Funding Call

Funding for Strategic Equipment to Deliver a Step Change in Capability:

NERC Strategic Capital Funding Opportunity

Funding Call Deadline
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Fund Overview

UKRI-NERC aims to maintain the competitiveness of UK research through investment into projects that support its underpinning components: advanced, novel equipment and the development of research capabilities.

The strategic equipment call, funds the adoption of novel technologies, tools and approaches which are transforming physical sciences research. The aim is to advance the understanding of the dynamic, complex processes of life and how these can translate into both societal and economic benefits.

The NERC SEC call encourages applications that fit the following guidelines:

  1. Enable significant and world class environmental research to be undertaken that would otherwise not have been possible.
  2. Support NERCs environmental science remit
  3. Demonstrates a commitment to sustainability in line with NERCs own commitments
  4. Provide maximum positive impact
  5. Create or build upon new capabilities rather than maintaining or duplicating existing ones.

Fund Value

Applications may seek to fund equipment valued between £350K - £750K (inc. VAT). There is no definitive upper limit. Costs are covered at 100% full economic costing (FEC), though contributions from the applicant institute are viewed favourably.


Opening date: 26th September 2023 (9:00 am)                     Closing date: 5th December 2023 (4:00 pm)

Application Process

The NERC capital call application has the following stages:

  1. Full Submission
  2. Panel Meeting (Expected early March 2024)
  3. Award (Expected late March 2024)


Upon award, projects are to start on the 1st April 2024. Projects may run for a maximum of 34 months after this date.

Application Assistance

If your team needs any level of help with applying for ZEISS solutions or equipment, we can provide application support services via an independent 3rd party. Support can range from proof-reading to partial grant writing where required.

ZEISS Solutions

As outlined above, equipment funded by this call must keep UK research at the cutting edge. We have a number of solutions that are strategically important in maintaining the world-leading status of research in the UK. Please see below for our recommended solutions. Note that this is not an exhaustive list. Contact us for more information.

  • New Systems

    ZEISS Axioscan 7 Geo

    Uniquely designed for petrographic analysis, the Axioscan 7 Geo combines unique motorized polarization acquisition modes with unprecedented speed and a rich software ecosystem for visualization, analysis, and collaboration.

  • New Systems

    ZEISS Xradia Context

    High performance microCT for exquisite imaging of geological specimens, including 4D experiments. Combine with next generation AI reconstruction options for a truly unique system.

  • New Systems

    ZEISS Sigma 360

    Take electron microscopy beyond the routine with the addition integrated Witec RISE raman microscope or with a correlative light to electron microscopy package.

  • Upgrades

    ZEISS Xradia Versa Upgrade

    Upgrade existing Xradia Versa installations with the latest in hardware (5xx – 6xx conversion), AI-based reconstruction software (ART) or crystallographic analysis (LabDCT).

  • Upgrades

    ZEISS 2D & 3D Mineralogic

    ZEISS Mineralogic solutions are ideal for exacting geological interrogation of your samples, from in-depth petrological investigations to high throughput mineral liberation workflows to quantitative geochemistry.

Additional Information

About NERC
NERC is the Natural Environment Research Council, part of the UKRI funding council network. Their remit primarily covers the following areas:

  • Atmospheric physics and chemistry
  • Climate and climate change
  • Ecology, biodiversity and systematics
  • Geosciences
  • Marine environments
  • Polar sciences
  • Science-based archaeology
  • Terrestrial and freshwater environments

If your research fits any of the above, you may be suitable for NERC funding. You must belong to an affiliated research institute to be eligible.

Strategic Priorities
When applying to this fund, it is important that you understand the primary objectives of NERC. This can change periodically, but at the moment the NERC has the following priority areas:

  • Environmental solutions
  • Pushing frontiers of understanding
  • Productive environment
  • Healthy environment
  • Resilient environment
  • Digital environment
  • Global environment
  • Best environment for research and innovation
The NERC webpage has some great advice for applicants writing grant application on their website.
Contact Us
If you are interested in applying for a ZEISS solution through the NERC Strategic Capital Equipment call, or if you are interested in further details about any topics on this page, contact us through the form below.

Contact Us

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