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Cambridge Earth System Science NERC DTP

Graduate Research Opportunities

Studying at Cambridge


About ESS

About ESS

The Cambridge NERC Earth System Science DTP

The University of Cambridge will offer more than 15 3.5 year NERC-funded PhD studentships to start each October. A wide range of projects is available within seven world-class departments and BAS (the British Antarctic Survey) under the broad themes of:

A searchable list of project descriptions can be found here. Our staff are also happy to devise a project with you if you have research interests that we share.

Hosting partners in Cambridge are:

The DTP Administrator is located at the Department of Earth Sciences, Downing Site, Cambridge CB2 3EQ, and can be reached via email at or by phone at 01223 768338.

Biology Theme: Past projects for 2018 entry (for information only)

... provides exceptional training opportunities by embedding students in a wide range of strong, interdisciplinary research programmes. Training is structured around five core topics: ecosystem dynamics, conservation science, behavioural and evolutionary ecology, palaeontology, phylogeny and diversity, and epidemiology.

Biology Theme: Past projects for 2018 entry (for information only) - Read More…

Climate Theme: Past projects for 2018 entry (for information only)

... builds on long standing research programmes in modelling and observing the atmosphere and oceans, the cryosphere and paleoclimate. The theme offers PhD training across the whole range of research into climate, past, present and future.

Climate Theme: Past projects for 2018 entry (for information only) - Read More…

Solid Earth Theme: Past projects for 2018 entry (for information only)

... stems from our outstanding research into solid-Earth processes. PhD training is available in areas of current research specialties including whole-Earth geophysics and geodynamics, mineralogy, petrology and volcanology, evolution of the oceanic and continental crust, and geochemical interactions between the solid Earth, atmosphere and oceans.

Solid Earth Theme: Past projects for 2018 entry (for information only) - Read More…

DTP Handbook

This handbook aims to provide some basic information about the aims and scope of the DTP, and about how it operates. It will also direct you to other resources that give you more information about how NERC and the host institutes operate, and about training possibilities. If neither the handbook nor the DTP website gives you the information you need, don’t hesitate to contact Yvonne Gibbs, DTP Administrator, dtp‐

PDF document icon Cambridge ESS Handbook V.2 September 2017.pdf — PDF document, 592 KB (606903 bytes)

DTP Partners

A list of all DTP partners is below; for instructions on how to apply click on 'read more'.

DTP Partners - Read More…

DTP Management

DTP Management

The CambridgeESS DTP is managed centrally to coordinate selection of the best students, the maintenance of high standards and reporting, and ensure that DTP members benefit from a vibrant and active research community with multidisciplinary training opportunities.

Prof Eric Wolff, DTP Chair, Department of Earth Sciences

Dr Pete Convey, DTP Deputy Chair, British Antarctic Survey (BAS)

Dr Scott Hosking, Alternate Deputy Chair, BAS

Biology Theme Panel:

Prof Chris Jiggins (Chair), Department of Zoology

Prof Melody Clark, BAS

Prof David Coomes, Department of Plant Sciences

Climate Theme Panel:

Dr Ian Willis (Chair), Scott Polar Research Institute (Department of Geography)

Dr Luke Skinner, Department of Earth Sciences

Dr Louise Sime, BAS

Prof Rod Jones, Department of Chemistry

Solid Earth Theme Panel:

Dr Alex Copley (Chair), Department of Earth Sciences

Dr Teal Riley, BAS

Dr Helen Williams, Department of Earth Sciences

CambridgeESS Administration:

Yvonne Gibbs, DTP Administrator

Dr Kathleen McDougall, DTP Training Facilitator

Research Experience Placements

The Cambridge ESS DTP receives funding from NERC to host a number of Research Experience Placements (REPs) open to undergraduates over the summer.

Applications are invited for the following projects:

To undertake REPs students must meet all of the following criteria:

  • Be studying for a degree in a quantitative discipline outside of NERC’s scientific remit (e.g. mathematics, statistics, computing, engineering, physics)
  • Be applying for a placement in a different department to their undergraduate degree
  • Be undertaking their first degree studies (or integrated Masters)
  • Be expected to obtain a first or upper second class UK honours degree or equivalent
  • Be eligible for subsequent NERC PhD funding (UK, EU or right to remain in the UK)

All projects listed above are subject to funding. Please send a CV to the supervisor as soon as possible but no later than Thursday 31 May 2018. The selected projects will be carried out over the summer holiday 2018.