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ARIES PhD project opportunities: October 2024
The University of Plymouth is a partner in the Advanced Research and Innovation in the Environmental Sciences (ARIES) Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP) which is funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC). 
As one of 17 new Doctoral Training Partnerships in the UK, ARIES enrolled its first cohort of students in October 2019.
ARIES will equip the next generation of environmental scientists with the knowledge and tools to better understand and manage our planet by:
  • Developing multiple cohorts of scientists with advanced skills and knowledge, multidisciplinary outlooks, and substantial potential to operate successfully across all postgraduate career options.
  • Assembling a diverse and integrated training partnership that enables our PGRs to address priority topics in environmental sciences through cutting-edge and world-leading research.
  • Training all of our PGRs to understand modern methods of data management, interrogation, analysis, and presentation; from bioinformatics to artificial intelligence.
  • Ensuring our graduates engage with the interfaces between environmental science and societal needs by growing their ability to achieve non-academic impact and effective public engagement.
School of Biological and Marine Sciences
  • Complex relationships: Exploring the role of the diatom microbiome in host-parasite interaction 
  • Causes, character and consequences of Antarctic turbidity currents 
  • Improving autonomous platforms for next generation biodiversity observations 
  • Investigating cryptic speciation in the beadlet sea anemone Actinia equina 
  • Bouncing back from macroalgal-dominated reefs: microbial and chemical effects of algal removal and coral transplanting 
  • Predicting vulnerability of coastal biodiversity to heat waves at management-relevant scales – a conservation physiology approach 

School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences

  • Mg2+ and Ca2+ variability in seawater and the impact on marine calcifiers 
  • Regenerative agriculture on lowland peat; an oxymoron?  
  • Exploring the 6th February 2023 Turkish earthquakes: significance for complex seismic events and regional geodynamics 
  • Exploring seafloor hydrothermal systems with novel high resolution mineral mapping 
  • Integrating modern and long-term ecology to inform UK peatland fire management in a changing climate 
How to apply
To apply please use the online PG apply application form, then clearly state that you are applying for an ARIES PhD studentship and nameof the primary supervisor and project title at the top of your personal statement.
Online application
Whilst you can apply for up to three ARIES projects, you must submit a separate application for each.
Take a look at the Doctoral College information on applying for a research degree. 
For any generic questions on ARIES, studentships and selection processes, prospective applicants should contact Professor Dave Bilton for projects in the  School of Biological and Marine Sciences and Professor Gregory Price for the  School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences. For specific details on individual projects, please contact the project's primary supervisor. 
For further information please see or contact
The closing date for these projects is midnight on 10 January 2024.
Shortlisted candidates will be invited for interview week commencing 26 February 2024.
Key information
  • This project has been shortlisted for funding by the ARIES NERC DTP and will start on 1 October 2024. The closing date for applications is midnight on 10 January 2024.
  • Successful candidates who meet UKRI’s eligibility criteria will be awarded a NERC studentship for 3.5 years, which covers fees, stipend (£18,622 p.a. for 2023/24) and research funding. International applicants (EU and non-EU) are be eligible for fully-funded UKRI studentships. Please note ARIES funding does not cover visa costs (including immigration health surcharge) or other additional costs associated with relocation to the UK.
  • ARIES students benefit from bespoke graduate training and ARIES provides £2,500 to every student for access to external training, travel and conferences.
  • Excellent applicants from quantitative disciplines with limited experience in environmental sciences may be considered for an additional 3-month stipend to take advanced-level courses in the subject area.
  • ARIES is committed to equality, diversity, widening participation and inclusion in all areas of its operation. We encourage enquiries and applications from all sections of the community regardless of gender, ethnicity, disability, age, sexual orientation and transgender status. Academic qualifications are considered alongside non-academic experience, and our recruitment process considers potential with the same weighting as past experience.
  • All ARIES studentships may be undertaken on a part-time or full-time basis, visa requirements notwithstanding.
Please note: 
ARIES is required by our funders to collect Equality and Diversity Information from all of our applicants. The information you provide will be used solely for monitoring and statistical purposes; it will remain confidential, and will be stored on the UEA sharepoint server. Data will not be shared with those involved in making decisions on the award of Studentships, and will have no influence on the success of your application. It will only be shared outside of this group in an anonymised and aggregated form. You will be ask to complete the form by the University to which you apply.