NERC´s strategic aims, and comprises a significant proportion of NERC´s responsive research. NERC´s marine centres have been funded to undertake a £120 M coordinated strategic marine research programme, "Oceans 2025" 2007-2012, and this programme will particularly strengthen collaboration with other bodies and support for long-term monitoring. NERC invests heavily in providing facilities (including infrastructure such as ships) for marine research, and in supporting research studentships in marine science. It participates directly and/or through its research centres in a range of national, European and international marine research and monitoring coordination initiatives and programmes, including ship sharing.
Marine science has a high profile in NERC´s strategy "Next Generation Science for Planet Earth 2007-2012", and NERC is continuing to fund and develop new and innovative marine research programmes, including RAPID-WATCH 2007-2014 a £15M programme to observe and interpret changes in the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation, and a new £11M Ocean Acidification Programme in collaboration with the UK Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. NERC is an active partner in a number of ERA-Nets and was a work package and task leader for MarinERA.
Dr Mike Webb
Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs, United Kingdom
Country: United Kindgdom
Role in SEAS-ERA: DEFRA will lead the development of guidelines and procedures for common programmes (Task 2.2), and will also contribute to WP1, WP2 and WP6 (Atlantic regional network).
The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) is the government department with responsibility for Marine Environment and Fisheries policy in England and Wales. The Marine Stewardship Report Safeguarding our Seas´ sets out Defra´s vision for managing and protecting the sea as an important ecosystem and how we plan to achieve clean, safe, healthy, productive and biologically diverse oceans and seas. Delivering this vision requires regular updates of our knowledge on how the seas function and how they are impacted by human activities. Charting Progress sets out our current knowledge on the state of the seas. New Marine Legislation (Marine Bill) will help develop and implement the necessary regulation and planning regime for the sustainable use and protection of our seas, coasts, estuaries and marine wildlife.
Within the context of this vision, Defra takes the lead or has a major interest in a significant number of international, European and national marine related policy instruments, all aimed at managing human activities in order to protect marine environment.
Defra has a marine and fisheries research programme to provide evidence for policy development and implementation. The Department is a major supporter of marine science, spending approximately £37m annually. £26m of this is on monitoring and advice which is essential for maintaining an up-to-date assessment of the state of our seas and the effectiveness of our management policies. The remaining £11m is for research which helps interpret the results of the monitoring programmes and assists us in adopting and developing appropriate management measures. In addition to funding the more specific policy related research, we also commission strategic research which helps us for example understand long-term variability in the marine environment, climate change and ecosystem structure and function.
The Marine Science programme itself consists of 4 separate but linked research areas:
- Sustainable Marine Environment
- Sustainable Marine Fisheries
- Marine Biodiversity
- Conservation of salmon and freshwater fish stocks and whales.
Defra is currently involved in a number of ERA-Nets, including coordinating the ERA-Nets on phytosanitary (statutory plant health) research (EUPHRESCO), flood risk management research (CRUE) and marine fisheries research (MariFish).
There are close working relationships with the other UK research funders including the NERC and ESRC, who support high quality, strategic research and with the marine research budget holders in the devolved administrations in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
For example as part of NERC´s Oceans 2025 programme Defra, NERC and Scottish Government are developing a collaboratively funded programme Sustainable Marine Bio-resources.
With the above mentioned wide-ranging research programme on marine environment and fisheries, and links to other UK research funders and involvement in other ERA-Nets Defra is in a position to benefit from and make a contribution to the proposed SEAS ERA-Net.