The first three Open University students have been recruited for the new Natural Environment Research Council-funded Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP). They will be researching efficient and sustainable use of floodplains, how critical metals become enriched in granites, and analogues for potentially habitable extra-terrestrial environments.
The Open University is part of a consortium of six universities and four research centres* that came top and was the highest scoring bid in an open and competitive 2018 Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP) call, winning 18 fully funded studentships per year.
The Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) is investing over £100 million over the next five years as part of its continued support of environmental science PhD training in the second round of the DTP programme. The DTPs underpin the UK’s world-leading environmental science profile and bring together universities, research organisations and partners from a wide range of backgrounds, including higher education institutes, charities, NGOs, government bodies and industry leaders.
Each DTP was assessed on the basis of excellence through a transparent, peer-reviewed application process. The reviewers were particularly complimentary about the proposed CENTA2 training programme for both students and supervisors, and the support available for part-time students. The writing of the training and multidisciplinary environment sections (50% of the bid) was led by the OU and built on our track record of providing excellent training and support for students from a variety of backgrounds. Most of these studentships will be match-funded by the academic, research centre or industrial partners, thus maximising the number of studentships that the consortium can offer.
The Open University will gain 3-5 doctoral students per year through the consortium.
The PhD studentships will be available over the course of five annual admissions, starting in the 2019/20 academic year. Each DTP will recruit a number of students every year, which will create a cohort of students who will network, train, and tackle environmental challenges together.
I am delighted to welcome the first cohort of students into our new PhD cross-disciplinary training programme. The funded studentships cover a range of spatial scales from sub-mm mineral grains through km-scale floodplain meadows and timescales of change from years to millions of years. These projects showcase the full breadth and depth of Open University research in Earth and Environmental Sciences. I am delighted to be part of this exciting new venture and look forward to working with new colleagues across central England to develop an engaging and successful training programme.Dr Clare Warren, Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics, The Open University
*The University of Birmingham, University of Leicester, The Open University, University of Warwick, Loughborough University, and Cranfield University as well as the British Geological Survey, National Centre of Earth Observation, Centre for Ecology & Hydrology and the National Centre for Atmospheric Science.