UKRI Centres for Doctoral Training in artificial intelligence

Environmental Sciences Centres for Doctoral Training (CDTs) in Artificial Intelligence are being supported by UK Research & Innovation (UKRI).


Two Environmental Science CDTs in Artificial Intelligence (AI) were awarded by UKRI. This builds on collaborative work between UKRI partners to develop a clear picture of the training needs in AI, related technologies, their applications and implications.

AI technologies have significant potential application across the breadth of NERC's remit. The ability of the environmental science community to effectively use AI approaches in managing, manipulating and interrogating big data for complex analysis and decision-making at increased spatial resolution and in real-time represents a step-change in potential understanding of anthropogenic impact on the environment, as well as the impact of the environment on the operating context of the human population and economy.

The next generation of environmental scientists will require a broad skill base that combines both development and implementation of innovative environmental monitoring techniques with the necessary mathematical, computational and data management skills to apply AI techniques to environmental challenges.

UKRI CDT in Environmental Intelligence: Data Science and AI for Sustainable Futures (EI CDT)

Academic lead: University of Exeter

Current industry partners: The UK Hydrographic Office, Exeter City Futures, IBM United Kingdom Limited, Oasis Loss Modelling Framework Ltd, Amazon Web Services, EDF Energy Plc, Microsoft Corporation (USA), Office for National Statistics, World Health Organisation, Met Office, Ordnance Survey.

The Environmental Intelligence: Data Science and AI for Sustainable Futures will offer training in:

  • data science, computing and AI
  • environment, natural resources and sustainability
  • data in context.

UKRI CDT in Application of Artificial Intelligence to the study of Environmental Risks (AI4ER)

Academic partners: University of Cambridge (academic lead partner), British Antarctic Survey (BAS)

Current industry partners: Impax Asset Management, ICCCAD, Marks & Spencer, Myrtle Software, Defra, Natural England, Frontier Development Lab, Allstate, DeepMind, HSBC Bank plc, ESA/ESRIN, World Conservation Monitoring Centre (WCMC), Mott Macdonald UK Ltd, MAX Fordham & Partners, The Mathworks Ltd, Mission Control for Earth, Total American Services, Department for Business Innovation & Skills, Descartes Labs, Cambridge Spark, Jane Street Europe, Esri, Buro Happold Limited, Isaac Newton Institute for Mathematical Sciences, Risk Management Solutions Ltd, BP International Ltd, Anglian Water, Microsoft Corporation (USA), Friends of The Earth, European Bank for Reconstruction & Development, Environment Agency, Cefas, Met Office, Schlumberger Cambridge Research Ltd, Towers Watson.

The Application of Artificial Intelligence to the study of Environmental Risks will offer training in:

  • environmental data classification, integration and analysis
  • environmental modelling.

Research areas and training

Both these CDTs will offer high quality training in the area of artificial intelligence.

In addition to undertaking scientifically challenging research, students will gain specialist skills in priority areas of artificial intelligence. Students will be regularly brought together as a cohort to share ideas and skills, and develop broader transferrable skills that can be applied across the environmental sciences, emerging technologies and in their future careers.

These CDTs aim to support areas of training needs within artificial intelligence, as well as developing industry capacity in the use of new and novel tools and technologies. They aim to create a highly-skilled community of researchers and the next generation of sector leaders with the transferable skills and ability to integrate environmental science and emerging technologies to address future research and technical needs. These CDTs will provide focused postgraduate training to develop individuals with specialist skills in key areas.

Further information

For further information regarding the UKRI CDTs in Artificial Intelligence, please visit EI CDT - external link, AI4ER - external link, or contact the NERC Talent & Skills Team at .

All enquiries relating to student recruitment should be directed to the CDTs directly.