The overall purpose of this activity is to remove barriers to financial mechanisms so that both the long term national and international needs of the UK can be met. To achieve this, it is necessary to understand both the needs and how much the UK is investing in environmental observations.
Together with the Government Office for Science (GO Science), UKEOF provides evidence and secretariat support to the GCSA cross departmental Observations Committee. The aim of the Committee is to help ensure that the UK's crucial long term environmental observational information needs can be met for science, society and the economy.
UKEOF will also work to better determine the estimated spend by the UK's major public funders of environmental observations.
Funding needs and mechanisms
As a result of discussion between the Government Chief Scientific Advisor (GCSA) and UKEOF, a group was set up to look at the issues surrounding the funding of long term observations. UKEOF provided evidence and analyses, utilising the UKEOF catalogue and its assessment tool, to support the initial group. A new GCSA chaired Observations Committee has now been established to take this work further.
Investments in environmental observations
UKEOF has produced a set of guidelines for a common method of reporting investments associated with observation activities to encourage all organisations to report their investments in a comparable way.
During 2008/09, 18 organisations, who publicly fund environmental observations, were asked to follow the guidance and provide information on their investments in observations. This information was collated into a table of estimated investments. Analysis of the information shows that the UK spends at least £300m per annum on environmental observations. The 2008/09 estimate was the first attempt to refine the estimated spend by the UK's major public funders of environmental observations.