Directed training - NERC

Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) directed studentships and training awards provide students with particular, specialist skills linked to:

  • our strategic priorities
  • skills shortages identified by our community.

It is important to review future skills needs and gaps particularly as science changes and develops and becomes increasingly interdisciplinary.

Directed studentships not only equip individuals with the skills necessary for delivering high-quality research in priority areas but also with the skills needed by:

  • industry
  • policymakers
  • academia
  • advisory bodies
  • regulators
  • employers.

Students cannot apply directly to us for studentship funding. They need to apply to the institution where they want to study.

Types of directed training

Centres for Doctoral Training (CDTs) are institutions or consortia offering directed studentships that address the following types of skills gaps, which we and partners have identified:

  • professional
  • technical
  • academic

CASE studentships are PhD studentships during which the student enhances their training by spending 3 to 18 months with a CASE partner in a workplace outside of the academic environment. They are awarded to promote collaboration between the research community and the end-users of research.

Research programme grants associated studentships allow funding to be requested for a project student. The research undertaken through a project studentship will be closely associated with the work carried out in the grant. The requirements of its awarding research programme will determine the research topic of the parent grant.

Research programme competition studentships are standalone research programme funding opportunities. They’re awarded to address science challenges and priorities identified by NERC and its partners.

Research centre and survey studentships – we host these in collaboration with PhD awarding organisations such as the British Geological Survey (BGS). They award studentships that relate to research topics relevant to their science remits.

Last updated: 15 November 2021

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