QUADRAT DTP Call for Project Proposals (Cohort 3) 

The QUADRAT Doctoral Training Partnership is pleased to announce its third call for PhD studentship project proposals for the academic year 2021-22. These are UKRI NERC funded studentships and will commence on 1st October 2021 for a duration of 42 months. To find out more about QUADRAT, please view our recorded engagement session (slides available on request). 

We invite Principal Investigators from the four QUADRAT DTP partner schools to submit an application before the deadline of 17:00 GMT Monday 5th October 2020 

THIS CALL IS NOW CLOSED. Please check back in autumn 2021 for the next call for proposals. 


The QUADRAT DTP aims to meet the challenges associated with the effective management of the natural environment and to influence policy and practice through interactions with our community of partners and stakeholders 

Proposals must clearly fit in to at least one of the three QUADRAT Research Themes (Biodiversity, Earth Systems and Environmental Science), and must also clearly fall within the NERC Science remit – we will ask you to demonstrate this in your application. We strongly encourage the development of innovative and/or cross-disciplinary proposals across the areas of biological and geo-sciences.  


Key points to remember:

  • Proposals must be submitted by the Lead Supervisor.
  • Supervisors must be PI’s grade 7 and above. Lead Supervisor’s must be on a minimum of 0.5FTE contract at one of the partner schools.
  • Supervisors cannot lead a project in two consecutive years therefore cohort 1 Lead Supervisors are eligible to apply again in this round, but cohort 2 supervisors are not eligible.
  • Projects must be supervised by at least 3 supervisors. Students will be based at the institution of the Lead Supervisor (the host institution). There should also be at least 1 additional supervisor on site here in case the Lead Supervisor is unwell or away from campus for any period of time when the student may need support. The secondary supervisor should be based at the partner institution (in either school).
  • Please see our academic profiles for developing collaborations, or get in contact with quadrat@abdn.ac.uk or school contacts for suggestions or to be put in touch with relevant colleagues.
  • Proposals must clearly fit both within the NERC Science remit and at least one of the three QUADRAT Research Themes (Biodiversity, Earth Systems and Environmental Science). Please give as much detail as possible.
  • Be creative! We strongly encourage innovative and/or cross-disciplinary proposals.
  • A minimum of 25% of all QUADRAT studentships across the duration of the DTP must be CASE partnerships. Please consider working with a CASE partner where applicable. A list of existing partners and supporters can be found here – you are not limited to this list, new partners can be added. A CASE studentship guidance document has been circulated and can be provided upon request. Please contact quadrat@abdn.ac.uk for a full list of existing contacts.
  • Proposals will be reviewed by a panel of four QUADRAT board members to ensure all projects fit the brief. If your proposal does not, you will be contacted and given the opportunity to revise your proposal.
  • You may find it useful to view the funded project titles of our cohort 1 and 2 QUADRAT students.


Please see the following webpages for additional information: CASE partnerships, Eligibility and Funding, Partners and Supporters, Training, NERC, Academic Profiles.

If you would like to have your academic profile added to the QUADRAT website please contact quadrat@abdn.ac.uk

Please submit your proposal via our online application form no later than 17:00 GMT Monday 5th October 2020. Late applications will not be accepted. 

Please have a look at the form and prepare your responses in advance – you will not be able to save and return to the form once you have started your submission. Please adhere to the restricted wordcount.

A word document copy of the questions is available upon request from quadrat@abdn.ac.uk. Upon successful submission you will see a confirmation message and will then be redirected to the QUADRAT website.

Please get in touch if you have any technical difficulty with the form.

Below are a selection of key trends within each theme. Proposals are not limited to these, they are only intended as a guide: 

Environmental Management Biodiversity Earth Systems
Sustainable fisheries management & production Conservation of genetic resources Replenishing vs contaminating effects of extreme rainfall & floods in arid regions
Eradication of alien invasive species Quantifying the nature of species interactions Geophysical characterisation
Monitoring the epidemiology of soil & emerging infective diseases Quantifying the relationship between biodiversity & ecosystem processes & stability Trends in lake/river ice phenology & potential climate/economic feedbacks
Rewilding Modelling the effects of environmental change on species distribution & persistence Investigations of selenium enrichment in shales targeted for fracking
Food web & carbon dynamics identifying the intrinsic and extrinsic processes that shape demography & dynamics of natural populations Understanding ice flow & crevasse formation through examination of mega-scale lineations & geotechnical modelling
Ecotourism impact Resilience of communities Genesis of glacial landforms
Conflict management Genetic basis of phenotypic traits
Effects of decommissioning Architecture of food webs
Evaluation of ecosystem services
Interplay with agriculture
Land use

Projects will be advertised through a custom findaPhD.com webpage and on the QUADRAT DTP website. You will be asked to submit a brief project summary for findaPhD.com and a more detailed version for the QUADRAT website, where projects will be laid out in a similar format to our blog.

You will be contacted with more information regarding the application process prior to your project being advertised. Please contact quadrat@abdn.ac.uk if you have any questions.

You will be asked to supply an eye-catching image to represent your project on the QUADRAT website.

Please use your own connections and social media to advertise your project as widely as possible. We recommend adding this to your email signature.