Studentships

Studentships

Many Quaternary Science PhD studentships are funded through the NERC Doctoral Training Partnerships, many of which are listed below. Universities may also have additional funding to support PhD Programmes.

To advertise additional PhD projects, please contact the QRA Publicity Officer. The QRA Email Newsletter may be the best place to advertise PhD Studentships.

PhD projects - IAPETUS Doctoral Training Partnership

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We are offering 14 cryosphere-related PhD projects as part of the NERC-funded ‘IAPETUS’ Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP), which links the Universities of Durham, Glasgow, Newcastle, St. Andrews and Stirling with British Geological Survey and the...
We are offering 14 cryosphere-related PhD projects as part of the NERC-funded ‘IAPETUS’ Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP), which links the Universities of Durham, Glasgow, Newcastle, St. Andrews and Stirling with British Geological Survey and the Center for Ecology and Hydrology. All projects are to start in October and the application deadline is in February. Project titles are provided below and further information on individual projects, the application procedure and the broader IAPETUS DTP are available at www.iapetus.ac.uk.
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London NERC Doctoral Training Partnership

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The London NERC DTP is a partnership of nine prestigious research organisations across London, funded by the Natural Environment Research Council. Our aim is to attain new standards of excellence in environmental science research training, and deliver a transformative...

The London NERC DTP is a partnership of nine prestigious research organisations across London, funded by the Natural Environment Research Council. Our aim is to attain new standards of excellence in environmental science research training, and deliver a transformative inter-disciplinary experience for PhD students in the heart of London. We currently fund 142 PhD students in the natural sciences.

Our students are trained at World-leading research centres, which cover a the breadth of environmental science research, from those driven by contemporary environmental challenges to those exploring complex questions about the evolution of planet Earth. Our PhD programme is focussed on eight key research themes: Biodiversity & Ecology, Earth, Atmosphere & Ocean Processes, Environmental Pollution, Evolution & Adaptation, Natural & Biological Hazards, Past Life & Environments, Solid Earth Dynamics and Pan-disciplinary research.

The London NERC DTP partners are University College London, Birkbeck, University of London, Kings College London, Queen Mary University of London, Royal Holloway University of London, Brunel University London, the Institute of Zoology, the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, the Natural History Museum. The DTP is run by the DTP Team, and the Management Board, and overseen by the PhD Committee and Governing Council. We also have ongoing collaborations with a number of non-academic Associate Partners

Applications open each year in November. 

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NERC GW4+ Doctoral Training Partnership

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The NERC Great Western Four+ Doctoral Training Partnership (GW4+ DTP) is designed to train tomorrow’s leaders in earth and environmental sciences, providing at least 37 PhD studentships annually across the partnership.  The programme engages a broad spectrum of academic and...
The NERC Great Western Four+ Doctoral Training Partnership (GW4+ DTP) is designed to train tomorrow’s leaders in earth and environmental sciences, providing at least 37 PhD studentships annually across the partnership.  The programme engages a broad spectrum of academic and non-academic partners to create an innovative training programme that responds to current and future needs in earth and environmental sciences.  The programme commenced in September 2014 and forms part of the NERC Doctoral Training Partnership initiative.
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ACCE Doctoral Training Partnership

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ACCE is a partnership between the Universities of Sheffield, Liverpool and York, and the NERC’s Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH) providing doctoral training in the biological components of the natural environment and related disciplines. Our vision is to develop motivated,...

ACCE is a partnership between the Universities of Sheffield, Liverpool and York, and the NERC’s Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH) providing doctoral training in the biological components of the natural environment and related disciplines. Our vision is to develop motivated, confident and multi-skilled PhD students, undertaking cutting edge research and tackling environmental science questions of global significance.

Among the Doctoral Training Partnerships funded by the NERC, ACCE is the only DTP with a clear emphasis on the biological component of environmental research. This biological core, combined with the international standing of the partners in the biological and related fields, makes ACCE a natural choice if you wish to undertake a PhD in biological research and related disciplines.

By including related disciplines beyond the biological sciences, ACCE is also able to provide a multidisciplinary environment to the benefit of our students, bringing together biologists, mathematicians, engineers, geoscientists, analytical chemists, archaeologists and policy experts. Our PhD students will not only graduate as excellent scientists, but also graduate with skills much sought after in today’s job market.

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E3 Doctoral Training Partnership

Funded by the Natural Environment Research Council, the Edinburgh Earth and Environment DTP brings together 28 partners and over 200 supervisors with research expertise spanning the full spectrum of earth and environmental sciences.

...

Funded by the Natural Environment Research Council, the Edinburgh Earth and Environment DTP brings together 28 partners and over 200 supervisors with research expertise spanning the full spectrum of earth and environmental sciences.

Our vision is to attract the best PhD students, to carry out frontier research and address environmental challenges, and to provide a flexible, multidisciplinary training programme that will enable our students to contribute to the next generation of scientific leaders in academia and industry.

We offer a wide variety of project opportunities. Each project is supervised by experts drawn from across the E3 DTP.

See our eligibility requirements and information about the application process first. Then, to apply for a project, click the corresponding 'Apply Now' link.

Application Process and Eligibility Requirements

Applications for the E3 DTP (starting September the following year) will open annually in November.                     

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EnvEast Doctoral Training Partnership

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The EnvEast Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP) was created in November 2013 with funding from the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC).

It draws together expertise from three...

The EnvEast Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP) was created in November 2013 with funding from the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC).

It draws together expertise from three universities and ten research centres of national and international importance. Led by the University of East Anglia's world-renowned School of Environmental Sciences, the partnership aims to address some of the grand challenges facing contemporary society by providing excellent multidisciplinary training to a new generation of science and business leaders working in the broad field of environmental science.

The EnvEast NERC DTP will offer over 60 fully funded PhD studentships over five student cohorts, starting between 2014 and 2018. EnvEast PhD research projects are grouped around three key themes of international significance, but we also offer projects and training in other important areas of NERC's scientific remit.

Partners include:

  1. University of East Anglia
  2. University of Essex
  3. University of Kent
  4. British Antarctic Survey
  5. British Geological Survey
  6. British Trust for Ornithology
  7. Centre for Ecology and Hydrology
  8. Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science
  9. The Met Office
  10. Plymouth Marine Laboratory
  11. Marine Biological Association
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SCENARIO

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Graduates of SCENARIO will play a major role in advancing the quantitative science of the environment, in understanding the interaction between people and environmental change, and in the exploitation of environmental science and engineering by industry and policy makers. They will become...
Graduates of SCENARIO will play a major role in advancing the quantitative science of the environment, in understanding the interaction between people and environmental change, and in the exploitation of environmental science and engineering by industry and policy makers. They will become tomorrow's leaders in the ever expanding, and increasingly high profile, field of environmental science. The scientific scope of SCENARIO is broad, spanning the physical, chemical and biological processes within the overarching theme of "environmental risk and sustainability" over a wide range of temporal and spatial scales. We have supervisory expertise spanning the science of atmosphere, oceans, ice, hydrology, soil, ecosystems and space weather. SCENARIO seeks to attract high-quality graduates from science, mathematics and engineering degrees. NERC are fully funding 60 PhD studentships (12 per year, for 5 years) and we aim to increase the student cohort with co-sponsorship.

As a SCENARIO PhD student you will engage primarily in scientific research under the guidance of your supervisors. SCENARIO will provide PhD training ranging from in-depth disciplinary underpinning science, to projects that explore and deepen the links between disciplines. It will develop your skills in environmental sciences by exploiting diverse training opportunities including: subject-specific courses (MSc-level modules), high performance computing, fieldwork, laboratory work, professional development and short courses run by SCENARIO where the DTP students will come together to discuss and offer solutions to topical issues in environmental science. You will have the exciting opportunity to take a placement with one of our industrial partners or with one of our three international university partners. As a NERC PhD student you will receive a stipend (similar to a wage, but tax free) and your university fees will be paid. You will also have funding for participation in conferences, fieldwork and visits to the Partners co-supervising your project.

SCENARIO is led by the University of Reading, with three further Host Partners (where lead supervision of students will also take place): the University of Surrey, the NERC Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH) and the NERC British Geological Survey (BGS). Please go to the Partners page to see our wide range of industry and public sector partners.

Professor John Methven, Director of the SCENARIO NERC DTP

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Oxford Environmental Research Doctoral Training Partnership

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The Oxford DTP in Environmental Research offers a world class, multidisciplinary training environment for the next generation of researchers working at the frontiers of Environmental Research. Students are selected based on their demonstrated potential for becoming...

The Oxford DTP in Environmental Research offers a world class, multidisciplinary training environment for the next generation of researchers working at the frontiers of Environmental Research. Students are selected based on their demonstrated potential for becoming scientific and research leaders of the future and for tackling the leading environmental problems that will confront society over the 21st century.

The nature of the DTP means that students will be admitted from a wide variety of disciplines.  We have physicists, biologists, archaeologists, earth scientists, geographers and also some who do not fall into any of these categories.  Some have just completed undergraduate degrees, others have been researchers in the field for a number of years. It is this diversity of experience that makes the DTP an exciting place to embark on an independent research career.

Students are admitted to one of the three streams of the DTP, and will develop their own research project during their first 6 months of study. The cohort-based core training courses during the first term aim to introduce students to the broad range of exciting research opportunities available to DTP students. Once the project and DPhil supervisor has been agreed between the student and the Management Committee, DTP students are able to move into the Department in which they will carry out their research and ultimately earn their DPhil degree.  Students will maintain their links to the DTP throughout their programme in a number of ways: ongoing (core and advanced) training, research seminars, and social events.

 

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SPITFIRE

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SPITFIRE is a NERC Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP) creating an innovative multi-disciplinary experience for the effective training of future leaders in environmental science, engineering, technology development, business, and...

SPITFIRE is a NERC Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP) creating an innovative multi-disciplinary experience for the effective training of future leaders in environmental science, engineering, technology development, business, and policy.

The Challenge

A knowledge-based economy can only maintain its position in a global society if it is at the forefront of scientific and technical expertise. Making informed responses and finding solutions to challenges as varied as climate change, natural hazards, biodiversity loss, energy generation and the search for strategic mineral resources relies on developing a supply of highly-qualified and well-educated young scientists and technologists. Simultaneously, new technologies and techniques are driving rapid expansions in environmental data generation. Effective management, processing and synthesis of this information will be both a major challenge and opportunity for 21st century environmental science.

Equipping the next generation of scientific leaders with the skills they will need to tackle these challenges is arguably the most important function of an environmental research organisation.

The SPITFIRE Doctoral Training Partnership

To meet these challenges, the University of Southampton and hosting partners submitted a joint bid to NERC to create an innovative multi-disciplinary DTP: the Southampton Partnership for Innovative Training of Future Investigators Researching the Environment ‘SPITFIRE’ – the name of which reflects the production of the famous aircraft within sight of the partnership hub at NOCS.

The SPITFIRE DTP received more than £6M funding from NERC in November 2013 and, together with supporting co-funding across the University and hosting partners, aims to support a cohort of up to 30 students a year over five years. SPITFIRE will equip the next generation of environmental science leaders with the skills and knowledge they will need to exploit and develop diverse new technologies (e.g., autonomous platforms, novel sensors, next-generation sequencing) and techniques (e.g., high-level numeracy, Big-Data handling, numerical modelling, crowd sourcing, bioinformatics, machine learning) and effectively apply these tools in tackling the key environmental science challenges of the future.

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Manchester & Liverpool Doctoral Training Programme

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The Manchester-Liverpool DTP is one of 14 Doctoral Training Partnerships funded by NERC to train the next generation of researchers to address major challenges in the Environmental Sciences. Our DTP brings together the Universities of Manchester and Liverpool with the National...

The Manchester-Liverpool DTP is one of 14 Doctoral Training Partnerships funded by NERC to train the next generation of researchers to address major challenges in the Environmental Sciences. Our DTP brings together the Universities of Manchester and Liverpool with the National Oceanographic Centre in a consortium with world-leading expertise across the breadth of the NERC remit.

Our students work at one of the three host partners, registering for a PhD at the University of Manchester or Liverpool. Their research projects may be exclusively based at one of the partners, or involve collaboration between them – but the training programme is provided jointly. Our training is tailored to suit the individual needs of each student, drawing on our strength in each research theme, as well as providing a broader environmental overview to the research challenges in environmental sciences. The studentships are for 3.5 years with a possible extension to 4 years in exceptional circumstances. 

We offer a wide range of different research topics within the three themes of atmospheric sciences, ocean sciences and earth and environmental sciences. Some topics are very specific, with a clear goal, while others are more general with plenty of scope for the student to refine their own research direction. With partner institutions in the public and private sector, the DTP offers students opportunities for additional training, work experience and internship placements, as well as CASE projects which are jointly supervised by University and external partners.

We are looking for high-calibre, motivated applicants wishing to conduct research in the environmental sciences, who have the potential to be the research leaders of the future.

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SPHERES Leeds York NERC Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP)

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Our NERC DTP spans the science of Earth’s atmosphere, geosphere and biosphere. It is hosted by five academic departments at the University of Leeds and one at the University of York, building on a history of bi-lateral and multi-lateral research collaboration. Through high quality...
Our NERC DTP spans the science of Earth’s atmosphere, geosphere and biosphere. It is hosted by five academic departments at the University of Leeds and one at the University of York, building on a history of bi-lateral and multi-lateral research collaboration. Through high quality research projects and training, we attract excellent postgraduate students into natural environment science research and train them for future employment and leadership, enabling them to contribute to environmental well-being and UK economic prosperity. We have recruited 80 students in 3 cohorts since October 2014. Their research projects tackle current and future global challenges such as climate change, atmospheric pollution, natural hazards, sustainable use of natural resources (e.g., water, hydrocarbons, minerals, soils, forests, biodiversity) and food security.

We recruit about 28 students per year from the UK and rest of the European Union and provide them with fully funded studentships, including a generous research budget.
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CENTA

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The Central England NERC Training Alliance (CENTA), is a consortium of research intensive Universities and research institutes that are working together to provide excellence in doctoral research training. 

CENTA encompasses research activities within four broad...

The Central England NERC Training Alliance (CENTA), is a consortium of research intensive Universities and research institutes that are working together to provide excellence in doctoral research training. 

CENTA encompasses research activities within four broad themes:

  • Anthropogenic Impact
  • Evolution & Ecosystems
  • Dynamic Earth
  • Biogeochemistry

These themes cut across the 17 academic departments, within the 5 universities, as well as the 2 NERC research organisations involved. This reflects both the multidisciplinary nature of much of our research and the critical mass of researchers in central England who span the breadth of the NERC remit. A critical mass of researchers in close geographic proximity is our great strength. It facilitates shared access to facilities and training and helps to build a strong cohort identity.  

Our vision

The world’s population now exceeds 7 billion and is projected to reach 9 billion by the middle of the century. More than half the world’s people live in cities, whilst the productive regions of the land and oceans are intensively exploited to meet growing demands for food, water, and energy. Accommodating the needs and aspirations of people, whilst living sustainably within the Earth’s limits is the great challenge of the 21st century.

Furthermore, mitigating and adapting to the effects of climate change, extreme weather and natural hazards is critical5. Managing these environmental challenges will require ever-increasing sophistication from a new generation of environmental scientists.  Our vision is to attain new standards of excellence in research training and to deliver a transformative interdisciplinary experience for doctoral researchers.

At CENTA we aim to develop well-rounded students confident in a wide range of scientific, research, leadership and entrepreneurial skills. Such individuals will go on to become future sector leaders, equipped with not only specialist and technical expertise in their research fields, but also the ability translate research into impact and to address the complex and shared environmental challenges facing society.

Who we recruit

We recruit graduates who have studied a wide range of subjects including earth sciences, geography, environmental science, chemistry, biology, physics, maths, engineering and computing. Find out how to apply.

Host partners

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