NERC Research programme competition studentships

Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) research programmes provide:

  • strategically directed environmental research
  • training
  • related knowledge exchange.

They also encourage national and international collaboration.

Research programme competition studentships are:

  • awarded to address identified needs and priorities within the environmental sciences
  • awarded from a number of NERC research programmes that hold competitions to fund standalone studentships.

These studentships are:

  • not associated with specific programme research grants and form a distinct research project
  • not associated with a parent grant and the hosting department must make the same level of provision for training and supervision expected for any other NERC student.

You can find out about studentship training expectations by reading the terms and conditions.

The assessment process for studentship applications

All studentship applications will be assessed against both the success criteria and objectives set out within the announcement of opportunity specific to that call.

The aim of these competitions is to set up clusters of excellence, in a focused area, on the basis of proposals from organisations with a strong steer, but not a mandate, towards partnerships.

These clusters of excellence provide clear focal points for investment and also help other stakeholders, such as employers, to invest in developing highly skilled people in areas of need.

All studentship applications are assessed on the following NERC success criteria:

  • research excellence
  • training excellence
  • multidisciplinary training environment
  • ability to attract excellent students
  • any call-specific criteria.

Further information regarding these criteria will be available in the announcement of the opportunity document for the relevant funding opportunity.

See more about the application assessment criteria.

Available research programme funding

Research programme funding opportunities are held throughout the year.


Project studentships are governed by the same regulations as other NERC studentships. All proposals must be within the specific science remit of the research programme call.

Further information regarding eligibility is included in the specific opportunity announcement.

Last updated: 10 August 2023

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