Undergraduate research experience placements

NERC recognises that there is a shortage of individuals with quantitative skills coming into environmental science. The Research Experience Placement (REP) scheme aims to address this shortage by offering funding to support summer placements for undergraduate students studying quantitative disciplines outside NERC remit, during which they will undertake research within the environmental sciences. These placements are intended to encourage these students to consider a career in environmental science.

Next funding opportunity

N/A - REPs are now allocated across all NERC DTPs and CDTs annually.


REPs are held to encourage undergraduates undertaking quantitative subjects outside of NERC remit to consider careers in environmental science. During a REP, an undergraduate joins the hosting organisation for up to 10 weeks to complete a short-term research project within the environmental sciences.


Funding for a number of REPs is made available to each NERC DTP and CDT annually. Each REP is for up to 10 weeks during the summer vacation. Students must be paid at a minimum level of the national living wage and where necessary receive a contribution towards research and training expenses during the placement. Additional funding beyond this amount must be found from other sources, including the department.

REP students should be made an employee of the hosting organisation and receive a salary for the duration of the placement.

Student eligibility

Students are subject to eligibility criteria to be able to apply for NERC REPs. Selected students must meet all of the following criteria to be eligible for a REP. The students must:

  • Be studying for an undergraduate degree in a quantitative discipline outside of NERC's scientific remit (eg mathematics, statistics, computing, engineering, physics).
  • Be applying for a placement in a different department to their undergraduate degree.
  • Be undertaking their first undergraduate degree studies (or integrated Masters).
  • Be expected to obtain a first or upper second class UK honours degree.
  • Be eligible for subsequent NERC PhD funding (ie UK, EU or right to remain in the UK).

Research project criteria

Proposed REP student projects are also subject to suitability criteria. Proposed projects must:

  • Have a clearly defined objective.
  • Be within the science remit of NERC.
  • Be suitable for a student feasibly to complete within the timescale of the award.
  • Include more than purely a computer/modelling component ie some element of fieldwork, data collection, activity to give an understanding of the wider context etc.
  • Give scope for thought and initiative on the part of the student and should not use the student as a general assistant.
  • Be based at an eligible UK research organisation.

Responsibilities of the DTP/CDT lead organisation

The DTP/CDT lead organisation is responsible for administering REPs hosted within their partnership; specific responsibilities include:

  • Coordinating the REP award process across the DTP's/CDT's partners and advertising across all relevant partners.
  • Collating all REP reporting forms from hosting organisations.
  • Disseminating REP funds to host organisations as appropriate following payment from NERC.

Responsibilities of the hosting organisation

The hosting organisation is responsible for:

  • Selecting a suitable undergraduate student (see student eligibility requirements below).
  • Ensuring the REP project falls within the NERC remit and is of suitable quality.
  • Ensuring that appropriate supervisory arrangements are in place.
  • Ensuring that any necessary ethical committee approvals, animal licences and requirements of regulatory authorities are in place before the work begins and are maintained during the duration of the work.
  • The identification, protection and exploitation of any intellectual property rights arising from the work.
  • Ensuring that all facilities, agreements about access and collaborations necessary for the work are obtained before the work commences and can be ensured through the period of the work.
  • Ensuring that all costs awarded by NERC for the REP are used and accounted for appropriately.
  • Ensuring that details and assessment of the project are reported to NERC (via the DTP/CDT lead organisation), as directed in the allocation letter or subsequent correspondence.


The student and project supervisor at the hosting organisation will be required to complete a brief report on the outcome of the placement. All reporting forms should be collated by the DTP/CDT lead organisation before being returned to NERC. Payment will be released by NERC on receipt of all final reports by adding the funds to the DTP/CDT Doctoral Training Grant. The DTP/CDT grant holding organisation will then be responsible for disseminating funds to hosting partners as appropriate.

Organisations offering REPs for summer 2019

Doctoral training partnerships (DTP) or Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) name DTP / CDT administrative lead organisation* Partner UK HEIs**
CENTA - external link Birmingham Leicester, Loughborough, Open, Warwick
GW4+ DTP - external link Bristol Exeter, Cardiff, Bath
The Cambridge NERC Earth Systems Science DTP - external link Cambridge None
IAPETUS - external link Durham Newcastle, Glasgow, Stirling, St Andrews
E3: Edinburgh Earth & Environment DTP - external link Edinburgh None
Science & Solutions for a Changing Planet DTP - external link Imperial College None
Envision DTP - external link Lancaster Bangor, Nottingham
Manchester & Liverpool DTP - external link Manchester Liverpool
NERC Oxford DTP in Environmental Research - external link Oxford None
SCENARIO DTP - external link Reading Surrey
ACCE DTP - external link Sheffield Liverpool, York
SPITFIRE DTP - external link Southampton None
London NERC DTP - external link UCL Birkbeck, Brunel, King's College, Queen Mary, Royal Holloway
EnvEast DTP - external link UEA Essex, Kent
NERC CDT in Oil & Gas - external link Heriot-Watt Aberdeen, Durham, Imperial College London, Manchester, Oxford, Birmingham, Cardiff, Dundee, Exeter, Glasgow, Keele, Newcastle, Nottingham, Royal Holloway, Southampton, Strathclyde
STARS CDT- external link Lancaster Bangor, Cranfield, Nottingham
NEXUSS CDT- external link Southampton Heriot Watt, East Anglia
QMEE CDT - external link Imperial College Reading
FRESH CDT - external link Cardiff University Exeter, Bath, Bristol

All queries regarding and applications for REP opportunities as a student must be directed to the hosting organisation(s). The hosting organisations will be overseeing the entire REP process on behalf of NERC.

* This may not be where the places are being offered.

** A number of DTPs/CDTs also have additional non-HEI partners who may host REPs – please see individual DTP/CDT websites for details.