The Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation, Jo Johnson, has agreed that plans for Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (CEH) to become an independent not-for-profit research institute (as a Company Limited by Guarantee with charitable status) should move into preparation.

This follows work with NERC, CEH and Government to consider the future Governance, Responsibilities and Ownership arrangements.

CEH and NERC will now progress all the activities required to demonstrate readiness to transition to an independent institute. This will include, for instance, creating a non-trading company limited by guarantee, with a board that will then engage with NERC and UK Research and Innovation to agree the terms of the transfer. ’Readiness to implement’ will then be tested in 2018.

This decision will allow CEH’s world-class science and innovation to be sustained, and its impact enhanced, into the future. CEH will continue to work together in partnership with NERC / UK Research and Innovation. The new structures will make CEH stronger, more agile and financially more resilient, with more freedoms and flexibilities to deliver their missions and to do so with a greater range of external partners and funders. The mission, purpose, and scientific integrity of CEH will be protected and the detail of managing future and ongoing options, risks and issues will remain at the forefront of the process.

NERC Council continues to affirm the importance of sustaining long-term funding to its research centres. This will remain the case, regardless of the changes in ownership and governance.

As CEH is presently part of NERC, we will become part of the proposed UKRI when it is created in April 2018 and move from UKRI to our new independent status. This milestone allows CEH to start the detailed planning, which will be shared with its stakeholder as progress is made.

A similar process has also been agreed by the Minister in relation to NERC’s National Oceanography Centre.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the benefits of the change in ownership?

This change will allow CEH’s world-class research, long-term monitoring, product development and evidence-based advice in terrestrial and freshwater science to be sustained, and its impact enhanced, into the future. Becoming an independent research institute (company listed by guarantee with charitable status) will make CEH stronger, more agile and financially more resilient, with more freedoms and flexibilities to deliver its mission with a greater range of external partners and funders. The mission, purpose, and scientific integrity of CEH will be protected.

Will the science remit of CEH change after independence?

No. The mission, purpose, and scientific integrity of CEH will be protected. However, more freedoms and flexibilities will enable CEH to maximise its scientific impact by working with a greater range of external partners and funders.

How will CEH’s relationship with NERC change?

NERC Council continues to affirm the importance of sustaining long-term funding to its research centres. This will remain the case, regardless of the changes in ownership and governance.

CEH will continue to work together in partnership with NERC / UK Research and Innovation to deliver directed research that provides the evidence-base and advice to formulate and deliver UK Government strategy and policy.

What is going to happen now?

CEH is now preparing for its eventual transition to an independent research institute (company listed by guarantee with charitable status). A number of activities will now go ahead including the creation of a non-trading company limited by guarantee, with a board that will then engage with NERC and UK Research and Innovation to agree the terms of the transfer.

CEH’s readiness to transition to an independent research institute will then be tested in Gateway 4 and the resulting Business Case submitted for ministerial review and approval in 2018.

NERC, which includes CEH, will become part of the proposed UK Research and Innovation when it is created in April 2018. As a result CEH will move from UK Research and Innovation to its new independent status, if it successfully passes through Gateway 4.