Background to request
DFID is increasing its support for research through UK research councils for allocation and commissioning of research. However, it is unclear whether the research councils have any requirements for researchers to consider the environmental implications of research projects in developing countries. By contrast, DFID screen all projects for climate and environmental risks and opportunities and need to ensure that those who provide research also have adequate safeguards in place. This short assignment under the Evidence on Demand helpdesk provides an overview of the current state of Research Council UK’s (RCUK) environmental policies, procedures and guidelines.
<b>Aims and objectives </b>
The aim of this study was to provide a summary of the current Research Council UK and individual research council (RC) policies on environmental management and climate change.
The objectives were to:
- To review RC environmental policies, procedures and guidelines and assess these against the standards required for DFID projects.
- To determine how individual RCs ensure that environmental impacts are considered as part of the allocation of research funds.
- To identify how any appropriate UK or international law might apply to their work overseas.
- To identify gaps and any opportunities to strengthen the way that RCs consider environmental impacts.
The study was based on a review of existing policies, discussion with individual research councils and assessment of these policies with respect to international standards, particularly ISO 14001, and DFID’s own environmental policies and procedures.
Following a review of available information, some email correspondence has taken place with staff from the Research Councils UK (RCUK), Medical Research Council (MRC), Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Council (BBSRC), Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) to fill gaps in information that is available on public web sites.