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Cambridge NERC Doctoral Training Partnerships

Graduate Research Opportunities

NERC-funded PhD Studentships

The University of Cambridge will offer at least 12 3.5 year NERC-funded PhD studentships through the Cambridge Climate, Life and Earth (C-CLEAR) DTP to start 1 October 2021. More funding and eligibility information can be found on our website here.

The C-CLEAR NERC DTP and University of Cambridge actively support equality, diversity and inclusion and we encourage applications from eligible applicants from all sections of society.

How to apply:

1) Take a look at the projects on offer and make contact with the lead supervisor for those that particularly interest you, as our prospective supervisors can often provide useful advice and information about the project. We are also happy to devise a project with you if you have research interests that we share; again you should get in touch with your prospective supervisor before applying.

There are several ways to search:1) by broad theme (Climate Change and Environmental Processes, Biology and Conservation or Solid Earth and Geological Hazards); 2) by staff member/department (Staff Directory); or 3) by searching for keyword (e.g. 'Geography' or 'Greenland').

Please note that academic staff can act as lead supervisor for one C-CLEAR studentship per application round. To avoid potential clashes at appointment we recommend that you provide a prioritised list of projects that you would consider.

2) Before starting the application, please ensure you are eligible to apply for admission

Competition for admission to the University of Cambridge graduate programme is intense. We require our graduate entrants to have:

  1. at least a 2.1 in an Honours degree from a UK University or equivalent standard from an Overseas University (e.g. CGPA 3.5/4.0) in a relevant subject (but see funding information).
  2. two outstanding academic references, please see the Graduate Admissions pages below for more details (We advise that you request these well in advance of the application deadline)
  3. fluency in the English language - full information on the University's requirements can viewed here.

For more details of the University's academic requirements see the University's Graduate Admissions pages.

3) You will need to apply through the University's Applicant Portal. You can find out which course to apply for and further instructions by clicking on the ‘Applying’ link at the bottom of each project page of the C-CLEAR website.

As you complete your application, please note the following:

Please select a Michaelmas Term 2021 start (01-Oct-2021).

Research section: When asked ‘Do you have any research information to add’ please tick ‘yes’. When prompted to add 'Research Title' please add the C-CLEAR DTP project code(s) and title(s) in priority order. For Research Supervisor, add the name of the Lead Supervisor(s).

There is no need to repeat the project description we have written here, but feel free to use the space to describe your motivation for applying for the project(s) you have chosen.

(If applying to the Department of Chemistry you may not see a research section; please indicate your interest in the NERC DTP via the course specific questions about research and use this section to indicate the C-CLEAR DTP project codes, titles and supervisors that you wish to work with).

Funding section: When asked ‘Do you wish to apply for funding?’ please tick the box ‘Yes-I wish to apply for funding’.

Cambridge Trust & Gates Cambridge Pages: We encourage you to complete the Cambridge Trust and Gates Cambridge sections so that you are eligible for as many sources of PhD funding as possible beyond the DTP (be aware that earlier deadlines may apply, please see the deadline section below)

Research Council Funding: Where asked ‘If you are interested in a particular studentship’, please list the C-CLEAR DTP projects code(s) and title(s) here. If listing multiple studentships please indicate these in priority order.

Attachments: Application attachments may vary by course (for example some will request a CV and/or research proposal); please provide all information requested by the course(s) for which you would like to be considered.

Application Fee and Fee Waiver Scheme:  There is a fee waiver that applies in certain circumstances, please see: Where applicable, the fee waiver request form must be submitted by 30 November 2020.


A) Announcement: Projects for 2021 entry are anticipated to be announced in September 2020.

B) Deadlines:

The final deadline / closing date for C-CLEAR DTP applications is 12:00 pm (noon) GMT, Thursday 7 January 2021. All supporting documentation including references must be submitted by this date.

By completing your application by the above date, most of our DTP partners will also consider you for other PhD funding schemes (Cambridge Trust, etc). Two exceptions of schemes with earlier deadlines that you should bear in mind are:

C) Interviews:

It is anticipated that interviews will be held online the week of 22 February 2021.

D) Offers

Offers will be communicated starting in late February with decisions to be made by the Universal Acceptance Date agreed by NERC on noon Wednesday 17 March 2021.

If you have any questions, we're happy to help. Contact Yvonne Gibbs, C-CLEAR DTP Administrator at or the departmental Graduate Administrators for your chosen project(s).