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The Great Western Four+ Doctoral Training Partnership creates a multi-disciplinary arena in NERC sciences.

3.5 year fully-funded Interdisciplinary PhD studentships

We are now accepting applications for two interdisciplinary studentships for PhD projects commencing in September 2018, fully-funded for 3.5 years, which explore the interface between the Earth and Environmental Sciences and Social Sciences. These studentships will provide funding for a stipend for 3.5 years (currently at £14,553 p.a.), tuition fees, a Research and Training Support Grant and access to the full in-house training programme provided by two Doctoral Training Partnerships.

The NERC GW4+ DTP and its Programme

The NERC GW4+ DTP consists of the Great Western Four alliance of the University of Bath, University of Bristol, Cardiff University and the University of Exeter plus six Research Organisations: British Antarctic Survey, British Geological Survey, Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, the Met Office, the Natural History Museum and Plymouth Marine Laboratory.

Our training takes the form of in-house foundation researcher training in technical skills commonly required in the Earth and Environmental Sciences (e.g. statistics, writing and communication) and a training budget which gives students access to more specialist training they may need for their research. This is supplemented by other events which bring together all DTP students with the aim of encouraging them to establish relationships for mutual support and collaborate with other researchers across scientific disciplines. In addition, we provide our students with exposure to science policy-making in association with our partner, the Welsh Government, and access to work and policy placements in industrial, research, governmental and voluntary organisations in the UK and overseas.

Our partnership focuses above all on research excellence and our aim is to pave the way for tomorrow’s visionaries, leaders and problem-solvers in the Earth and Environmental Sciences.

The ESRC SWDTP and its Programme

The SWDTP consists of a partnership between the University of Bath, University of Bristol, University of Exeter, Plymouth University and UWE. SWDTP’s training programme includes an induction event, annual conference, a mentoring scheme for new researchers, placement opportunities and training courses, including media training.

Applications to start in September 2015


For specific questions about eligibility and suitability for a particular project, please contact the lead supervisor using the email address on the project descriptions.

We welcome applications from students with experience in relevant NERC’s science disciplines or ESRC's research topics including students skilled in the quantitative disciplines such as pure or applied mathematics, statistics and computer programming. These projects typically require expertise in these quantitative disciplines to, for example, process complex environmental data, produce computer models of Earth processes and climate change, or develop new analysis tools.

Studentships are open to those who satisfy the UK or EU residency requirements for Research Council funding. Please enquire if you are unsure about your eligibility for Research Council funding.

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. Applicants with a minimum upper second-class degree and significant relevant non-academic experience are also encouraged to apply.

Interdisciplinary PhD projects available

Beyond paper parks – Managing Marine Protected Areas for ecological and social benefit (lead supervisor Professor Daniela Schmidt)

Integrating ecological and socioeconomic analysis to optimise forest protection and restoration to meet international climate targets and SDGs (lead supervisor Dr Naomi Millner)

Quantifying carbon emissions from forest burning in Central Africa and assessing their potential economic value (lead supervisor Dr Anita Ganesan)

How to apply for these projects

Apply through the University of Bristol online applications portal.

IMPORTANT: When applying online, please select either Geology (PhD) Programme’ or ‘Geographical Sciences: Physical (PhD) Programme’ as indicated in the project description. On the ‘Research Details’ page answer ‘Yes’ to the question about responding to a specific studentship advert and provide the full project title in the freetext box.

Application deadline: 1600 hours GMT, Monday 12 February 2018

Interviews during the week commencing 12 March 2018

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