The question of when to stop applying for Project Grants and instead go for a NERC Large Grant can be tricky. Large Grant winner Simon Lewis tells Ashleigh Furlong how he knew the time was right.
Simon’s top tips
- If you have a strong idea, don’t be put off by the work involved in a Large Grant bid; the initial proposal is not that onerous.
- Highlight your project’s time sensitivity—why should NERC fund it now rather than later?
- Emphasise why your project is suitable for a Large Grant rather than a series of smaller grants.
- Keep your core team of partners small so that everyone has appropriate funds to carry out their work.
- Include contingency plans to ensure that key scientific questions can still be answered if the situation changes on the ground.
Simon Lewis is a professor of global change science who splits his time between University College London and the University of Leeds. He led a bid backed by several international partners including the World Wildlife Fund and local universities that won a Natural Environment Research Council Large Grant in 2018. The project, which won nearly £3 million, aims to better understand the peatland in the Congo Basin. It began in September 2018 and will run for five years.