2019-20 Projects

The NERC GW4+ DTP are now accepting applications for PhD projects commencing Autumn 2019 and covering the full breadth of Earth, Environmental and Life Sciences in the 3 research themes, Dynamic Earth, Living World and Changing Planet.

Up to 30 fully-funded studentships are available comprising:

  • An index-linked stipend for 3.5 years (currently £14,777 p.a. for 2018/19);
  • Payment of university tuition fees;
  • A research budget of £11,000 for an international conference, lab, field and research expenses;
  • A training budget of £4,000 for specialist training courses and expenses.

Some projects are CASE projects which are co-developed with industrial, commercial and charity end-users of research and provide the PhD researcher with additional benefits, such as a paid internship outside the academic setting and an additional research budget of at least £3,000.

For projects hosted at a research organisation, the student will be based there, but they will be registered at the university of the academic supervisor in the project advert.  The research organisation supervisor will supervise the student on a daily basis, while the academic supervisor will have primary responsibility for monitoring student progress.  Students may also be located at collaborating universities for part of their PhDs.

Comprehensive PhD Researcher Training Programme

The GW4+ Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP) consists of the GW4 Alliance of the word-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, media;
  • Advanced training in specialised research skills required for specific projects;
  • 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 available to all our PhD researchers in government 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 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 are primarily open to UK residents only, however, a limited number of full studentships are also available to EU residents.

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.

Application process

Applicants should identify a project or projects that they would be interested in doing via the research theme links of Dynamic Earth, Living World and Changing Planet below, and applicants can find links on those pages to the relevant institutions for completion of the application process.   There is no limit on the number of applications you can make within the Gw4+ partnership.  After submitting the application, applicants may be contacted by the project supervisor(s) to discuss the project in more detail.

The deadline for applications is 1600 hours GMT Monday 7 January 2019.

Interview process

Interviews take place 4 – 15 February 2019.

Applicants will be expected to give a short presentation (approximately 5 minutes) on the day.  Applicants will be evaluated on their academic achievement, understanding of research, self-motivation and research presentations by a multidisciplinary panel of researchers within the respective institution, and occasionally observers from other GW4+ institutions and the DTP Hub will attend.


Click for Dynamic Earth Projects

Hancy - Diamond Dove

Click for Living World Projects


Click for Changing Planet Projects 

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