ARIES DTP opportunities October 2021

ARIES (Advanced Research and Innovation in the Environmental Sciences) PhD opportunities - starting October 2021

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.

The ARIES studentship competition is now open for entry to its third cohort, starting in October 2021, and the following projects at the University of Plymouth have been shortlisted for funding.

See the links below for further information on the individual projects:


Applicants should have (at least) a first or upper second class honours degree in an appropriate subject and preferably a relevant MSc or MRes qualification.

ARIES studentships are funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), which applies the eligibility criteria laid down by its parent body, UK Research and Innovation (UKRI). These are outlined in their Terms and Conditions of Training Grants document, and given in more detail in their Training Grant Guide (Annex 1), both of which can be found on the UKRI website.

In general, UK and EU nationals who will have been resident in the UK for three years or more at the time when their PhD begins will be eligible for a full ARIES studentship. UK and EU nationals who have been resident outside the UK but within the EU during the qualifying period will usually be eligible for a ‘fees only’ studentship, which pays research costs and tuition fees but gives no help with living expenses.


The studentship is supported for 3.5 years and includes full home/EU tuition fees plus a stipend (2020-21 rate is £15,285 per annum).The studentship will only fully fund those applicants who are eligible for home/EU fees with relevant qualifications.

How to apply

You can apply via the online application form which can be found at: and click ‘Apply now’.

Please clearly state that you are applying for an ARIES PhD studentship, naming the project you are applying for. Whilst you can apply for up to three ARIES projects, you must submit a separate application for each.

For any generic questions on ARIES, studentships and selection processes, prospective applicants should contact Professor Dave Bilton for projects in School of Biological and Marine Sciences and Sabine Lengger for 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 23:59 on 12 January 2021. 

Shortlisted candidates will be invited for interview to preliminary interviews that will take place late in January 2021 with those selected going forward for final interview in February 2021. We regret that we may not be able to respond to all applications. Applicants who have not received an offer of a place by March 2021 should consider their application has been unsuccessful on this occasion.

Key information

  • This project has been shortlisted for funding by the ARIES NERC Doctoral Training Partnership, and will involve attendance at mandatory training events throughout the course of the PhD.
  • Successful candidates who meet UKRI’s eligibility criteria will be awarded a NERC studentship. For the first time in 2021/22 international applicants (EU and non-EU) will 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.