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NERC CENTA 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.

1 fully funded studentship is still available to start in October 2020.

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



Dr Soroush Abolfathi, School of Engineering Dynamics of pollution transport in constructed wetlands: identification and quantification of underlying physical mechanisms of solute and solid (microplastic) transport Apply
Professor Robin Allaby, School of Life Sciences The application of sedaDNA to landscape archaeology Student appointed
Dr. Mark P. Barrow, Department of Chemistry In-situ reduction reduction of greenhouse gases from the Athabasca oil sands tailings ponds: detailed insights using ultrahigh resolution mass spectrometry Apply
Professor Gary Bending, School of Life Sciences Global diversity and ecosystem functions of plant-microbe symbioses Student appointed
Dr Yin Chen, School of Life Sciences Quaternary and methylated amine cycle in coastal oceans: new genes, novel microbes and unexpected pathways Apply
Dr Yin Chen, School of Life Sciences Microbial lipid cycling in the oceans: an integrated 'omics' approach  Apply
Dr Richard Everitt, Department of Statistics Approximate Bayesian Computation (ABC) for calibrating and evaluating Individual Based Models of fisheries Apply
Dr Xueyu Geng, School of Engineering Investigation of the topographic control for geohzards prone zone ecosystem functional properties by multiple remote sensing sensors Apply
Professor Robert M Kerr, Department of Mathematics/School of Engineering Transport of climate active trace gases between the atmosphere and biosphere Apply
Dr. Ryan M. Mushinski, School of Life Sciences What soil factors lead to high reactive nitrogen oxide emissions in agricultural landscapes? Apply
Dr. Ryan M. Mushinski, School of Life Sciences What are the effects of exotic tree introduction in British forests on soil nitrogen cycle processes? Apply
Dr. Ryan M. Mushinski, School of Life Sciences Towards a mechanistic understanding of peatland reactive nitrogen cycling Apply
Dr Jonathan Pearson, School of Engineering Understanding interactions that determine the fate of microplastics in riverbed environments Apply
Dr Andre Pires da Silva, School of Life Sciences

Environmental maternal effects and intergenerational inheritance

Dr. Richard Puxty, School of Life Sciences Floaters vs. sinkers: How do marine phytoplankton combat the biological pump? Apply
Dr. Richard Puxty, School of Life Sciences Understanding the genetic blueprint of photosynthetic bacteria? Apply
Dr Hendrik Schaefer, School of Life Sciences Cave exploration: shedding light on organic sulfur cycling in a terrestrial underground chemosynthetic system Apply
Dr Hendrik Schaefer, School of Life Sciences Smelly sediment dwellers: identifying microbial populations driving DMSO reduction in anoxic sediments Apply
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 Apply
Professor Vasilios Stavros, Department of Chemistry Microbial sunscreens for better life Student appointed
Dr Thomas Whale, Department of Chemistry Bio-precipitation or self-cryopreservation: Why does pollen nucleate ice? Student appointed

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 tax free stipend in line with UK Research Councils (£15,285 for academic year 2020-21).


  • View the available projects
  • Make an initial project enquiry by contacting supervisors directly.
  • Complete the online application form - selecting course code P-C1PB (Life Sciences PhD); from here you will be taken through to another screen where you can select your desired project. Please 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.
  • Upload a transcript from your current or previous study, a CV and any other documents that you feel would support your application (within 48 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 5 June 2020 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.
  • For further information about applying to Warwick see the application FAQ's page
  • Application deadline - 29 May 2020