Success in Research Council Doctoral Training Partnership Awards



Heriot-Watt's Institute of Life and Earth Sciences (ILES) has received a major funding boost of more than £10 million for two exciting environmental research projects. 

The funding has been awarded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) for the establishment of two Doctoral Training Partnerships (DTP), IAPETUS2 and SUPER.

Professor Teresa F Fernandes, Director of ILES, and Heriot-Watt's coordinator of one of the successful bids, IAPETUS2, said: “We are delighted that our Institute, ILES, which also includes our staff within the Lyell Centre and the International Centre of International Technology (ICIT) in Orkney, has been recognised by this very prestigious funding. By being awarded funding as party of these two consortia, IAPETUS2 and SUPER, we will be able to finance a number of doctoral students working in the areas of environmental resource management, climate change and sustainability. 

The IAPETUS2 project, coordinated by Durham University, leading a consortium of Scottish and English Universities, as well as research organisations such as British Antarctic Survey, British Geological Society and Centre for Hydrology and Ecology, will (co)fund 80-100 doctoral training places to help fund the next generation of environmental scientists. IAPETUS2 will focus on the full spectrum of environmental science, from climate change to fragile ecosystems, embracing multidisciplinary, sustainability and governance.

The Scottish Universities Partnership for Environmental Research (SUPER) DTP, a consortium of universities around Scotland including Heriot-Watt, is designed to take a joined-up 'Catchment to Coast' approach to better understand freshwater and marine environments, including their marginal habitats. As of next year, the fund will help pay for between 60 and 90 PhD places as well as bring together an interdisciplinary group of talented student scientists to research aspects of aquaculture, fisheries management, ecosystem health, biodiversity and pollution control. 

Dr Mark Hartl, Director of The Centre for Marine Biodiversity & Biotechnology in ILES, said: “The funding opens up a host of exciting opportunities to attract PhD students of the highest calibre to a multi-disciplinary consortium to address some of the most pressing environmental problems of our times. At Heriot-Watt we are thrilled NERC recognises the merit of the Super DTP and is supporting its aims.”

Commenting on the awards, Heriot-Watt's Chief Scientist, Professor John Underhill said: “This is the first time that Heriot Watt has had success in a NERC DTP and it is a fantastic achievement for the University to be associated with two partnerships.

"The awards represent tangible recognition for our efforts to build our geoscience capability in recent years and the underlying high quality of earth, marine and environmental science research undertaken here. Together with our existing NERC Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Oil & Gas, led by Heriot-Watt, the new DTP awards place us firmly on the national geoscience radar.”