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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 2020 covering the full breadth of Earth, Environmental and Life Sciences. Up to 24 fully funded studentships are available comprising:

  • An index-linked stipend for 3.5 years (currently £15,009 p.a. for 2019/20);
  • University tuition fees;
  • Research budget of £11,000 for an international conference, lab, field and research expenses;
  • Individual training budget of £3,250 to attend specialist training courses (travel and accommodation for cohort events covered by the DTP).

Some projects are CASE projects which are 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 a research theme 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, 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 paid internships of up to 3 months in science policy-making, business, consultancy, technology, exploration and research both in 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 science, technology, business and policy-making.


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 the project or eligibility.

Applications for full studentships are open to UK and EU residents. A very limited number of studentships may be available to international students. Residency rules are complex and your eligibility will be checked upon shortlisting.

General academic requirements

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.

How to apply

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

Application deadline: 1600 hours GMT Monday 6 January 2020. Interviews take place 10-21 February 2020.

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