Policy and strategy

student placing a data logger on a coral reef

Student placing data loggers on a coral reef in Egypt

Why does NERC support students?

NERC supports postgraduate training to ensure that its graduates are equipped with the technical, professional and personal skills to enable them to succeed in any career, whether in environmental science or beyond. NERC postgraduate training provides experience and proficiency in a wide range of skills and provides a platform for success in high-level careers in academia, industry, government and other disciplines.

Without a steady stream of technically proficient, skilled and experienced graduates, the UK's high-tech and knowledge-based economy is severely restricted in its ability to grow and adapt to the demands and challenges of a changing world. NERC postgraduate training aims to ensure that the next-generation of academic and business leaders in the environmental sector are equipped with these vital skills and experiences.

Current NERC investment

NERC invests around £23m a year in postgraduate training funding with nearly 1000 students at any time in universities, research institutes or industrial partners.

During their studentships, NERC encourage its students to undertake our postgraduate skills training courses covering transferable skills such as media engagement, policy internships, entrepreneurialism alongside training in specialist research techniques.

Postgraduate training is a constantly changing and developing area for NERC reflecting the rapid and varied changes seen in the environmental sciences. In 2013, NERC announced the first round awards for the new Doctoral Training Partnerships as well as the new Centres for Doctoral Training programme. Alongside these studentships, NERC offer a wide-range of professional and technical skills development opportunities for PhD students and early-career researchers. These courses are offered to provide NERC students and researchers with useful non-academic experiences as well as training needed to plug identified skills gaps in the UK environmental sector. As a result of this, the content offered frequently changes to match the demands of our community.

Investment in postgraduate training directly ties in with NERC's strategic vision by creating the next-generation of environmental scientists as well as forming long term connections between academia, industry and government that will allow the environmental sector in the UK to continue to flourish and grow.

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