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GeoNetZero CDT

GeoNetZero CDT

The Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) entitled GeoNetZero is a program of PhD research and training which addresses key areas in Geoscience and its role in the Low Carbon Energy Transition and Challenge of Net Zero.

Led by Heriot-Watt University, the CDT represents an exciting partnership of twelve UK academic institutions: Aberdeen, Birmingham, Dundee, Durham, Exeter, Keele, Newcastle, Nottingham, Plymouth, Royal Holloway and Strathclyde Universities, the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), the British Geological Survey (BGS) and the UK Government Ministry of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

The CDT's research focus is on tackling the challenge of sustainable resource management and the crucial role that the subsurface will play in the low-carbon energy transition towards a net zero carbon economy. Its research and training remit covers the full spectrum of topics including carbon storage, hydrogen production, the sustainable mining of critical elements and geothermal energy through to oil and gas resource management.

GeoNetZero CDT

All CDT PhD research projects will be of interest to those with a background primarily in the geosciences.

The CDT universities have 18 PhD positions available to commence in early October 2022. Studentships are for 4 years, provide funding for tuition fees and stipend at the national UK Research & Innovation level and a generous £5k per annum Research Training & Support Grant allowance to support data acquisition, field work and lab costs.

GeoNetZero CDT

9 of the studentships are funded by HiTech Vision, a leading private equity provider, through their affiliate NEO Energy, an independent upstream UK Continental Shelf (UKCS)-focused energy company, matched by an equal amount from the academic partners. It is a pre-condition that projects in receipt of NEO funding have a specific application to the UK and its Continental Shelf. The other fully-funded projects have a global or generic remit.

The 4-year studentship period accommodates the unique Geological Society accredited, centrally administered, industry-funded Training Academy element of the CDT which runs alongside the PhD studies undertaken at the degree-awarding institution. This 20-week training program is delivered by academic, industry and regulatory experts over the first 3 years of the studentship.

The GeoNetZero CDT builds upon the success of a previous CDT, now in its eighth year, which established a unique collaboration between UK higher education partners, research institutions and industry partners.

Up until the pandemic, students enjoyed courses on a residential basis. While COVID restrictions have resulted in the training programme transferring to an online delivery format this year, it is anticipated that residential courses and field trips will resume as soon as this is allowed.

The CDT program also includes an annual graduate school conference at which students present their results and showcase the best academic research in the Low Carbon Energy Transition and Net Zero Geoscience themes to industry, government and academic representatives.

The CDT has proved a fertile ground for industry internships and graduates of the program have an enviable record in securing employment thereafter.

Here's what existing CDT students say about their experience, and the benefits of the transition to the new research themes of the GeoNetZero CDT:

Dr Nick Richardson, Head of Exploration and New Ventures at the Oil & Gas Authority, said:

“Meeting the UK Government's target of Net Zero Carbon Emissions by 2050 is critically dependent on anchoring a world-class geoscience skills base in the UK. The CDT has an established track record in developing talented graduates who will underpin the diversification and integration required by industry as society transitions to a low-carbon future.”

Details of the project titles and application process can be found on the GeoNetZero website.

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