NERC Council has agreed that the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (CEH) should proceed to the next stage of a process considering changes to CEH’s ownership and governance. 

CEH and NERC have identified that a not-for-profit Company Limited by Guarantee, with charitable status, is the best option to secure scientific and financial sustainability, supported by new operational freedom and flexibility.

Professor Mark Bailey, Director of the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, said, “I welcome this development for the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology and its potential progression from NERC ownership to a not-for-profit, independent research institute with charitable status.”

“The changes would establish an organisation capable of maintaining our scientific excellence and critical mass, as well as one able to deliver greater societal and economic impact. We will continue to provide evidence-based, impartial scientific advice and strengthen our partnerships across the public, academic, private and voluntary sectors. We remain integral to the delivery of NERC National Capability research, environmental data and facilities and will continue to facilitate the integration of the UK terrestrial and freshwater sciences community.”

NERC and CEH will now move to the next phase, lasting approximately one to two years, which will determine whether the organisation is fully equipped to make a successful transition to independent operation. Further cross-Government consultation and agreement will be necessary before the final decision is made.

Professor Duncan Wingham, NERC Chief Executive, said, “This is an important step in the journey we are on to determine the optimal model for the ownership and governance of NOC and CEH to sustain into the future their unique contribution to the excellence of UK environmental science. We also want to be sure that we maintain their scientific-frontier roles as well as continue to provide Government with robust, independent advice. I look forward to working closely with NOC and CEH during this next stage of this process.”

Additional information

NERC statement - NERC considers charitable status for new ownership model in two of its research centres

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