Our training and careers development programme supports our scientists in their journey through their PhDs and prepares them for the next step in their careers.
Our scientists are involved in research across the entire breadth of Earth, Environmental and Life Sciences.
Our comprehensive and effective training and careers development programme is designed to prepare our researchers to become the next generation of leaders in science, technology, business and policy-making.
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Cohort Training Events

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Orientation at the Eden Project

The NERC GW4+ DTP holds an annual Orientation Event in the Autumn. The purpose of the event is to introduce the new cohort to the DTP programme and range of NERC science across the GW4+ Partnership at The Eden Project, a leading environmental educational charity and social enterprise in Cornwall.
This will take place in a fun and informal setting through a series of team building activities, immersive learning and evening events. This is a fantastic opportunity to initiate relationships with other students joining at the same time as you from across the partnership that will last throughout your PhD and beyond.

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Autumn School At Dartington Hall.

The NERC GW4+ DTP holds an annual one-week residential course in late Autumn. The training is situated in the historic grounds of Dartington Hall near Totnes in Devon, a charity specialising in the arts, social justice and sustainability.
Part of the training is aimed at broadening your scientific horizons and enabling you to collaborate with experts in other disciplines who may be able to contribute to your own research. Training days are based around our Dynamic Earth and Living World themes, general PhD skills training and introduction to work internship opportunities.

Wessex Annual Congress

The Wessex Congress is an annual 3-day student led conference with over 300 early career scientists from the SPITFIRE, GW4+ and Oxford Environmental Research Doctoral Training Partnerships. The Congress provides an opportunity for PhD researchers to present their work as a poster or presentation in a supportive and relaxed environment, all whilst networking with other student peers.

Annual cohort training starting 2019/20

  • End of first year ‘ReMo’ – Re-energise and Motivate
  • End of second year ‘KoKo’ – Keep on keeping on
  • End of third year ‘FuMo’ – ‘Finish up and Move on’

Skills Development

PhD Skills



Statistical analysis with R

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Communicate with confidence

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Immersive writing


Specialist Courses

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  • Analysing macroevolutionary processes using RevBayes

  • Animal movement tracking and analysis

  • Introduction to ArcMap and GIS

  • Isotope mass spectrometry

  • Modelling phase equilibria in magmatic systems with MELTS


Outreach for the Next Generation workshop.

The Brilliant Club  exists to increase the number of pupils from under-represented backgrounds progressing to highly selective universities.

The Brilliant Club exists to increase the number of pupils from under-represented backgrounds progressing to highly selective universities.

The NERC GW4+ DTP provides training to equip our PhD researchers with presentation techniques to make their research accessible to children of all ages. In doing so, they encourage young people to consider taking up science, technology engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects early on in school, which is vital for them to be able to study STEM subjects at university. PhD researchers design age-targeted, curriculum-linked outreach activities to inspire school-age students towards their own field of research. Their professional skills are enhanced as they learn to structure and deliver outreach that is welcomed by schools and other education organisations. Their personal development is also enhanced as they learn to deliver outreach with confidence and skill, while mastering basic techniques for managing risks and behaviour, and catering for some special educational needs.

Placements with the Brilliant Club

The Brilliant Club has a proven track record in increasing the number of pupils from under-represented backgrounds progressing to highly selective universities. This is done by mobilising the PhD community to share its academic expertise with state schools. The purpose of the collaboration between the Brilliant Club and the NERC GW4+ DTP is to recruit, train, develop and support up to 10 PhD researchers, by placing them in non-selective state schools, to deliver the Scholars Programme, and in doing so share their expertise and promote fair access to University for around 120 secondary school pupils. The DTP will work with The Brilliant Club to ensure that all PhD researchers are aware of the opportunity and can access it.
The NERC GW4+ DTP contributes financially to the delivery of this Scholars Programme in supporting the costs of recruiting, training and placing PhD researchers, including the payment of tutors by match funding each placement. Most costs are covered by fees from participating schools and wider charitable fundraising.

Well Being


The NERC GW4+ DTP encourages our PhD researchers who have personal issues affecting their well-being to seek advice, help and support as soon as possible from their local university or research organisation. The DTP Manager or Coordinator can also assist researchers in finding the help they need. Any such discussions with the DTP will remain completely confidential.

The DTP offers regular resilience and well-being workshops that teach our PhD researchers how to use key mindfulness and wellbeing techniques to develop greater emotional resilience as a way of coping with stress, particularly during difficult times in a PhD, such as writing up and setbacks.