£5million partnership aims to train the scientists of tomorrow

The University of Plymouth’s expertise in earth, environmental and marine sciences will play a key role in a new multi-million bid to train the next generation of researchers.

It is one of five universities involved in the Advanced Research and Innovation in Environmental Science (ARIES) Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP), which has received more than £5million from the Natural Environmental Research Council (NERC).

One of 17 such partnerships across the UK, its aim is to equip postgraduate researchers with the necessary skills to become leaders in the science and business of the environment for the 21st century.

ARIES builds on the existing EnvEast Doctoral Training Partnership and draws together the Universities of East Anglia, Essex, Kent, Plymouth and Royal Holloway.

It will also involve almost 40 other partners, including Anglian Water, Balfour Beatty, British Antarctic Survey, Cefas, Defra, Environment Agency, John Innes Centre, the Marine Biological Association, Natural England, Plymouth Marine Laboratory, RSPB, UK Met Office and the World Wildlife Fund.

Professor Richard Thompson, Director of the Marine Institute and Head of the International Marine Litter Research Unit, said:

“We have a long track record of giving students the chance to contribute to the global research agenda. This programme continues that and provides us with the opportunity to use existing and new partnerships to build on our world class research.”

Dr Nicki Whitehouse, Associate Professor (Reader) in Physical Geography, said:

“The ARIES DTP builds on our existing expertise and is an exciting opportunity for us to work together to address some of the greatest environmental challenges facing our planet in the 21st century. It will unite early career researchers in new collaborations, but also create opportunities for academics, masters and undergraduate students. The chance to work with industry, policy makers and social scientists means we can develop scientific solutions to real world issues that will be useful and relevant to society as a whole.”

The funding will support at least 80 PhD students, with the first of them starting in October 2019, and applications for the first entry are now open.

Over the subsequent five years, they will carry out vital environmental research in areas such as atmospheric and ocean science, biodiversity and conservation, geosciences and natural hazards, the application of microbiological and genetic science to environmental problems, and sustainability of water, energy and food supplies.

As well as carrying out research, the DTP will also include a series of summer schools, with Plymouth hosting one focussed around microplastics – recognising the University’s position as a global leader in marine litter research – in 2021.

The Director of ARIES Professor Bill Sturges, from UEA’s School of Environmental Sciences, added:

“This is an exciting opportunity to bring together world-class expertise from a complementary set of research organisations to train scientists capable of making outstanding contributions to their discipline and able to apply their knowledge to the critical challenges facing the UK economy, the quality of life for its citizens, and the state of the global environment.”

The Advanced Research and Innovation in the Environmental Sciences (ARIES) Doctoral Training Partnership

The Natural Environmental Research Council funding will support at least 80 PhD students and applications are now open, with the first of them starting in October 2019

Find out more about the PhD opportunities