The NERC Great Western Four+ Doctoral Training Partnership (GW4+ DTP) is designed to train tomorrow’s leaders in earth and environmental sciences, providing 37 fully-funded PhD studentships annually across the partnership covering home tuition fees, stipend, research and training support grant and training budget.  The programme engages a broad spectrum of academic and non-academic partners to create an innovative training programme that responds to current and future needs in earth and environmental sciences.  The programme commenced in September 2014 and forms part of the NERC Doctoral Training Partnership initiative.

PhD research projects in earth and environmental science

At least 37 PhD studentships are offered in earth and environmental sciences across the partnership.  Each studentship provides funding for 3.5 years for a research project under one of the three interdisciplinary research themes:

  • Solid Earth
  • Living World
  • Changing Planet

Research projects will be led by one of the GW4+ partners and collaboration across the partnership is encouraged.  Students will be registered at one of the GW4 universities and students may be co‑supervised in other institutions in the partnership. For more details about our current and future projects


Earth and environmental scientists are in demand from a diverse range of sectors.  The DTP training programme aims to equip students with a broad range of skills in preparation for their future careers.  Students will be expected to gain fundamental and advanced research skills, alongside complementary transferable skills. For more details about our training programme 

Associate Partner Engagement

Non‑academic partners have the opportunity to engage with the programme on a number of different occasions from project development through to student training.  This is done through the offering of CASE support, workplace secondments and the development of bespoke training events. For more details about our associate partner engagement

Research Experience Placements

The NERC GW4+ Research Experience Placement (REP) scheme is aimed at addressing the shortage of individuals with quantitative skills coming into Earth and Environmental Science.  We offer four summer placements across the GW4+ partners for undergraduate students in quantitative disciplines to engage in active research projects in the NERC area, enhance their academic skills and make a more informed decision on furthering their research at postgraduate level. For more details about our Research Experience Placements



NERC GW4+ DTP Handbook

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