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Cambridge Earth System Science NERC DTP

Graduate Research Opportunities

Studying at Cambridge


Prospective Students



The Cambridge ESS DTP provides PhD training across the NERC scientific remit. It incorporates eight world-class partners, reflecting the breadth of NERC science: the University Departments of Earth Sciences, Applied Mathematics and Theoretic Physics (DAMTP), Chemistry, Geography, Plant Sciences, Zoology and Archaeology and Anthropology, and the British Antarctic Survey (BAS).

The DTP features a highly individualised approach to graduate training that matches the very best students with cutting-edge projects at the frontiers of NERC science, under supervision from leading experts. Students apply directly to the course they wish to undertake, and are embedded in the outstanding research environment of the University of Cambridge and British Antarctic Survey. Students gain a strong grounding in research methodologies and specialist skills within the supportive environment of the Departments, Schools and University, guided by an early personalised training needs assessment. At least 30 percent of NERC DTP awards include CASE partnership with an external partner in industry, government or the nonprofit sector.

While each student is based in a University Department and/or a BAS research programme, ESS DTP members working in NERC science form a distinct and overarching cohort of their own. Termly DTP-wide activities, multidisciplinary seminars, and a biennial DTP Graduate Symposium highlight the activities of the Cambridge ESS cohort and enable the development of an active community with a lasting network of scientific collaboration. The DTP framework exposes young researchers to the full range of training within Cambridge environmental science as well as to a wide range of external project partners, to international research and to industrial imperatives. These represent exceptional opportunities for leading individuals to develop as future science leaders.

Like every Cambridge student and many of the academic staff, DTP students become members of one of the 31 Cambridge colleges. The colleges provide a nurturing academic environment where members interact across subject boundaries, enriching their understanding of other disciplines and potentially opening new lines of enquiry.

The ESS DTP has established a baseline of best practice across all partners, and is managed centrally to ensure the maintenance of high standards. Students will help guide the operation and direction of the ESS DTP, with dedicated student seats on the management committee as well as student-led activities.