NERC Data Management Online Training Portal

The NERC Data Management Online Training Portal offers training in data management relevant to NERC's remit and aligned with the objectives of the Industrial Strategy. Following an open call, the Online Training Portal is being delivered by the Data Tree consortium.


Data Tree logo

NERC received a funding allocation via the National Productivity Investment Fund (NPIF) to support funding for current PhD students to develop key skills aligned with the Industrial Strategy through the provision of additional training opportunities.

At its December 2016 meeting, the NERC Training Advisory Board (TAB) identified that data skills remain an area of training priority for environmental science PhD students. Skills of relevance to data management align with several objectives and themes within the Industrial Strategy, and are also of relevance to the needs of many users of the outcomes of NERC research.

NERC decided to meet this training need by enhancing the data skills of PhD students and early career researchers (ECRs) working within NERC's remit. Reflecting the importance of supporting training in this area and the value of these skills across the environmental sciences, this training will be delivered through an online training portal accessible to UK environmental science PhD students. Making this training easily accessible will ensure that a broad range of students will participate and that the impact of this investment is felt beyond the lifetime of the funded period.

Therefore, a call reflecting this vision to support training in data management with a particular focus on the needs of end-users of NERC research was launched in July 2017. Following an open competition, the Data Tree consortium were awarded funding to deliver the Online Training Portal.

What is Data Tree?

Data Tree is a free online course with all you need to know for research data management, along with ways to engage and share data with business, policymakers, media and the wider public.

The Data Tree consortium is led by the University of Reading, with the Institute for Environmental Analytics and Stats4SD as partners.

The self-paced course will take 15 to 20 hours to complete in eight structured modules. The course is packed with video, quizzes and real-life examples of data management, along with plenty of additional background information.

The materials will be available for structured learning, but also to dip in for immediate problem solving.

The eight modules offered through Data Tree are:

  1. Data management: Context
  2. Data management: Practicalities
  3. Data management: NERC
  4. Data application: Analysis
  5. Data application: Visualisation
  6. Data and research: Working with policy
  7. Data and research: Working with business
  8. Data and research: Working with the media and public.

Sign up

NERC encourages anyone interested in Data Tree, or wanting to find out more about the training offered, to visit the Data Tree website - external link and sign up.

Who is it for?

The course is for any scientist, whether you look after your own data or are guided by an organisation.

The course is especially aimed at PhD students and ECRs. However, it is for anyone who wants to develop the right data habits, including thinking about the end-users of your data.

NERC encourages all its funded students, ECRs, and others working within NERC’s remit, to take advantage of this course.

Benefits of online training

NERC recognises the need for training to be delivered through multiple approaches to suit different learning styles and course content. In this instance, it was considered online training would be of benefit for a number of reasons.

Firstly, providing online training will maximise the training reach and enable researchers working throughout NERC's remit to benefit, and will ensure that the training remains available for a minimum of five years, again maximising the number of people who will be able to benefit.

Secondly, people are able to undertake the training at a time and pace that suits, them helping to ensure that they have the training when it is most useful to them and do not have to wait for an appropriate course.

Other benefits include the consistency of training received by everyone participating and increased accessibility for those who may have commitments preventing them from attending residential training.


For queries regarding Data Tree and the training, please contact the Data Tree consortium directly at .

For all other queries relating to the NERC Data Management Online Training Portal, please contact Ben Williams at .