The coordination of environmental research is ERFF’s core activity, and the Forum has pursued this in a number of ways, both large and small.
An early initiative was the development of a Research Programmes Whiteboard to track the current research priorities of ERFF member organisations. This is updated periodically. The contents of the whiteboard may be incorporated in the online ERFF Research database which is currently in preparation.
The Research Database itself is a prime resource to facilitate the better coordination of research by different funders and different researchers, and the UK Environmental Observation Framework is a major research coordination activity - the biggest that ERFF has yet undertaken (supported also by non-ERFF organisations).
Other initiatives currently being explored or in planning for the future include:
- A review of coordination bodies and groups for environmental science in the UK.
- In-depth analysis of the research database to identify gaps, overlaps and opportunities for collaboration at the more detailed level.
- A short review of the planning and funding cycles of ERFF member organisations (as mismatches in funding cycles are a factor which hinders cooperation between funders).
As part of its ongoing effort to facilitate information exchange between research funders ERFF is planning to hold a workshop event to which each ERFF member organisation will be encouraged to send 4 or 5 participants and at which each will be asked to provide information about their current research agendas, for example in the form of a poster display. This is likely to take place on 9 October 2008 at Warwick, prior to the next ERFF Main Board meeting.
The Research Coordination Group is responsible for initiating or overseeing ERFF’s research coordination activities.