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Background

NERC is developing a portfolio of Centres for Doctoral Training (CDTs) to complement the Doctoral Training Partnerships scheme. CDTs support strategically targeted, focused PhD studentships aimed at addressing specific research and skills gaps identified by NERC and our partners.

In October 2013, in recognition of the importance of focused training, NERC Council agreed additional funding for the NERC CDT portfolio to allow the establishment of at least one CDT per year.

To maintain momentum in the development of the CDT portfolio, the NERC Training Advisory Group (TAG) guided the selection of the 2014 CDT priority areas using information from the LWEC Skills Review, NERC's overall strategy and NERC's training strategy.

During 2014, NERC will introduce new ways of identifying and prioritising postgraduate training needed in the environmental sciences, working with the UK environmental science community including end-users. The community will be able to submit postgraduate training ideas, and evidence of need, for TAG's consideration. Further information will be provided later this year.

2014 CDT call

NERC will fund two new CDTs as part of the 2014 CDT call. The two priority areas are outlined below with the full details of each set out in the Announcements of Opportunity for each area.

The closing date for application to both opportunities is 16:00 on Thursday 26 June 2014.

All proposals should include a Case for Support, which must be contained within 14 sides of A4, using the pro forma provided below. Applications must be submitted via the research councils' Joint electronic-Submission system (Je-S).

Pro forma (Word, 53KB)

Joint NERC-BBSRC Soil Science CDT

NERC and the Biotechnology & Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) invite proposals from consortia of research organisations interested in hosting a new Centre for Doctoral Training, specialising in the training of scientists with a high level of rounded skills and knowledge to tackle current and future challenges in soil science.

Soil comprises a complex matrix of biological chemical and physical properties, and is thus central to many of both NERC and BBSRC strategic priorities. Understanding the multiple functions of soil and its interactions with the wider environment is key to protecting and maintaining our terrestrial ecosystems and delivering solutions to the global food security challenge and climate mitigation. Understanding soil is central to the sustainable intensification of agriculture, the provision of biological solutions to the energy crisis and water management; thus putting it at the heart of the food, water energy nexus.

The requirement for a new generation of scientists who are able to understand the complexity of the soil ecosystem and the role it plays in wider ecosystem services, and who have up-to-date skills, is paramount to maintain the UK's capability in soils research.

Funding for eight studentships will be awarded per annum, and the CDT award will provide funding for three years of new student intake from 2015-16.

An expected key outcome of the CDT will be to create a concentrated national focus for doctoral training in soil science. A minimum of three eligible research organisations should be involved in each bid.

Please see the Announcement of Opportunity document below for full details of this call.

Announcement of Opportunity (PDF, 225KB)

Risk and mitigation; using Big Data CDT

Proposals are sought to host a new Centre for Doctoral Training specialising in risk and mitigation; using big data.

Society and the environment are becoming increasingly susceptible to changes associated with a fast expanding and ageing population, highly interdependent economies, increasingly limited resource, natural hazards events and rapid climate change. The complex, interdependent and rapidly changing risks derived from these interacting drivers often result in unexpected impacts far removed from the original trigger.

Decision makers in business, government and society need to understand the risks faced and develop appropriate mitigation strategies. NERC science and data currently underpins a large amount of the risk assessment, and there is an urgent need for tools to help decision makers assess risk from these increasingly complex interconnected hazards, to understand the uncertainties associated with them, to communicate risk and enable decision making under uncertainty.

Funding for ten studentships will be awarded per annum, and the CDT award will provide funding for three years of new student intake from 2015-16.

Two of the studentships in the 2016 cohort will be interdisciplinary studentships co-funded by the Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC) and NERC.

Please see the Announcement of Opportunity document below for full details of this call.

Announcement of Opportunity (PDF, 241KB)

For further information about this initiative, please contact the NERC Studentships & Training Awards Group at .