The BNC project was carried out and is managed by the BNC Consortium, an industrial/academic consortium lead by Oxford University Press, of which the other members are major dictionary publishers Longman (now Pearson Education) and Larousse Kingfisher Chambers; academic research centres at Oxford University Computing Services (OUCS, now IT Services), the University Centre for Computer Corpus Research on Language (UCREL) at Lancaster University, and the British Library's Research and Innovation Centre. The Consortium was formed in 1990, and started work in 1991 on the three-year task of producing a hundred-million word corpus of modern British English for use in commercial and academic research. The first edition of the corpus was published in 1994.
The project was funded by the commercial partners, the Science and Engineering Council (now EPSRC) and the DTI under the Joint Framework for Information Technology (JFIT) programme. Additional support was provided by the British Library and the British Academy.
The BNC Project is managed by the BNC Consortium and all major decisions regarding the BNC are still made by them. Oxford University (Oxford Text Archive) acts as agent for the BNC Consortium in distributing the BNC under the terms of the End User Licence.