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Large grants replace consortium funding at NERC

The Natural Environment Research Council has developed a large grants scheme to replace consortium grants.

The changes, announced on 1 December, will apply to proposals submitted to NERC from 1 January.

The council announced in August that it would close its small grants scheme following a final call on 1 September, but would increase funding for its consortium grants scheme for 2012. This means that applicants can only apply for funding of more than £65,000.

It has now announced it will replace consortium grants with a large grants scheme to “support adventurous, large-scale and complex research tackling big science questions, which cannot be addressed through other NERC funding opportunities”.

Under the new scheme, a requirement of a minimum of three eligible investigators based in separate organisations has been removed.

The council will also introduce a minimum funding level of £1.2 million for the scheme. The maximum funding level of £3.7m will remain.

In addition, to differentiate the large grants from standard grants, NERC has introduced a maximum funding level of £1.2m for standard grants and a minimum of £65,000.

The council’s new investigator competition will also be embedded within the standard grant scheme rather than operating independently.