Digital Solutions Platforms and Toolkits

Lead Research Organisation: University of Manchester
Department Name: Environment, Education and Development


The Natural Environment Research Council's (NERC) Digital Solutions programme is developing a platform and set of toolkits that exploit environmental and other data to create innovative digital services that deliver economic, societal and environmental benefits across the UK. We are building an online digital platform and set of user friendly toolkits that facilitate improved access and better use of NERC data, integrated with other data, to support decision making across a wide range of sectors. Initially we will focus on two areas 'Connected Healthy Nation' and 'A Climate Ready Nation'.

We will working with a range of partners in local and national government, the private sector, technology sector, infrastructure providers, health sector, transportation, urban and regional planning, environmental science and a whole range of local and national agencies we will facilitate improved decision making in a wide range of sectors.

Our tools will benefit society by improving decision makers' ability to make informed decisions through the integration of data that have potential benefits for the future prosperity of the UK. This ranges from local to national government, the NHS, utility sector, transport infrastructure, insurance industry, housing developers as well as individual members of society. Providing easier access to NERC's environmental data offers opportunities to improving peoples' health and better understanding the impacts of climate change on people, land and property across the UK.

Planned Impact

This programme is likely to create major impacts in a number of ways:

1. Direct involvement of stakeholders via sandpits, workshops, Project Advisory Boards, international conferences involving practitioners and academics in both the UK and abroad and other dissemination events to stimulate debate and understanding of what we develop.

2. Intellectual and horizon opening by advancing knowledge exchange and understanding through use of the platform and toolkits we develop.

3. Broader policy and governance impacts by influencing the role of NERC data in decision making processes

4. Broader impacts on the environment, society and the economy by facilitating easier access and use of NERC data in business, government and society.

5. Direct impact for NERC by raising the profile of your own datasets, how they can be used and making their directly relevant to a range of users to support decision making.

Looking beyond the direct beneficiaries of the programme, the platform and toolkits have the potential to benefit a wide range of sectors and organisations if they are maintained in to the future. With the help of tools such as the ones proposed within this application, we would expect to see a better understanding of the relationship between health and environmental factors. Improved decision making related to extreme weather and climate change impacts, vulnerabilities and risks, which often have a distinct spatial footprint, can be better visualised, analysed and in some cases costed.

Potential beneficiaries span across critical infrastructure providers, the health sector, transportation, urban and regional planning, environmental science and a whole range of local and national agencies. The insurance industry also stands to benefit from the identification and reduction of environmental, social, economic risks and health. In addition, the consultancy sector could apply new models and risk visualisation to secure future business, whilst academics and researchers stand to benefit from improved access to analysis and interpretation of NERC data leading to the expansion of research opportunities.


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Description Digital Solutions Programme
Amount £7,000,000 (GBP)
Funding ID NE/W001985/1 
Organisation Natural Environment Research Council 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2021 
End 12/2025