An independent evaluation of six research centres owned or supported by UKRI-NERC has provided an objective assessment of the research excellence, impact, and the research environment of each centre, including the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (UKCEH).

The evaluation assessed the research excellence, impact and research environment of six centres owned or supported by NERC: BAS, NCAS, NCEO, NOC, PML and UKCEH. It was conducted by two independent panels and was based on the Research Excellence Framework (REF) methodology, which is used to assess UK higher education institutions (HEIs). The period reviewed was 2013-2019.

The Evaluation of NERC centres demonstrates that UKCEH is undertaking excellent research with impact.

Around a quarter of UKCEH journal articles (23%) were evaluated as world-leading (4*), and 48% were evaluated as internationally excellent (3*).  The exercise identified particular strengths in understanding ecological cycles, ecotoxicology and emerging contaminants, impacts of climate change on biodiversity, natural hazards and biosphere interactions.

Around three-quarters (76%) of the impact case studies submitted by UKCEH were evaluated as having outstanding or very considerable impacts (4* or 3*), particularly where we use long-term monitoring data to identify novel and creative solutions to challenges and inform policy. The case studies covered a wide range of work, from supporting the sustainable development of offshore renewables to mitigating greenhouse gas emissions from peatlands.


The results also confirm that UKCEH has successfully created an environment that is conducive to producing research of world-leading and internationally excellent quality, enabling outstanding impact (77% evaluated as 3* or 4*).

Dr Iain Williams, Director of Strategic Partnerships at the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), says: "I am delighted that the evaluation concluded that the six research centres evaluated are internationally excellent institutions, which make use of their income from NERC and other sources to deliver high-quality research and impact.

"The evaluation panels commented that NERC has reason to be proud of the centres."

UKRI announced the result of the evaluation on its website.

Overall, the evaluation confirms that UKCEH is in a strong position to support the environmental science research community and deliver world-class science through our National Capability work, and to provide the research that governments, NGOs, businesses and others need to tackle the major environmental challenges we are facing.

Read our impact case studies in abridged form.