ERFF aims to maximise the coherence and effectiveness of environmental research in the UK by bringing together its principal public-sector sponsors. It was created in 2002 and now has 19 member organisations.
The terms ‘environmental’ and ‘research’ are both interpreted widely, to include observation activites (statutory monitoring, non-statutory collection of long-term datasets, and survey), studies supporting policy and regulation, and research-based training, not only in the traditional environmental sciences but also in areas of economic, social, engineering and other research concerned with the interaction of humans with the environment.
ERFF’s objectives are delivered through a rolling 3-year delivery plan which is agreed by the ERFF Main Board, directed by working groups or project boards and funded by members. The ERFF Secretariat provides administrative services and carries out the delivery plan, subcontracting work where necessary and supported by input from ERFF member organisations.
The ERFF Main Board consists of senior representatives (Chief Executive or Chief Scientist) from government, devolved administrations and agencies and is currently chaired by Steve Killeen, Head of Science at the Environment Agency.
The purpose of the Environment Research Funders’ Forum is to make the best possible use of public funding for environmental research, monitoring (observation) and survey, and associated policy, regulation and training. It seeks to achieve this by bringing together the UK’s major public sector sponsors of environmental science to enable them to make more effective use of funding in cooperation than they can separately.
In pursuit of the most efficient use of public funds for the understanding, protection and enhancement of the natural environment ERFF encompasses not only the environmental sciences directly concerned with understanding the environment itself, but includes research in other disciplines such as the social sciences and engineering, which can provide enlightenment on environmental issues or solutions to environmental problems.
10 Year Vision
The Forum’s ten-year vision guides the activities of the Forum, and our partnerships with other bodies, through which we will enable its realisation:
- The UK will maintain and enhance a world class environmental research base, recognised for its scientific excellence and valued for its effective contribution to addressing key issues of environmental management in the UK and internationally.
- Funders, the science community and users of that science will be working effectively together, ensuring that efforts are directed to priority issues, that scientific outcomes are taken up and applied and that environmental science enables and informs government policy. There will be an appropriate balance between basic, strategic and applied research and no barriers to effective interdisciplinary research.
- Horizon scanning and our scientific endeavour will be enabling the early identification of environmental issues, rubbish removal and developing new knowledge and technologies to enable them to be resolved.
- UK environmental research will be well linked internationally, with the UK acting as a prime mover in relevant international initiatives and having access to facilities and equipment developed internationally.
- Where equipment and facilities are appropriately provided at a UK level they will be state of the art and their use optimised. We will have a clear, shared view of the UK’s needs for environmental data and effective mechanisms for the collection and management of those data.
- Training of environmental scientists will result in graduates and postgraduates with the knowledge and skills required by industry, government and academia. Academic career paths will ensure a healthy scientific community and enable the development of future world leaders in environmental research.