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UKRI Centre for Doctoral Training in Environmental Intelligence – Data Science & AI for Sustainable Futures

Study for a fully funded 4-year PhD in Environmental Intelligence, starting in September 2023

The increasing availability of large and complex data sets from diverse sources such as environmental monitoring; satellite remote sensing; climate modelling; electronic medical records; and social media and contributions from citizen science; presents an exceptional opportunity to transform our understanding of both the causes and effects of environmental change and our planet-transforming power. Environmental Intelligence is the use of big data and AI to enhance our understanding of the complex interactions between the environment, climate, natural ecosystems, human social and economic systems, and health.

Training Environment

The CDT provides a 4-year PhD programme designed to be suitable for students from a range of academic backgrounds. As a postgraduate researcher in the CDT you will receive training in the range of skills required to become a leader in Environmental Intelligence:

  • the computational skills required to analyse data from a wide variety of sources
  • expertise in environmental challenges
  • an understanding of the governance, ethics and the potential societal impacts of collecting, mining, sharing and interpreting data, together with the ability to communicate and engage with a diverse range of stakeholders

Year 1 of the PhD programme is largely devoted to EI skills training which will be delivered through a combination of taught courses and projects. During Year 1, students are guided to select their PhD research topic for Years 2-4 and an interdisciplinary supervisory team. PhD research supervisors are drawn from a range of relevant disciplines, reflecting the University’s research strengths in both data science and AI, and the environmental and social sciences. CDT PhD research projects are devised by the Environmental Intelligence community at Exeter, often in collaboration with external partners.

Students will also have the opportunity to work with the CDT’s external partners and a range of international institutions and businesses, to ensure that they are well versed in both cutting edge methodology and on-the-ground policy and business implementation.

You can read more about why you should choose Environmental Intelligence at the University of Exeter here.

Entry requirements

We are seeking applications from those with or expecting to receive a 1st class or 2i undergraduate degree in a wide variety of subjects relevant to the application of data science and AI to environmental challenges. These might include for example, computer science, statistics, mathematics, climate, health, economics, philosophy, and social and environmental sciences. For those without a computer science or mathematics background, additional training will be provided (if required). We are happy to discuss alternative requirements for those with non-standard qualifications and/or experience.


Fully funded 4-year studentships at the UKRI standard rate are available for UK students (subject to UKRI eligibility restrictions). A strictly limited number of studentships are available for exceptional international applicants.


We are currently accepting applications for Cohort 5 students to join us in 2023. The application process will remain open until 28th February 2023.

Further information and how to apply visit our website here.

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