Demystifying the NERC IRF


Are you considering applying for the 2022/23 NERC Independent Research Fellowship (IRF) round? Unsure of what to include in your application? Want to learn more from those who work on and have experience of the fellowship?

*****PLEASE NOTE: This event is Earth Science Women’s Network (ESWN) led, with speakers from NERC*****

Join us on July 13th at 1000 UTC (1100 UK time)! This event will focus on applying for the NERC IRF and we hope to set you up for application success! This event is totally free, and is the first in a two-part series. The July event will focus on applications, and a subsequent November event (date/time TBA) will focus on interviews.


This is the first time ESWN has run an event focused on a NERC scheme, and we are looking forward to hosting this inaugural event.

All parts of this workshop (except the breakout room sessions) will be recorded. A link will be made available to participants after the workshop.


The agenda for the event is listed below:

  • Welcome and Introductions [5 mins]
  • Presentation on NERC IRF (James Box) [20 mins]
  • Panel Discussion and Q&A [25 mins]
  • Breakout Rooms – meet the panellists [40 mins]
  • Event Close

Our speakers will be:

James Box (NERC Senior Programme Manager, Talent and Skills and NERC IRF Lead)

James Box is a Senior Programme Manager within the Talent and Skills team at the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC). He primarily works on NERC’s fellowship schemes – running new calls, updating policies and engaging with the community. James’ ‘working from home’ colleagues are Bilbo and Frodo (tabby and ginger toms). 

Susanna Ebmeier (University of Leeds)

Susanna Ebmeier has held a NERC fellowship at the University of Leeds since 2019. Her research focuses on the application of satellite radar to volcanic processes. She researches both remote sensing methods for volcanology and the physical processes that cause deformation at volcanoes, with a focus on Latin American volcanoes. She currently leads 6 PhD projects and co-supervises 2 Postdoctoral researchers.

Kay Heuser (NERC Programme Manager)

Kay is a Programme Manager in the Resilient Environment team (part of the Strategic Programme Generation and Delivery (SPGD) team in the Research & Skills directorate) at NERC. She works in the areas of freshwater sciences, and currently the environmental impacts of plastic pollution where she supports the strategic programme delivery. Before joining the SPGD team, Kay was part of the National Capability Team and was involved in the commissioning of the Environmental Data Service. She has also worked at the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH) where she was coordinator for the Water Security Knowledge Exchange Programme and worked with the Hydrological Summary and National River Flow Archive teams.

Juliet Biggs (University of Bristol)

Juliet uses satellite technology to study active tectonics, volcanism and anthropogenic deformation at new spatial and temporal scales, transforming our understanding of faults, volcanoes and ground stability. Juliet received B.A. and M.Sci. degrees from the University of Cambridge, (2003), and a Ph.D from the University of Oxford (2007). She spent 3 years as a research fellow before joining the University of Bristol in 2010.  She was a member of the NERC IRF Panel A in 2021.

Carol Robinson (University of East Anglia)

Carol is a Professor of Marine Sciences in the School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia She is currently funded by NERC and The Leverhulme Trust to study the role of bacterial respiration in marine carbon sequestration and the production of carbon dioxide and how these may change in a changing environment. Carol is Chair of the Scientific Steering Committee of the Integrated Marine Biosphere Research (IMBeR) initiative, and co-Chair of international working groups on mesopelagic respiration and Ocean Negative Carbon Emissions. She has been an evaluator for Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowships, Deputy Chair of the ERC fellowship review panel and in 2022 Chaired the NERC Individual Research Fellowship Panel B.


We are excited for you to join us!


If you have any questions please contact us via


Best wishes,

The ESWN Member Events Committee and Demystifying the NERC IRF Webinar Series Organisers