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Cambridge NERC Doctoral Training Partnerships

Graduate Research Opportunities

There are many different skills that one can acquire during the course of a PhD. Here below you can find a summary of some of the most common skills that ESS DTP students are encouraged to develop. In terms of skills development, the first year is mostly dedicated at developing basic core skills including PhD basics, professional skills (e.g. outreach), and generic academic skills (e.g. paper writing). The second and third year tend to be more focussed on specialised research training and on career-related and entrepreneurial skills. ESS DTP students will undertake four skills reviews during the course of their PhD and receive specific feedback with suggested training.




  • Literature review
  • Presenting a talk
  • Posters and graphics
  • Writing papers
  • Multidisciplinarity
  • Grant applications
  • Teaching and supervision


  • Starting and planning
  • Writing Thesis
  • Preparing for VIVA



  • Statistics
  • Data Management
  • Modelling
  • Programming
  • Research methodologies (including fieldwork)
  • Ethics in research
  • Health and safety
  • IPR and Copyright


  • Outreach/Impact
  • Policy making
  • Equality and diversity


  • Leadership
  • Critical thinking
  • Teamwork
  • Time management


  • Career planning
  • Job search
  • CV writing
  • Interview skills


  • Commercial awareness
  • Innovation


Vitae is an international programme for researcher development based in Cambridge. They  provide online information, advice and resources for higher education institutions and researchers on professional development and careers. They also provide a reference framework for skills useful for career development known as the VITAE Researcher Development Framework

NERC Skills Review Handbook - what are the most wanted skills in the Environment sector?

Between 2008-2010, NERC led the Review of Skills Needs in the Environment Sector and repeated this in 2012. In total, the review identified 224 skills needed by businesses, government and academics working on issues connected with the natural environment. Fifteen of these skills were identified as being skills that are in short supply, including hard skills, such as numeracy and field research, as well as soft skills, such as the translation of research into easily understandable language. Have a look at this web page to download the reports.