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A great scenario for outstanding environmental research – University of Reading

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A great scenario for outstanding environmental research

Release Date 05 November 2013

NERC Doctoral Training

World-class research into environmental science has been boosted with a new deal to fund the next generation of PhD students.

Plans to create the Postgraduate Centre in the Science of the Environment: Natural and Anthropogenic Processes, Impacts and Opportunities (SCENARIO) were given the go-ahead yesterday, with £4.9million of funding over the next five years to pay for 60 PhD studentships.

The new centre is a collaboration between universities, research centres and business, and is one of 15 new Doctoral Research Partnerships (DTP) funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), with £100million over the next five years.

SCENARIO is led by the University of Reading, with three other institutes hosting PhD students: University of Surrey, NERC Centre for Ecology and Hydrology and the British Geological Survey. Sixteen other partner organisations will offer a range of additional training opportunities and expertise, including the Met Office, Environment Agency and companies in the space, water, energy, insurance and risk management sectors.  

The University of Reading is already one of the UK's leading centres for environmental research, receiving around £29million of research funding per year from NERC - the largest single contributor of research council funding to the university.

As well as funding research across the University of Reading's science and life sciences faculties, NERC has two research centres at Reading: the National Centre for Atmospheric Science (NCAS) and National Centre for Earth Observation (NCEO).

Dr John Methven, University of Reading, who led the SCENARIO funding bid, said: "PhD students are the lifeblood of research at universities and PhD graduates go on to lead in many areas of scientific research, innovation and technological development, both in the UK and abroad.

"We are proud to announce the start of the SCENARIO DTP and the opportunities it will create for 60 PhD students, who will be the leading environmental researchers of the future in this crucial area of science."


For more information please contact Pete Castle at the University of Reading press office in 0118 378 7391 or

Notes to editors:

  • Applications for fully-funded studentships at the SCENARIO DTP will be open from 1st December 2013 and details will be advertised on the University of Reading Graduate School website.
  • The strong focus on collaboration within and between the DTPs allows partners to pool their experience to create rich training environments for students and encourage knowledge-sharing and interconnectivity, which benefits environmental science researchers.
  • Science and Universities minister David Willetts said: "This significant investment highlights the Government's commitment to supporting postgraduate training and research in the environmental sciences. We're dedicated to providing the next generation of environmental researchers with the necessary skills and training to succeed in academia and industry.
    "The strong support for this programme from a number of international partners such as BP, Microsoft and Arup is enormously encouraging. Not only will this initiative benefit students, UK research organisations, business, industry and the economy, it will keep us at the forefront of the global science race."
  • SCENARIO is led by the University of Reading, with PhD students also hosted at the University of Surrey, NERC Centre for Ecology and Hydrology and the British Geological Survey. Other public sector partners are the National Centre for Atmospheric Science (NCAS), National Centre for Earth Observation (NCEO), the Met Office, the Environment Agency, National Physical Laboratory, National Grid, RAL Space and the government's Satellite Applications Catapult.
  • Leading industrial partners in SCENARIO are Thames Water, Wessex Water, BMT ARGOSS, Surrey Satellite Technology, Willis, EDF Trading and Deloitte.
  • Three internationally renowned universities are partners: the University of Oklahoma, California Institute of Technology and University of Hamburg.

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