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Cambridge NERC Doctoral Training Partnerships

Graduate Research Opportunities

Training is an essential part of the Earth Systems Science Cambridge DTP. We firmly believe that during the course of a PhD students must acquire skills that will improve their ability to conduct science while increasing their employability. A PhD course is an invaluable opportunity for personal and professional growth and our mission is to help the students achieve this growth with an individualised training programme that adds to their existing strengths and promotes their interests.

Sources of training

In Cambridge, ESS DTP students are offered training from a variety of sources: by the ESS DTP central office, by the single departments and colleges, by the Personal and Professional Development team and by other sources like, for example, the Centre for Science and Policy. Since 2016, we have also partnered with the EnvEast DTP at the University of East Anglia and offer shared courses with them. We also encourage students to undertake training across the UK and abroad. In particular, we encourage our students to take advantage of the many NERC Advanced Training Short Courses that are available every year.


ESS DTP Training

These are some of the courses that we organise specifically for our DTP students:

  • First year students induction
  • Literature review
  • Communicating Science
  • GIS workshop
  • Building a Web App
  • Science and Policy workshop
  • Developing your skills
  • Poster preparation

We review courses every year and adapt them to the specific needs of the different cohorts of students.


University of Cambridge Training

There are several courses and events open to all PhD students in Cambridge such as:

  • Introduction to R and Matlab
  • Programming languages (e.g. Python, Html, C, Java)
  • Personal development (e.g. Time management, leadership, negotiation)
  • Outreach (e.g. making videos)
  • Giving a talk

A list of these courses can be found on the University of Cambridge Training pages 


University of Cambridge Career Services Training

The Career Services in Cambridge organise courses and events, including one-to-one training, available to all PhD students. Examples of training are:

  • Interview practice sessions (one to one)
  • Careers panels: Sustainability
  • Careers briefing: Environmental Sciences
  • Careers briefing: Public Sector
  • Choosing a career for postgraduates

A list of these courses and events can be found on the Career Services web site


Conferences and Symposia

These are organised either by the ESS DTP or by other departments within Cambridge. These are  part of the cohort activities and provide a friendly environment where students try out their academic skills and have the chance to network. Examples are:

  • CEDAA conference for ESS DTP and EnvEast students
  • Multidisciplinary seminars for ESS DTP students
  • Cambridge Centre for Climate Science Student Conference
  • Student Conference on Conservation Science
  • British Antarctic Survey Student Symposium

Internships and placements

We encourage our students to undertake internship and placements. Some of our students have already undertaken internships and placement and they will be able to advise on their experiences. Examples are:


Field trips

On an occasional basis ESS DTP students also attend sponsored field trips.

You can see one of our trips here in the ESS DTP Students' Blog - Fieldwork


Helping students navigate training

There is a huge range of training opportunities both within and outside Cambridge and a main role of the DTP is to help students navigate and find what they need. To support the students' training path we use mainly two tools: the Skills Review and the Training Bulletin.

Skills Review

We believe that each student should develop as an individual according to his or her preferences and strengths. To facilitate this process we invite students to undertake skills reviews at specific times during their PhD. We then analyse each of these reviews and send personalised training suggestions to help students develop the best training path for them.

Thank you so much for this information! It is going to be very useful!  I am booking courses right now!

1st year DTP student

The Training Bulletin is very helpful for supervisors to see what courses are available and I will talk these through with my students.

Dr Sally Gibson - Earth Sciences Reader

Training Bulletin

Twice per month we issue a Training Bulletin that lists all the opportunities that may be relevant to DTP students and associates. This includes DTP events, events in Cambridge and also training available outside Cambridge, nationally and internationally.

Our DTP has a dedicated Doctoral Traning Facilitator. If you would like more information about our training programme please contact