Postgraduate training

Please note

NERC does not handle applications from prospective students and is not involved in any stage of the application or recruitment of individuals for NERC studentships.

If you are a current or prospective NERC student, please visit the studentships & training section.

This section of the website contains information for eligible research organisations interested in or currently holding NERC studentship and training awards.

In order to sustain the flow of top talent and skills for UK science, business and government, NERC provides two types of postgraduate training; Responsive and Focused PhD training.

Responsive PhD training

This is postgraduate training where the topic is chosen by the student or supervisor and which can be drawn from any part of NERC's remit. Responsive PhD training is supported through Doctoral Training Partnerships (DTPs) and Large Grants associated studentships.

Focused PhD training

This is postgraduate training that ensures we provide individuals with particular, specialist skills that are linked to our strategic priorities or to priority skills needs. Whilst the training topic may be chosen by the student/supervisor, it will reflect a specific training objective which NERC has identified. Focused PhD training is supported through Centres for Doctoral Training (CDTs), research programme grants associated studentships, research programme competition studentships and research centre & survey studentships.

Advanced skills training (Focused)

This training provides members of the NERC community with opportunities to develop their technical, professional and personal transferable skills. Opportunities include undergraduate research experience placements (REPs), short course support & summer schools, Advanced Training Short Courses (ATSCs), policy internships, data management online training portal and industrial strategy innovation placements.


Contact details for NERC studentship and training enquiries, and information on how to subscribe to email listservers.

If you are a current or prospective NERC student, please visit the studentships & training section.

Terms and conditions of NERC studentships

Information regarding the terms and conditions of all NERC studentships can be found on the handbooks and forms page.

Please note, as of 1 May 2014, all new NERC studentships now fall under the UKRI harmonised postgraduate terms and conditions - external link and not the NERC studentship handbook. All studentships that commenced prior to 1 May 2014 still fall under the NERC handbook. Should a training scheme have any terms and conditions or guidance in addition to the above terms and conditions, these will be available on the relevant scheme's webpage.

Universal studentship acceptance deadline for NERC DTP and CDT studentships

Please note: All NERC Doctoral Training Partnerships (DTPs) and Centres for Doctoral Training (CDTs) have agreed to adhere to an annual universal acceptance deadline for PhD studentship offers. The annual universal acceptance deadline for NERC PhD studentship offers will fall on the third Wednesday of March each year (at noon). Any offer made by a NERC DTP or CDT should include details of the universal acceptance deadline for that year.

The purpose of the annual universal acceptance deadline is to ensure that PhD applicants who have applied for multiple studentship opportunities, and may therefore receive multiple offers, do not have to make a decision on the studentship they wish to accept before knowing the outcome of all of their applications.

Applicants who receive a PhD studentship offer from a NERC DTP or CDT for the forthcoming academic year are therefore not required to accept an offer formally before this date unless they wish to do so.