Great Western Four+ Doctoral Training Partnership (NERC)

General information

The NERC Great Western Four+ Doctoral Training Partnership (GW4+ DTP) is designed to train tomorrow’s leaders in earth and environmental sciences, providing at least 37 PhD studentships annually across the partnership.  The programme engages a broad spectrum of academic and non-academic partners to create an innovative training programme that responds to current and future needs in earth and environmental sciences.  The programme commenced in September 2014 and forms part of the NERC Doctoral Training Partnership initiative.

PhD research projects in earth and environmental science. At least 37 PhD studentships are offered in earth and environmental sciences across the partnership.  Each studentship provides funding for 3.5 years for a research project under one of the three interdisciplinary research themes:

  • Dynamic Earth
  • Living World
  • Changing Planet

Research projects will be led by one of the GW4+ partners and collaboration across the partnership is encouraged.  Students will be registered at one of the GW4 universities and students may be co‑supervised in other institutions in the partnership. For more details about our current and future projects

Training. Earth and environmental scientists are in demand from a diverse range of sectors.  The DTP training programme aims to equip students with a broad range of skills in preparation for their future careers.  Students will be expected to gain fundamental and advanced research skills, alongside complementary transferable skills. For more details about our training programme 

Research Themes

Dynamic Earth​ Living World Changing Planet
Natural Hazards  Biogeochemical Cycles Atmospheres, Oceans and Ice
Solid Earth and Planetary Geology Genomes and Evolution Climate Change, Impacts and Sustainability
Resources Ecology, Conservation and Biodiversity Water


A key feature of our PhD training programme is the opportunity to undertake field courses in locations overseas, with strong international links already existing within the NERC GW4+ DTP.

Contact Person: Professor Paul Valdes (Director) (


The highlighted icons, represent the fields of education (in compliance with ISCED Classification) engaged during this course/programme.

0511 - Biology", "0521 - Ecology", "0522 - Conservation and environmental management", "0532 - Marine Geology", "0532 - Physical and chemical oceanography


Venue: University of Bristol (Contact University)
Bristol, United Kingdom



UK/EU: full-timel: £4,365

UK/EU: part-time: £2,183

Channel Islands/Isle of Man: full-time: £9,365


An upper second-class degree or higher (or international equivalent) in a discipline related to the PhD project for which you are applying, such as geology, biological sciences, environmental sciences, chemistry or geography. Some projects may be suitable for those with computing, mathematics, engineering and physics degrees. Applicants with additional relevant experience and/or a master's degree are encouraged to apply.

See international equivalent qualifications on the International Office website.

Application Procedure:

The deadline for applications for NERC GW4+ DTP studentships commencing in September 2016 has now passed. New projects will be published from October 2016 on.

Grant Opportunities:

NERC Doctoral Training Partnership studentships are available to UK nationals and other EU nationals that have resided in the UK for three years prior to commencing the studentship. If you meet this criteria, funding will be provided for tuition fees and stipend. If you are a citizen of a EU member state you will eligible for a fees-only award.

* Please note, there are up to nine University-funded studentships available as part of the GW4+ DTP that will provide the funds for tuition fees and stipend for EU nationals *


Academic level: PhD
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