Research programme competition studentships

NERC research programmes provide strategically directed environmental research, training and related knowledge exchange, and encourage national and international collaboration.

Next funding opportunity

To be confirmed.


Research programme competition studentships are awarded to address identified needs and priorities within the environmental sciences. These studentships are awarded from a number of NERC research programmes that hold studentship rounds to fund standalone studentships. These are studentships which are not associated with specific programme research grants and form a distinct research project in their own right.

These studentship awards are not associated with a parent grant and the hosting department must make the same level of provision for training and supervision that would be expected for any other NERC research student. The information regarding the studentship training expectations can be found in the UKRI harmonised terms & conditions - external link.

Assessment process

All studentship applications will be assessed against both the success criteria and objectives set out within the announcement of opportunity specific to that call. The aim of these competitions is to establish clusters of excellence, in a focused area, on the basis of proposals from organisations with a strong steer, but not a mandate, towards partnerships. These clusters of excellence would provided clear focal points for investment and also help other stakeholders; eg employers; to invest in the development of highly skilled people in areas of need.

All studentship applications will be assessed on the following NERC success criteria:

  • research excellence
  • training excellence
  • multidisciplinary training environment
  • ability to attract excellent students
  • any call-specific criteria.

Further information regarding these criteria will be available in the announcement of opportunity document for the relevant funding opportunity.

Assessment process (PDF, 63KB)

Funding available

Research programme funding rounds are held throughout the year - these will be advertised on the funding news and calls page.


Project studentships are governed by the same regulations as other research studentships. All proposals must be within the specific science remit of the research programme call. Further information regarding eligibility criteria is included in the announcement of opportunity specific to each call.

Recent awards