NERC invests £2.2 million in CDTs focused on renewable energy

4 February 2019

Two new Centres for Doctoral Training (CDT), with a focus on renewable energy, are among 75 announced today by UK Research & Innovation.

Off-shore windfarm

NERC has aligned its CDT investment with the Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) to equip the next generation of doctoral-level researchers with the interdisciplinary skills and expertise needed boost the UK's capability in renewable energy. NERC's £2·2 million co-investment will equate to approximately 24 studentships.

The CDTs that NERC has supported are:

  • The EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Offshore Wind Energy & the Environment - Professor Daniel Parsons led by the University of Hull.
  • The EPSRC Industrial CDT in Offshore Renewable Energy (IDCORE) - Professor David Ingram led by the University of Edinburgh.

The 75 new centres will be funded through EPSRC, which has allocated £444 million, with a further £2·2 million investment from NERC. Alongside this £446 million invested in skills development across the UK, industry partners are contributing a further £386 million in cash or in-kind. The centres' 1400 project partners include companies such as Tata Steel and Procter & Gamble and charities such as Cancer Research UK.

The CDTs will support the UK's next generation of doctoral level researchers across the breadth of the engineering, environmental and physical sciences landscape, were announced at a launch event held at the London Stock Exchange.

The CDT programme includes technical and transferrable skills training alongside multidisciplinary research. The centres bring together diverse areas of expertise to train engineers and scientists with the skills, knowledge and confidence to tackle today's evolving issues, and future challenges, and forge lasting links with industry.

UKRI Chief Executive Professor Sir Mark Walport said:

Highly talented people are required to tackle key global challenges such as sustainable energy and cyber security, and provide leadership across industries and our public services. Centres for Doctoral Training provide them with the support, tools and training they need to succeed, and the involvement of 1,400 project partners underlines how much industry and the charity sector value this approach.

NERC Associate Director of Operations & Research Careers Robyn Thomas said:

We know that understanding the potential and application of renewable energy will be vital to underpin energy security for the UK in the coming decades. The new CDTs supported by NERC aim to equip our future scientific leaders with the broad range of skills, knowledge and expertise required to meet this significant societal and environmental challenge.

Professor Sir Ian Diamond, Overall Chair of the CDT panels, said:

The high number and outstanding quality of CDT proposals put forward demonstrated just how successful the model has been in energising the research community and their partners. It also made the process a difficult but heartening task. I would like to congratulate all those who were successful in being funded and look forward to hearing of the research that will emanate from the centres.

Further information

For NERC communications or media enquiries, please contact:

Mary Goodchild
External Communications Manager
01793 411939
07710 147485

For NERC CDT enquiries, please contact:

For EPSRC enquiries, please contact:
EPSRC Press Office
01793 444 404


1. NERC is the UK's main agency for funding and managing research, training and knowledge exchange in the environmental sciences. Our work covers the full range of atmospheric, Earth, biological, terrestrial and aquatic science, from the deep oceans to the upper atmosphere and from the poles to the equator. We coordinate some of the world's most exciting research projects, tackling major environmental issues such as climate change, environmental influences on human health, the genetic make-up of life on Earth, and much more. NERC is part of UK Research & Innovation, a non-departmental public body funded by a grant-in-aid from the UK government.

2. UK Research & Innovation (UKRI) is a new body which works in partnership with universities, research organisations, businesses, charities, and government to create the best possible environment for research and innovation to flourish. We aim to maximise the contribution of each of its component parts, working individually and collectively. We work with our many partners to benefit everyone through knowledge, talent and ideas.

Operating across the whole of the UK with a combined budget of more than £7 billion, UKRI brings together the Arts & Humanities Research Council, the Biotechnology & Biological Sciences Research Council, the Economic & Social Research Council, the Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council, Innovate UK, the Medical Research Council, NERC, Research England, and the Science & Technology Facilities Council.

3. EPSRC is part of UK Research & Innovation, a non-departmental public body funded by a grant-in-aid from the UK government. EPSRC is the main funding body for engineering and physical sciences research in the UK. By investing in research and postgraduate training, they are building the knowledge and skills base needed to address the scientific and technological challenges facing the nation. Their portfolio covers a vast range of fields from healthcare technologies to structural engineering, manufacturing to mathematics, advanced materials to chemistry. The research we fund has impact across all sectors. It provides a platform for future UK prosperity by contributing to a healthy, connected, resilient, productive nation.