The Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and the ESRC are pleased to announce the outcomes of the Unconventional Hydrocarbons in the UK Energy System: Environmental and socio-economic impacts and processes programme call for proposals. This programme aims to provide an independent scientific evidence base to understand potential environmental and socio-economic impacts of unconventional hydrocarbon extraction.

NERC and ESRC recognise that unconventional hydrocarbon extraction is a complex issue requiring a holistic approach, encompassing knowledge from both the environmental and social sciences. Seven multi-institution consortium projects will be funded and will start in summer 2018.

The projects will address five key programme challenges identified by NERC and ESRC:

Challenge 1: The evolving shale gas landscape

  • Assessing and monitoring the UK shale gas landscape (UKSGL)
    Lead investigator: Professor Richard Davies, Newcastle University

Challenge 2: Shale resource potential, distribution, composition, mechanical and flow properties

  • An integrated assessment of UK shale resource distribution based on fundamental analyses of shale mechanical and fluid properties
    Lead investigator: Professor Alastair Fraser, Imperial College London

Challenge 3: Coupled processes from reservoir to surface

  • Impact of hydraulic fracturing in the overburden of shale resource plays: Process-based evaluation (SHAPE-UK)
    Lead investigator: Professor Michael Kendall, University of Bristol

Challenge 4: Contaminant pathways and receptor impacts

  • Evaluation, quantification and identification of pathways and targets for the assessment of shale gas risk (EQUIPT4RISK)
    Lead investigator: Professor Robert Ward, NERC British Geological Survey

Challenge 5: Socio-economic impacts

  • Understanding the spatial and temporal dynamics of public attitudes and community responses to shale gas: An integrated approach
    Lead investigator: Professor Patrick Devine-Wright, University of Exeter
  • The social construction of unconventional gas extraction: Towards a greater understanding of socio-economic impact of unconventional gas development
    Lead investigator: Professor Paul Stretesky, Northumbria University
  • 'Fracking', framing and effective participation
    Lead investigator: Professor Benjamin Sovacool, University of Sussex