Natural Environment Research Council - data and IT requirements

"NERC is the UK's main agency for funding and managing research, training and knowledge exchange in the environmental sciences.

Our work covers the full range of atmospheric, Earth, biological, terrestrial and aquatic science, from the deep oceans to the upper atmosphere and from the poles to the equator.

NERC is a non-departmental public body. We receive around £370 million of annual funding from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS)." (NERC Website)

UoL DMP Document - NERC


NERC data and IT Requirements - Introduction and summary

Information correct as at July 2013.

Please refer to the full NERC data mangement planning guidance document.pdf

Please also refer to the University guide 'Introduction to Managing Research Data – For Researchers and Students'

The Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) Data Policy includes a clear statement on the need for openness and access to the data that underpin research publications. Research data produced by activities funded by the NERC is considered to be a public good which should be made openly available for anyone to use. The same policy includes a formal requirement for all funding applicants to submit an outline data management plan (ODMP), which will be evaluated as part of the grant assessment process.

Summary of NERC data requirements 

  • Usually a one-page Outline Data Management Plan (ODMP) is required at the application stage.
  • A fuller Data Management Plan (DMP) must be provided to NERC within three months of the project’s starting date.
  • NERC provides a Data Value Checklist to help researchers decide which datasets have long-term value.
  • At the end of a research project NERC requires that all datasets with long-term value should be made available for others to use with as few restrictions as possible, and in a timely manner, usually via one of the NERC Data Centres.
  • Researchers are entitled to 'right of first use' (i.e. exclusive access) to the data they generate, but this period must not be longer than two years from the end of data collection/creation.
  • All research publications arising from NERC funding must include a statement on how underpinning research datasets can be accessed.

What you need to know

The NERC Data Policy applies to all environmental data acquired, assembled or created through activities that are either fully or partially funded by NERC. The Policy also applies to environmental data managed by NERC, but for which NERC was not the original funder. NERC defines environmental data as items or records that are usually obtained by measurement, observation or modelling of the natural world and the impact of humans upon it. This includes data generated through complex systems, such as information retrieval algorithms, data assimilation techniques and the application of numerical models. 

NERC is committed to safeguarding the availability of research data which has long-term value for research, teaching and wider uses, in order to:

  • Support the integrity, transparency and openness of research.
  • Assist in the formal publication of datasets and enable the tracking of their usage through citation and data licences.
  • Abide by relevant legislation and government guidance on the management and distribution of environmental information.
  • Ensure the long-term availability of environmental data by supporting several Data Centres and by stipulating several conditions relating to data sharing, which all recipients of NERC funding must observe.

The NERC stance on the management and sharing of research data is shared by most major research funders, including the Research Councils UK, the National Science Foundation and the European Commission.

RDM news and events
  1. The University of Leicester Figshare for data digital archive is now available for research staff and PhD students. User guidance on upload/data deposit.
  2. Information Governance training is now available, provided by e-LfH (an NHS organisation). The University has registered to access this NHS resource and individual accounts can be set up by sending name and email address to Andrew Burnham.
  3. There is now a standard University Privacy Impact Assessment process where data collection or receipt, or systems purchase or development may have privacy consequences
  4. The University has adopted a simple data classification model which must be applied by the research PI and/or data owner
  5. We share our RDM survey: overview findings presentation as well as the results of our 2015 survey on Your research data management needs
  6. There is now a University Information Governance web presence
  7. Our Data Management Planning documents have been updated - hard copies can be obtained if you contact
  8. Jisc has published a new RDM strategy document - "Directions for RDM Management in UK Universities"
  9. The Partridge Review - HSCIC Data Release Review - Full report (3.58 Mb) and Summary
  10. The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) have published a new Research data policy underpinned by nine core principles and Data management plan guidance (26/03/2015)
  11. RDM Principles approved by the University.
  12. DMPonline version 4.0 - DCC "DMPonline" (Data Management Planning) v4 has gone live. You can use this web based form to create your Data Management Plan, and share it with your collaborators.
  13. Research funder specific web pages (accessible via 'Data Planning & Management - What you need to do') for data planning and management guidance (AHRC, BBSRC, EPSRC, ESRC, MRC, NERC, and STFC)
  14. 'Data Planning & Management - what you need to' - a web page to take you through what you need to do about data planning and management.
  15. 'RDM - The Movie' is released! The 4 minute digital story of research data work here at Leicester.

... more News and Events

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