Centre for Doctoral Training in the use of smart and autonomous observation for the environmental sciences

Number of notional studentships awarded: ten per year for three intakes.

Academic partners: the universities of Southampton (academic lead partner), Heriot-Watt, East Anglia, and the British Antarctic Survey, National Oceanography Centre and Scottish Association for Marine Science.

Summary

The Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in the use of smart and autonomous observation for the environmental sciences was awarded to the Next Generation Unmanned Systems Science (NEXUSS) consortium. The CDT is co-funded by NERC and the Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).

Recent advances in Smart & Autonomous Observation Systems (SAOS) now allow scientists to work across a wide range of spatial and temporal scales. The CDT will provide specialised training in this increasingly vital area, creating a community of highly skilled people whose expertise will contribute both to scientific breakthroughs and to economic growth.

NERC and EPSRC have invested about £2·5 million to support this CDT and academic and industry partners have committed to support additional training opportunities. The CDT will provide training between 2016 and 2022.

The CDT in the use of smart and autonomous observation for the environmental sciences will support 30 postgraduate students funded by NERC and EPSRC, over three student intakes between 2016 and 2018.

Research areas and training

The CDT will offer training in the 'end-to-end' use of SAOS technologies. Studentships will include training in the following areas

  • Development, validation and application of novel SAOS in multiple areas across the NERC science remit.
  • Development of conceptual frameworks for statistically robust environmental data collection using SAOS.
  • Understanding of deployment, piloting and control of SAOS in challenging environments.
  • Skills in mathematics, statistics and spatial modelling for data reduction and analysis of large datasets generated by SAOS.
  • New approaches to SAOS data management and visualisation for use by a broad range of stakeholders in NERC science.
  • Fundamental understanding and technical ability to develop SAOS from proof-of-concept to fabrication, testing, field demonstration and commercialisation.

In addition to undertaking scientifically challenging research, students will gain advanced technical skills, be regularly brought together as a cohort to share ideas and skills, and have the opportunity to take part in partner-based secondments.

Further information

For further information regarding the CDT in the use of smart and autonomous observation for the environmental sciences, please either see the NEXUSS CDT website - external link or the NERC Research Careers Team at researchcareers@nerc.ac.uk. All enquiries relating to student recruitment should be directed to the CDT.