QUADRAT DTP Call for Project Proposals (Cohort 5) 

The QUADRAT Doctoral Training Partnership is pleased to announce its fifth call for PhD studentship project proposals for the academic year 2023-24. These are UKRI NERC funded studentships and will commence on 1st October 2023 for a duration of 42 months (or part-time equivalent). 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 14:00 on Wednesday 17th August 2022.

Please email quadrat@abdn.ac.uk for the proposal submission form.


Proposals must clearly fall within the NERC Science remit research areas AND fit into at least one of the three QUADRAT Research Themes (Biodiversity, Earth Systems and Environmental Science). We strongly encourage the development of innovative and/or cross-disciplinary proposals across the areas of biological and geo-sciences, and engagement with external organisations

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

PLEASE NOTE: QUADRAT has requirement for a proportion of projects to be CASE supported. For this round we will therefore be prioritising at least two appointable candidates attached to projects with a guaranteed CASE partner, per school. Lead Supervisors who were awarded a QUADRAT studentship in the last round (entry in October 2022, cohort 4) are not eligible to lead a project in this round unless the proposed project is CASE supported.


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 NOTE: QUADRAT has requirement for a proportion of projects to be CASE supported. For this round we will therefore be prioritising at least two appointable candidates attached to projects with a guaranteed CASE partner, per school.

Lead Supervisors who were awarded a QUADRAT studentship in the last round (October 2021 cohort) are not eligible to lead a project in this round unless the proposed project is CASE supported.

In order to submit an eligible proposal, please adhere to the below information:

  • 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.
  • You may only submit one application as Lead Supervisor. There are no limits as co-supervisor.
  • All projects must be supervised by at least 3 supervisors across the 2 partner institutions:
    • The ‘host institution’ will be that of the Principal Supervisor,
    • The secondary supervisor should be based at the partner institution,
    • The third supervisor should be based at the host institution and should be prepared to become lead supervisor in case of a leave of absence/sickness,
    • Additional internal or external supervisors can also be named,
    • 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 the NERC Science remit and at least one of the QUADRAT Research Themes (Biodiversity, Earth Systems and Environmental Science). If this is not clear in your proposal you will be asked for clarification.
  • Be creative! We strongly encourage innovative and/or cross-disciplinary proposals.
  • 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

A minimum of 25% of all QUADRAT studentships across the duration of the DTP must be CASE supported. Please consider working with a CASE partner where applicable. A list of existing partners and supporters can be found in the below tabs – you are not limited to this list, new partners can be added. Please contact quadrat@abdn.ac.uk with any questions.

Please contact quadrat@abdn.ac.uk for a copy of the submission form.

Please submit your completed form to quadrat@abdn.ac.uk no later than 14:00 on Wednesday 17th August 2022

Please complete all *mandatory fields and adhere to the restricted wordcount. Late and/or incomplete applications will not be accepted except in exceptional circumstances. 

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. This advert plus any additional relevant information will be advertised on the QUADRAT website, where projects will be laid out in a similar format to our blog.

Projects will also be advertised on institutional and school social media accounts and will be circulated to relevant students within each school. Targeted marketing campaigns will also be underway through Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Please support this process by using your own connections and social media to advertise your project as widely as possible. We recommend adding a link to your project or the findaPhD custom page to your email signature.

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.

Organisation CASE / non-CASE NERC Classification
AFBI CASE eligible Public sector research establishment
JNCC CASE eligible Public sector research establishment
Forest Research CASE eligible Public sector research establishment
Marine Scotland Science (MSS) CASE eligible Public sector research establishment
SEPA CASE eligible Public sector research establishment
Environment Agency CASE eligible Public sector research establishment
Zeiss / CarlZeiss Microscopy CASE eligible
Botanæco CASE eligible
Forestry England CASE eligible
The Centre for Environmental Data and Recording (CEDaR) CASE eligible
Scottish National Heritage (SNH) CASE eligible
Forestry and Land Scotland CASE eligible
Forestry Commission Scotland CASE eligible
The Crown Estate CASE eligible
Arup CASE eligible
Aberdeen Harbour Board CASE eligible
Scottish Water CASE eligible
National Collection of Industrial, Food & Marine Bacteria (NCIMB) CASE eligible
NI Water CASE eligible
Ireland Brownfield Network CASE eligible
Mournes Heritage Trust CASE eligible
Shetland UNESCO Global Geopark / Shetland Amenity Trust CASE eligible
Causeway Coast and Glens Heritage Trust CASE eligible
National Biodiversity Data Centre County Waterford, Ireland CASE eligible
The C.B. Dennis British Beekeepers’ Research Trust CASE eligible
Keenan Recycling Ltd CASE eligible
Bioversity International CASE eligible
Volcanic Basin Petroleum Research CASE eligible
Ulster Wildlife CASE eligible
Loughs Agency CASE eligible
Ulster Farmers Union CASE eligible
NI Environment Link CASE eligible
NFU Scotland CASE eligible
Syngenta CASE eligible
3DEO CASE eligible
Siskin Group / Siskin Asset Management NA CASE eligible
R&A CASE eligible
Northern Government Department for the Economy (DFE) CASE eligible
Wildbyte Technologies Ltd CASE eligible
Defra CASE eligible
DAERA CASE eligible
James Hutton Institute non-CASE Independent Research Organisation
Geological Survey NI non-CASE Independent Research Organisation. Is a DFE office of government – DFE are CASE eligible
BGS / BGS Edinburgh non-CASE Eligible to receive NERC funding
Historic Environment Scotland non-CASE Independent Research Organisation
RSPB NI / Scotland non-CASE Independent Research Organisation
Centre for Ecology and Hydrology non-CASE Independent Research Organisation
National Trust / NI non-CASE Independent Research Organisation
Royal Botanic Gardens – Kew non-CASE Independent Research Organisation
NOAA Fisheries, Alaskan Fisheries Science Centre Overseas See ‘international CASE’ guidance
The Polish National Oceanography Institute (IOPAN) Overseas See ‘international CASE’ guidance
Pacific Seafoods.com Overseas See ‘international CASE’ guidance
Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar & Marine Research, Germany Overseas See ‘international CASE’ guidance
Dates Activities
13/06/2022 Call for proposals
17/08/2022 Deadline for proposals
w/c 22nd August 2022 Review of proposals
w/c 29th August 2022 Proposal revisions
w/c 5th September 2022 Proposal revisions
w/c 17th October 2022 Launch call for applications
05/12/2022 Deadline for applications
02/01/2023 Deadline for references
w/c 9th January 2023 Assessment of applications
20/02/2022 Deadline for nominations
w/c 23rd January 2023 Stage 2 shortlist: presentations
01/02/2023 Deadline for presentations
w/c 6th February 2023 Shortlisting & interview scheduling
w/c 13th February 2023 Send invitations on/by Friday 17th
w/c 27th February 2023 Interviews
15/03/2023 Universal Acceptance Date