License: All rights reserved. Credit: Greenpeace

UK's Natural Environment Research Council signs research MOU with Shell

Damian Kahya
License: All rights reserved. Credit: © Getty Images

The UK's Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) - the UK's main public research body into the environment and climate change - has signed a partnership with oil giant Shell to ensure its research can help the firm. 

In a statement released by request on Friday afternoon NERC, which spends £330m a year of public money on environmental research, said it had signed a deal which would ensure the research it funds "could be fully used by the company".

See also

Dr Alice Bell: Comment, UK environmental science - in association with Shell 

The three year partnership will also allow the two sides to work together on joint funding and post-graduate training.

In a strategy document published on the NERC website the body outlined plans to form partnership agreements with a variety of firms including oil firms Shell, BP and BG Group. 

The latest deal comes after it was revealed that NERC had proposed to use its research work to 'de-risk' investment by UK oil companies in the Arctic and Antarctic. Shell has invested billions of pounds in offshore drilling in the high north.

NERC was set up to distribute funds towards environmental research. One of its strategic goals is listed as “enabling society to respond urgently to global climate change and the increasing pressures on natural resources".

However  the organisation recently committed to a new strategy focusing on partnerships with UK businesses.

 The partnership will allow Shell access to the knowledge and expertise drawn from Nerc’s £330m portfolio of research activities - Analysis by Dr Alice Bell

NERC comes under the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills headed by Liberal Democrat minister - and former Shell economist - Vince Cable.

“It’s hard to think of a sector of the UK economy where the need for a deep understanding of the environment is greater than in the oil and gas industry."

"This MoU is another step towards making sure NERC contributes to ensuring growth with responsible environmental management for the sector," said NERC chief executive, Duncan Wingham. 

This is the second time in the past year that NERC has signed an MOU with a major commercial firm. In November last year the research body signed a deal with global engineering firm Arup - who provide environmental impact assessments to the shale gas industry.

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The three year partnership will also allow the two sides to work together on joint funding and post-graduate training.

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