The Natural Heritage Research Partnership (NHRP)


The Natural Heritage Research Partnership (NHRP) is the largest collaborative venture within Quercus between the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) and the School of Biological Sciences, Queen’s University Belfast. The primary aim of the partnership is:


“To provide high quality research to underpin decisions relating to NIEA Natural Heritage’s statutory duties and to help deliver strategic targets relating to the Government's key themes of sustainable development, biodiversity and climate change.” 



The role of Quercus


Quercus is primarily responsible for the execution of the NHRP partnership and insuring the delivery of 10 partnership objectives:


Queen's University Belfast
Queen's University Belfast
  1. Provide NIEA with an effective, customer-focussed mechanism for managing a large research programme;

  1. Advance understanding of the natural heritage in Northern Ireland by delivering innovative science of the highest possible quality;

  1. Develop, prioritise and agree three natural heritage work programmes for years 1-4, years 5-7 and years 8-10 of the partnership, according to NIEA business need;

  1. Develop and deliver approximately 110 high quality natural heritage research projects within agreed deadlines, using appropriate scientific techniques. (number may vary depending on the scale and complexity of projects);

  1. Establish a cost effective staffing structure which has the flexibility to carry out urgent projects at short notice;

  1. Provide and demonstrate added value (For example, by using students to carry out basic field and laboratory duties or providing supervisory input from senior staff at a reduced rate);

  1. Encourage and demonstrate the development of skills of new researchers entering the field of natural heritage research in Northern Ireland . (For example, by providing internships, student projects or workshops for new researchers);

  1. Transfer scientific knowledge and skills to NIEA staff. (For example, through secondments of NIEA staff to particular research projects or by providing training in particular skills or techniques);

  1. Disseminate research findings effectively to decision makers, practitioners and the general public. (For example, public lectures, workshops and dissemination of results via the media);

  1. Develop partnerships with other organisations which can significantly contribute to the Natural Heritage work programme.


The role of NIEA


The Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) will contribute:


The Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA)
  • Knowledge of the key drivers affecting the natural heritage of Northern Ireland;

  • Knowledge of the distribution and quality of habitats in Northern Ireland;

  • Knowledge of the distribution and abundance of species in Northern Ireland;

  • Access to primary survey and monitoring data, including access to electronic spatial data;

  • Provision of salary costs for core staff and researchers to carry out the required research;

  • Provision of costs for all necessary capital equipment and consumables to carry out the required research.