NERC Impact Development Programme

“Impact is the good researchers do in the world,” Professor Mark Reed, School of Natural and Environmental Sciences, Newcastle University, 2018

If you would like to increase the impact of your environmental science research, and want to improve your skills in using public engagement to achieve this, then the NERC Impact Development Programme is for you! We will cover the breadth of issues you might encounter, from choosing the best type of public engagement for your specific research; to working through practical issues; to considering how to evaluate your public engagement to find out if it was worth it.

The programme

The Impact Development Programme is a dynamic nine-month professional development opportunity for 40 environmental science researchers to work with the National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement (NCCPE) to develop their skills in delivering high quality engagement with impact.

The programme components include:

1)      Two online events - these engaging and specifically tailored events will provide the chance to:

  • Receive expert input on engagement and impact from public engagement experts
  • Participate in interactive group discussions to improve your work and share your feedback with others
  • Hear from other researchers about their engagement and impact work
  • Dedicate time to developing your research and engagement projects, including evaluation plans

The online workshops will be accessible and recorded with regular scheduled screen breaks.

2)      Networking – building connections and expanding support networks is key to navigating the engagement world. The Impact Development Programme will facilitate formal and informal discussions with peers and mentors to help you along the way.

3)      Peer learning – through small learning groups. The NCCPE work with a pool of experienced mentors from the engagement sector, each learning group will be allocated a mentor to support you in developing your engagement skills.                

Please note, participants are expected to develop and carry out engagement between January and August as reflective practice is a core component of the Impact Development programme. The programme will take around three days in total, plus time to plan and deliver public engagement activity outside of these sessions.

Is this programme for me?

  • Applications will be accepted from researchers who are working in NERC remit, based within eligible research organisations. This includes current and past grant holders, and potential future grant holders, those working across disciplines but linked to environmental science and those who work on NERC funded projects but may not be named on the grant.
  • Proposals from applicants with diverse backgrounds and experience are encouraged, and there are no limits on amount of postdoctoral experience.
  • Priority will be given to researchers who can demonstrate that they do not have access to free engagement and impact support and/or networks of those involved in environmental science engagement within their institution or project.

We will select researchers to ensure a balance of different perspectives, disciplines, expertise and affiliations, with diversity in mind.

Support to enable researchers to take part

NERC are offering small grants to individuals from UKRI eligible research organisations, who take part in the Impact Development Programme:

  • Small grants will be available to cover time spent participating in the programme, when this is not part of normal work duties, as set out by your employer organisation or company. Grants do not cover time spent planning and development of engagement activity, which is considered part of your responsibilities as a researcher.
  • NERC will also cover reasonable costs where relevant, according to the UKRI Travel and Subsistence policy.

What do I need to commit to?

The Impact Development Programme is a rapid 9-month programme running from January 2021 until August 2021 and will include:

  • 2 day long online sessions (6 hours per session) on Wednesday 31 March 2021 and Thursday 24 June 2021.  Note that any formal networking will take place during the online workshops.
  • 3 peer learning group sessions (2 hours per session). Dates to be decided amongst learning groups.

Applying for a place will be taken as confirmation that you can commit to programme components listed above. Please give at least 5 days’ notice if you cannot attend, so we can give your place to someone else.

We also invite researchers to contribute their experiences to the NERC Engage blog and/or join our LinkedIn Alumni Network.

What you need to do

The Impact Development Programme cohort will be selected by NERC, following an application process. Please follow the below link to complete your application.

Application form

The deadline has now been extended to 16:00 on Tuesday 9 March 2021. 

Key dates



16:00 on Tuesday 9 March

Application deadline

Thursday 11 March

NERC will be in touch by to confirm whether applicants have been successful in being awarded a place on the programme.  Unsuccessful applicants will receive feedback on their application. 

Monday 15 March

NCCPE will be in touch to provide further information and to kick-off the programme (if successful)

Wednesday 31 March

Event 1

Thursday 24 June

Event 2


3x peer learning group sessions

September 2021

Evaluation, recommendations and findings for NERC published

Who are the NCCPE?

The NCCPE work across the UK higher education sector to encourage excellent public engagement practice. Their work focusses on supporting institutions to develop conditions for public engagement to thrive and building strong networks and partnerships to amplify impact. You can visit their website to find out more.

Who are NERC?

NERC - the Natural Environment Research Council - is the driving force of investment in environmental science in the UK. NERC advances the frontier of environmental science by commissioning new research, infrastructure and training that delivers valuable scientific breakthroughs. We do this because understanding our changing planet is vital for our wellbeing and economic prosperity.

We invest public money in world-leading science, designed to help us sustain and benefit from our natural resources, predict and respond to natural hazards and understand environmental change. We work closely with policymakers and industry to make sure our knowledge can support sustainable economic growth and wellbeing in the UK and around the world.


We welcome you to get in touch if you have any questions or would like to discuss anything further.

Contact the NCCPE team -

Contact NERC - Hannah King, Senior Public Engagement Programme Manager (

Data Protection

  • All personal data submitted on this form will be processed in accordance with current UK Data Protection Act 2018 and the UK General Data Protection Regulation.
  • NERC will record your information for the purpose of assessing, processing, and contacting you regarding your registration.
  • NERC will not pass your information on to any other third party without obtaining your prior permission.
  • The UKRI Privacy Notice- external link - sets out how NERC, as a constituent part of UKRI, handles personal data.