Year 1 Training

Term 1: Core multi-disciplinary skills training:
Each week the training activity from Mondays to Wednesdays will be hosted by one of the partners. Researchers from partner institutions will deliver lectures, practicals and problem solving sessions dealing with current topics in environmental science, focused on key questions and methodologies.

Meet the Supervisors:
Students will have the opportunity to meet potential supervisors from each partner institution during term 1 training. These sessions will be typically held on Tuesday afternoons although some may incorporate meetings throughout the week. Each student will get to know supervisors and discuss project ideas at each institution.

Reflection Day & Supervisor Networking:
Each Thursday of term 1 training is for each student to meet with potential supervisors at partner institutions and develop potential project ideas, as well as reflecting on the training sessions and supervisor meetings.

Skills Fridays:
Drawing on expertise from across all partners The Art of Environmental Research will be taught on Skills Fridays, hosted by the Natural History Museum. The training will focus on transferable skills and personal development. Using a mix of seminars, workshops and action learning sets, our Friday events will address topics such as:

  • communication skills (oral, written, visual)
  • creativity & innovation
  • ethics
  • networking
  • project planning & organisation
  • resource management
  • team-working
  • work-life balance & stress management

Term 1 Programme
[ View as pdf ]

Term 2: Core Training:
The Skills Fridays will continue at UCL and will focus on 5 Statistics sessions, 3 Computer Modeling and 4 Fieldwork sessions. Taught topics will include: an introduction to programming; matlab; and dealing with Big Data; and will also contain examples from climate, biological, and environmental modelling.

PhD Project Development:

Our Year 1 programme incorporates ample opportunities for students to meet with all prospective supervisors in order to ensure that they make an optimal choice of PhD project. There are over 200 PhD project proposals currently listed on the DTP website; the list is regularly updated and students are encouraged to sign up to our RSS feed and ensure they are kept up to date with any new projects as they are posted. These projects can be an ideal basis for students to work with supervisors to develop a project, or modify an existing project, or alternatively, students may develop their own project in conjunction with a suitable supervisor in the consortium. Suitable supervisors must be a member of the institutions and departments within the DTP. For a list of the departments who are in the DTP please click here.

A complement of prospective supervisors will make oral presentations of their PhD projects that are on offer to the entire cohort during the autumn term as part of the ‘Meet the Supervisor’ sessions at each host partner institution. These sessions will usually be in the form of a poster presentation and will offer the DTP cohort an opportunity to discuss project ideas with potential supervisors. These discussions can be followed up, for example, on the Thursdays of each week. The programme has been designed with the aim of keeping Thursdays free to allow the cohort to have their own time to arrange individual meetings with potential supervisors.

At the end of term 1, all students will submit 2 project titles. The primary supervisors for each of the projects must be drawn from different partner institutions within the DTP. At the start of term 2, each student will have a meeting with the DTP Director and Deputy Director to discuss their final project allocation. The DTP Director and Deputy Director will decide which PhD project will be offered to each student. These decisions will be presented to and confirmed by the Governing Council and then reported back to the students and their selected PhD first supervisor.

Throughout term 2, students are to meet with their supervisor regularly and develop the
following documents for their PhD presentations at the end of March:

  • a substantial literature review;
  • an evaluation and choice of project methods;
  • a detailed timeline of progress toward the project objectives;
  • a project budget with costs;
  • and a completed risk assessment of the project.

The project proposal, costing and full risk assessment is submitted to the Management Board for assessment at Easter.

PhD Proposal Evaluation:

Students will give an oral presentation of their project plan to their peers, the PhD Committee and the Management Board. Prior to starting their projects, each PhD project proposal will be reviewed and assessed by the PhD Committee who will provide constructive critical feedback to student and supervisor. Approval of the project will be conditional on satisfactory project costings and risk assessment. PhD Proposal presentations will be held at the end of March each year.

Figure 1: Term 2 Core Training Programme


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  1. Welcome to Cohort 3 | The London NERC DTP

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