Following final approval in September, CEH has become autonomous from UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), launching as a not-for-profit company limited by guarantee with charitable status. To support this change, we have made a slight amendment to our name, becoming the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (UKCEH).
As an independent research institute, our mission, purpose and scientific integrity will be preserved. We will continue to deliver impartial, world-class environmental science for a wide range of funders, and to serve as a strategic delivery partner for NERC, part of UKRI. Through our NERC-funded national capability programmes, we will continue to enable the UK research community to stay at the forefront of environmental science globally, and meet national strategic needs, informing government and business decision-making on environmental issues.
At the same time, our new governance structure will enable us to become more agile and financially resilient. It will also give us the freedom and flexibility to work with a greater range of external partners and funders, both in the UK and internationally, increasing the impact of our science.
The Centre for Ecology & Hydrology was formed in the year 2000 through a merger of four NERC terrestrial and freshwater research institutes. We have a long history of investigating, monitoring and modelling environmental change.
Professor Mark Bailey, Executive Director of UKCEH, said independence is an important milestone in the development of the organisation. “Independence is the next step in our evolution as an organisation. It will allow us to diversify our income and increase the impact of our science, while continuing to deliver the data and insights that researchers, businesses and governments need to create a productive, resilient and healthy environment.”
NERC Executive Chair Professor Duncan Wingham, said: “This is an important milestone for the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology as it becomes an independent body. The new governance structures will make the centre more agile, with more freedoms and flexibilities to deliver their science and to do so with a greater range of external partners and funders. I look forward to a continued strong and productive relationship between our two organisations.”
A new Board of Trustee Directors is in place, who will bring a wide range of skills and experience in overseeing the governance of the new organisation. The Chair of the Board is Lord Cameron of Dillington, who serves as an independent crossbench Peer in the House of Lords and sits on the Environment and Energy Committee. He was Chairman of the Countryside Agency and is also a Lawes Trustee at Rothamsted Research.
Lord Cameron said: “I am delighted to be joining a world-class research institute at the forefront of environmental science. The UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology is renowned worldwide for the excellence and relevance of its environmental science, and I am very much looking forward to working with Professor Mark Bailey, the executive team and my fellow Trustee Directors to build on our successes over recent years and help take the organisation forward.”
Like many not-for-profit research institutes, UKCEH will wholly own a trading subsidiary, the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology Enterprise Limited. Our trading subsidiary will commercialise UKCEH intellectual property, optimise the impact of our research and generate funding to reinvest in charitable activities.