The Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) is the funding body supporting the QUADRAT Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP). QUADRAT DTP came to fruition through the DTP2 call for proposals in 2018. It is one of several DTP’s supported by NERC across the country – 15 in the DTP1 call and 17 in DTP2. NERC is the “largest funder of independent environmental science, training and innovation in the UK,” always striving to advance environmental science through the commission of new, world-leading research, infrastructure and training to encourage and enable valuable scientific breakthroughs across the sector.

NERC is part of UK Research & Innovation (UKRI), a body of research councils working in partnership with universities, research organisations, businesses, charities and government to create a dynamic environment in which research and innovation can and will thrive. NERC partnerships enable the sharing of knowledge, skills and technology, and further still support economic growth and responsible environmental management across the UK.

Working alongside partner organisations allows NERC to invest public funding in to strategic research that addresses key societal challenges, helping business, government and society benefit from natural resources, build resilience to, predict and respond to natural and environmental hazards, and to understand and manage environmental change. NERC work in collaboration with policymakers and industry to align our knowledge in delivering and supporting sustainable economic growth and wellbeing in the UK and globally because “understanding our changing planet is vital for our wellbeing and economic prosperity.”

The NERC science remit is broadly focussed on the environmental sciences, however the need for multi- and interdisciplinary science is growing all the time, and as such NERC encourage and are actively involved in a wide variety of cross-disciplinary projects.

NERC work hard to bring a wide variety of students into the environmental sciences. They run an annual summer Research Experience Placement (REP) scheme for undergraduate students completing degrees in quantitative subjects (e.g. maths, statistics, engineering, computer science), to provide them with an opportunity to explore how their skillset could contribute to environmental work. This is administered by the DTP and is a fantastic way to open these students up to DTP PhD opportunities. So far, we have had huge uptake and success with this popular scheme and look forward to continuing with it on an annual basis and hope to see some of the students return to us for PhD study! You can see what these students have been up to here.

NERC research is frequently a product of partnerships with other research funders and research users for greater benefit and impact on the research community. As a result, NERC are involved in the UKRI  Policy internships scheme which is open to all UKRI research council DTP and CDT students. This opens up placements with policy-making and regulatory partner organisations to further the career opportunities of PhD students.  There is also the UK-Canada Globalink Doctoral Exchange Scheme which offers students the opportunity to develop into global citizens with international competencies during 12-week research placements at Canadian Universities.

The NERC science remit includes terrestrial, marine, freshwater, science-based archaeology, atmospheric and polar sciences, and Earth observation. The focus of NERC scientists’ is the “physical, chemical and biological processes on which our planet and life itself depends.” The QUADRAT DTP themes (biodiversity, Earth systems and environmental management) are designed to fit neatly within this remit, and also to cross-cut the scientific areas covered by each of the partner schools, encouraging cross-disciplinary collaboration. We currently have students working in almost all of these subject areas, from monitoring marine plankton biodiversity, DNA metabarcoding, community dynamics, exploring relationships between glaciers, volcanoes and climate, prevalence of persistent organic pollutants, governance of marine protected areas, palaeoenvironmental history of ancient woodlands and much, much more. Please visit our website for an introduction to all of our current students and their research.

NERC provides world-leading scientific facilities, research ships, aircraft, analytical facilities, satellite data processing, supercomputers and pools of specialist equipment. These services are managed by NERC, but the majority are provided under contract, often by university departments.

If you are eligible for a NERC research grant you can apply for access to any of our services or facilities.

Some NERC facilities may also be used by partners in business, policy and civil society. Please contact the individual facilities to discuss costs and conditions of use.

More information:

List of facilities:

For full details, please visit the UKRI webpage:

Apply to work for three months at an influential policy organisation.

You must have a UKRI studentship in any field.

The host organisations include parliamentary and government departments, as well as non-governmental bodies.

There are 22 organisations offering placements for 2022.

Every internship will be different. It could include you being asked to:

  • produce a briefing paper
  • take part in a policy inquiry
  • organise a policy event.

For details on the available opportunities, see policy internships scheme host partner information (PDF, 905KB).

You will continue to be paid your usual stipend throughout your placement. You could also claim certain eligible travel and accommodation costs up to a maximum of £2,400. The amount will depend on the organisation where you choose to do your internship.

How to apply

Before applying, you should read the policy internships scheme guidance (PDF, 156KB).

You will also need your lead supervisor and the training grant holder to sign the policy internships scheme funding and permissions form (DOCX, 38KB). Upload this to the application form.

If your application passes the initial sift process, you will:

  • attend an interview with your potential host in November 2021
  • be informed of your outcome by the end of December 2021.