CDT in managing chemical risks in the environment - NERC

All enquiries relating to student recruitment should be directed to the Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT).

Number of studentships awarded: 13 per year for three intakes.

Academic partners:

  • University of York (academic lead partner)
  • Cardiff University
  • University of Exeter
  • Lancaster University
  • University of Sheffield
  • UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology.


The CDT in managing chemical risks in the environment was awarded to the Ecotoxicological Risk Assessment Towards Sustainable Chemical Use (ECORISC) consortium.

Over 235,000 chemicals are in use by society around the globe. During manufacture, use and disposal, these chemicals are emitted to natural environments where they may adversely affect ecosystems and human health.

Chemical pollution is recognised as one of the greatest threats to ecosystems and has huge economic and societal costs.

The ECORISC CDT will produce a generation of innovator scientists that can identify, understand and effectively manage the risks of chemicals through the use of state-of-the art science and out-of-the box thinking.

By combining mechanistic understanding, theoretical advances and modelling approaches, this CDT will contribute to the development of predictive risk assessment frameworks that will allow society to benefit from chemical use while ensuring protection of the natural environment, now and in the future.

NERC has invested approximately £2.2 million to support this CDT and academic and industry partners have committed to support additional training opportunities. The CDT will provide training between 2021 and 2027.

This CDT will support 39 PhD students funded by NERC and the CDT partners over three student intakes between 2021 and 2023.

Research areas and training

The CDT will offer training in developing more sustainable chemical products and uses. PhD studentships will include training in the following areas:

  • detection, fate, transport and uptake of chemicals in the natural environment
  • development of mechanistic understanding of the integrative effects of chemicals on individuals
  • extrapolation of effects measured on individuals to impacts on populations and communities, and the ecosystem services they provide
  • effects of chemical mixtures, including in combination with other environmental stressors
  • landscape-scale risk assessment across different spatial and temporal scales
  • translation of environmental risk science into practice.

The ECORISC CDT has been designed to deliver the next generation of innovative researchers, thinkers and solution providers needed to support governmental and non-governmental research and development sectors. The aim is to develop more sustainable chemical products and uses that:

  • promote health and wellbeing
  • support economic development
  • protect the environment.

Further information

Find out more about this CDT on the ECORISC website, or by contacting the NERC Talent and Skills Team at

All enquiries relating to student recruitment should be directed to the CDT.

Last updated: 20 May 2022

This is the website for UKRI: our seven research councils, Research England and Innovate UK. Let us know if you have feedback or would like to help improve our online products and services.