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NERC CENTA Environmental Science PhD Studentships

A number of fully funded studentships in environmental sciences are available to UK and EU students that meet the residency and qualification eligibility criteria. The research projects below are in competition for the funding. The projects with the best applicants will be awarded the funding. These studentships are available as part of the NERC DTP CENTA consortium. For more details of the CENTA consortium and the training opportunities available please see the CENTA website.

Recruitment for entry in October 2019 is now open.
Application deadline: 1st May 2019

Available Projects:

Can't see the PhD project for you? Contact a supervisor and develop a project within the CENTA research themes of Climate and Environmental Sustainability, Organisms and Ecosystems or Dynamic Earth.

Principal Supervisors



Professor Robert M Kerr, Department of Mathematics/School of Engineering

Transport of climate active trace gases between the atmosphere and biosphere

Deadline: 1 May 2019

Dr Mark P. Barrow, Department of Chemistry

A better understanding of environmental impact through ultrahigh resolution mass spectrometry and organic geochemistry  

Deadline: 1 May 2019

Professor Gary Bending, School of Life Sciences

Global diversity and ecosystem functions of a newly discovered plant-microbe symbiosis

Deadline: 1 May 2019

Dr Claudia Blindauer Department of Chemistry

A biogeochemical conundrum: How do metals cross the bacterial outer membrane?  

Deadline: 1 May 2019

Dr Julia Brettschneider, Department of Statistics Growing crops in changing environment: a decision tree approach to modelling of agricultural practices

Deadline: 1 May 2019

Professor Timothy Bugg, Department of Chemistry

Understanding microbial lignin degradation in soil   Deadline: 1 May 2019

Dr Yin Chen, School of Life Sciences

Quaternary and methylated amine cycle in coastal oceans: new genes, novel microbes and unexpected pathways  

Deadline: 1 May 2019
Dr Yin Chen, School of Life Sciences Microbial lipid cycling in the oceans: an integrated ‘omics’ approach   Deadline: 1 May 2019
Dr Yin Chen, School of Life Sciences Genetic Dark Matter? Functional characterization of a non-coding RNA regulation of microbial metabolism of climate active trace gases   Deadline: 1 May 2019
Dr Antonia Sagona, School of Life Sciences Genetic engineering of bacteriophages to be used for biofilm clearance and prevention in waste water treatment. Deadline: 1 May 2019
Dr Andre Pires da Silva, School of Life Sciences Environmental maternal effects and intergenerational inheritance   Deadline: 1 May 2019

Dr Hendrik Schäfer, School of Life Sciences

Cave exploration: shedding light on organic sulfur cycling in a terrestrial underground chemosynthetic system   Deadline: 1 May 2019
Dr Hendrik Schäfer, School of Life Sciences Revealing a cryptic organosulfur cycle in benthic marine environments using microbiology and metagenomics   Deadline: 1 May 2019

Dr Gabriele C. Sosso, Department of Chemistry

The Formation of Ice in Bacterial Fragments and their Biomimetics: Toward the Understanding of Biological Ice in the Atmosphere Deadline: 1 May 2019
Professor Vasilios Stavros, Department of Chemistry Microbial sunscreens for better life   Deadline: 1 May 2019
Dr Eleanor Jameson, School of Life Sciences The potential of natural phage communities in biofilm degradation   Deadline: 1 May 2019

Professor Liz Wellington, School of Life Sciences

Antibiotic resistance gene transfer on microplastic surfaces in waste water treatment plant effluent

Deadline: 1 May 2019

If you would like to develop your own NERC CENTA project, browse the relevant research areas and identify potential supervisors in the area(s) that are of interest to you. Contact the supervisor and attach your research proposal or explain that you are interested in discussing possible NERC research projects with them.

UK and EU students:


This funding provides full tuition fees at the Home/EU rate and pays an annual stipend in line with UK Research Councils (currently £14,777).


  • View the available projects
  • Make an initial project enquiry by contacting supervisors directly.
  • Complete the online application form - choose PhD in Life Sciences and enter NERC studentship in the Finance section. Please also complete the CENTA application form  and submit it as an attachment to your online application form.

*Please note that the online application system will be out of use between midday on Friday 26th April until Tuesday 30th April and you will not be able to submit or make changes to your application during this time.

  • Upload a transcript from your current or previous study, a CV and any other documents that you feel would support your application (within 24 hours of submitting your online application you will receive a link allowing you to upload additional supporting documents).
  • Ask your referees to submit a reference for you by 6th May 2019 at the very latest. Note: when you submit your application, an email will automatically be sent to your referees requesting a reference for you. This email will contain a secure link for your referee to upload a reference for you.