Doctoral training partnerships (DTPs)

Doctoral training partnerships (DTPs) provide excellent postgraduate research opportunities within the NERC science remit as well as varied professional and technical skills and personal development training.

DTP postgraduate training is delivered in collaboration with partners from a wide range of backgrounds including industry, specialist research organisations, charities, NGOs, government bodies and many more to ensure NERC DTP students are equipped with the skills and experiences to allow them to become world-leaders in their chosen careers.

NERC recently completed a mid-term evaluation of its DTPs. For more details on the objectives, framework and timescale of this evaluation, please visit the DTP evaluation page.

Current funding opportunities

NERC commissioned its second round of Doctoral Training Partnership investment (DTP2) through a fully open competitive call launched in January 2018.


DTPs are held by higher education institutions either alone or as a consortium with other eligible research organisations and partners. NERC doctoral training partnerships host NERC-funded, and potentially other, PhD students undertaking research in any area of the NERC science remit over a number of annual cohorts.

Funding awarded

Through DTP1, funding for 240 notional studentships was awarded per annum for five NERC-funded studentship cohort intakes into the DTPs from October 2014. This funding supports the students' stipends, fees and RTSG and allows for training opportunities to develop the technical skills, professional skills and experience of students at each DTP. Each DTP must ensure, over the five years of student starts, that 30% of their total NERC-funded studentships are CASE (collaborative) studentships.


  • NERC doctoral training partnerships are discovery science (responsive mode) schemes.
  • This competition is currently closed and applications will not be accepted.

Current DTP allocations

NERC DTPs award studentships on behalf of NERC and the DTPs themselves should be contacted for all studentship queries. The DTPs oversee the entire process of awarding PhD studentships and award studentships at their own discretion. Please do not contact NERC for information concerning applying for studentships.

Further information regarding NERC's DTPs can be found in the 'DTP awards and partnerships' document available from the Downloads section on this page. The list of awarded DTPs can be found below and in the prospective students section.

The Environmental Research Doctoral Training Partnership, led by the University of Oxford, has produced a helpful guide for applicants considering applying to NERC DTPs, 'Doctoral Training in Environmental Research in the UK - external link'.

Partnerships currently holding NERC DTP funding

DTP name DTP administrative lead organisation Partner UK HEIs Name of lead applicant Nominal total number of studentship awards per year
CENTA - external link Birmingham Leicester, Loughborough, Open and Warwick Dr James Bendle 12
GW4+ DTP - external link Bristol Exeter, Cardiff and Bath Professor Paul Valdes 28
The Cambridge NERC Earth Systems Science DTP - external link Cambridge None Professor Eric Wolff 15
IAPETUS - external link Durham Newcastle, Glasgow, Stirling and St Andrews Professor John Wainwright 12
E3: Edinburgh Earth & Environment DTP - external link Edinburgh None Professor Simon Mudd 18
Science & Solutions for a Changing Planet - external link Imperial College None Professor Joanna Haigh 15
Envision - external link Lancaster Bangor and Nottingham Professor Nick Ostle 12
Spheres DTP - external link Leeds York Dr Sebastian Rost 15
Manchester & Liverpool DTP - external link Manchester Liverpool Professor Geraint Vaughan 12
NERC Oxford DTP in Environmental Research - external link Oxford None Professor David Pyle 24
SCENARIO - external link Reading Surrey Dr John Methven 12
ACCE - external link Sheffield Liverpool and York Professor Michael Siva-Jothy 14
SPITFIRE - external link Southampton None Professor Martin Palmer 15
London NERC DTP - external link UCL Birkbeck, Brunel, King's College, Queen Mary and Royal Holloway Professor Mark Maslin 24
EnvEast - external link UEA Essex and Kent Professor Bill Sturges 12
Total: 240