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NERC Great Western Four+ Doctoral Training Partnership

NERC Great Western Four+ Doctoral Training Partnership

We are now accepting applications for PhD projects commencing Autumn 2021 covering the full breadth of Earth, Environmental and Life Sciences. Subject to funding arrangements, up 24 fully funded studentships are available comprising:

  • An index-linked stipend for 3.5 years at the standard UKRI rate, currently £15,285 p.a. for 2020/21;
  • University tuition fees at the standard UKRI rate, currently £4,407 p.a;
  • Research budget of £11,000 for an international conference, lab, field and research expenses;
  • Individual training budget of £3,250 specialist training courses and travel and accommodation on courses.

Some projects are CASE projects co-developed with industrial, commercial and charity end-users of research and provide additional benefits, such as a paid internship outside the academic setting and an additional research budget of at least £3,000.

Available projects

For available projects, click on our research theme buttons here:

  • Dynamic Earth Projects (Earth Sciences, Resources, Planetary Geology)
  • Living World Projects (Life Sciences, Biodiversity, Ecology, Genomics, Evolution)
  • Changing Planet Projects (Geographical Sciences, Climate Change, Atmosphere, Oceans, Hydrology)
  • Many projects are interdisciplinary – please explore all research themes to find your project!

Comprehensive PhD Researcher Training Programme

The GW4+ Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP) consists of the GW4 Alliance of the world-class research-intensive Universities of Bath, Bristol and Exeter and Cardiff University plus five unique and prestigious Research Organisation partners: British Antarctic Survey, British Geological Survey, Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, the Natural History Museum and Plymouth Marine Laboratory. Drawing upon the resources of these institutions and our government, business and research partners, we provide a comprehensive and effective training programme for our PhD researchers which includes:

  • In house training in transferable skills e.g. statistics, programming, presenting, communicating;
  • Advanced training in specialised research skills required for specific projects (using individual training budget);
  • Training in academic writing and publishing, creative thinking and research networking;
  • Resilience and well-being;
  • Multi-disciplinary training events and conferences aimed at developing scientific collaboration;
  • Public engagement and outreach to the next generation of scientists
  • Full careers development programme, including the opportunity to undertake paid internships of up to 3 months in science policy making, science consultancy, conservation, technology, business, exploration and research both in the UK and overseas.

Our comprehensive and effective training and careers development programme is designed to prepare our PhD researchers to take on future leadership roles in scien08/0ce, technology, business and policy making.

Academic requirements

We welcome applications from students in relevant NERC’s science disciplines plus those with degrees in physics, engineering, mathematics, statistics and computer programming. Detailed candidate requirements and a supervisor contact email are provided on the project descriptions. Please email the supervisor if you have any questions about your suitability for the project you are interested in.

Applicants should have obtained, or be about to obtain, a first- or upper second-class UK Honours degree, or the equivalent qualifications gained outside the UK. Applicants with a lower second-class degree will be considered if they also have a master’s degree or relevant professional experience.

Important: nationality and residency requirements

Eligibility for full studentships including the payment of university tuition fees at the standard UKRI rate for ‘home’ students has changed. The requirements for eligibility as a ‘home’ student are detailed and complex and cannot be fully summarised on this site. Please refer to details on nationality, residency and international students on our DTP website.

How to apply

Please follow instructions on the individual project descriptions. If you require any assistance, please email

Application deadline: 2359 hours GMT Friday 8 January 2021. Interviews are expected to take place from 8 - 19 February 2021.

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