Undergraduate Research Experience Placements (REPs)

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Aim of the scheme

NERC has repurposed the 2021 Research Experience Placement (REP) scheme and broadened its scope to enable DTPs/CDTs to address both thematic skills gaps (e.g. quantitative skills) as well as demographic and diversity-related challenges in the environmental sciences.

The REP scheme will focus on these quantitative skills gaps and underrepresentation by offering funding to support paid summer placements for undergraduate students, during which they will carry out research projects within the scope of the environmental sciences. These placements are intended to encourage students to consider a career in this field, and undergraduates from any science discipline will be eligible.

Each REP student will be allocated a PhD student mentor from the London NERC DTP. They will also have the opportunity to engage is some student activities and write a blog post for the DTP website.

Students may apply for as many projects as they wish, however each project will require a separate application.

The deadline for applications is 13/06/21 at 12:00 noon.

Placements will have a duration of around 6 weeks with a provisional start date of 05/07/21. Funds cover the wages of the REP placement, and include up to £500 research costs.

The successful candidate for each project may be required to come into UCL to show their right to work documents in-person.

Applicants should expect to receive a final decision regarding their application by mid-end of June. 

Please see our Previous Research Experience Placements and read about their projects.

Applications are already closed for the following projects:

  • Aberrant spores and pollen at mass extinction events: what do they really mean?
  • Time-Frequency analyses of annually resolved palaeoclimate timeseries for climate pattern recognition on decadal to centennial scales.
  • How well do global biodiversity indicators represent freshwater species and habitats?
  • Developing a global method for classifying the ecological status of lakes using satellite imagery
  • How does evolution determine ecological resilience? Genomic analysis of responses to historical and contemporary climate change in UK butterflies

For the project at the NHM the successful candidate will need to be on-site. For the other projects the supervisors are willing to be flexible about the working arrangements.


Funding is available again for 7 REP placements in 2021.

  • The REPs will be provided with a salary payment, paid at no less than the minimum wage rate.
  • Hours per week may vary based on location, but the placement will cover 6 consecutive weeks at a maximum of 35 hours per week.
  • The placement will include up to £500 research costs.

Students are subject to eligibility criteria to be able to apply to be a London NERC DTP REP and must:

  • Be ordinarily resident in the UK without any restrictions on how long you can stay; and
  • Be undertaking their first undergraduate degree studies (or integrated Masters) at a UK or Irish University in any science discipline.
  • Applicants must be in at least the 2nd year of their 3-year degree or integrated Masters.
  • Be applying for a placement in a different department to their undergraduate degree (E.g. if you are a studying for a degree in the UCL Geography department you are not eligible to apply for the Geography project, but if you are studying in the Geography department of another institution you are eligible to apply).
  • Applicants should typically be on track to gain a minimum of an Upper Second Class Honours degree.
  • Be available for 6 consecutive weeks. The provisional start dates for these projects are the 05/07/21.
  • Be eligible for subsequent NERC PhD funding (Details of eligibility for PhD studentships can be found here).

In line with the DTP’s effort to increase diversity and address thematic skills gaps within the partnership we particularly wish to encourage applicants who meet any of the following:

Underrepresented groups within the NERC DTP’s:

  • Students belonging to an underrepresented ethnic group (Black or Mixed Black, Asian or Mixed Asian).
  • Students with a disability.
  • Students who have been/are currently a young carer.
  • Students from a low-income background and in receipt of more than the minimum levels of support detailed from your regional funding body; or come from a neighbourhood which is classed as ACORN 4 or 5 or POLAR (4) Quintile 1 or 2 in the final calendar year of their secondary school education.
  • Students who are the the first generation of their family to go to university.

Thematic skills gaps within NERC DTP’s:

  • Students studying for a degree in a quantitative discipline (e.g. mathematics, statistics, computing, engineering, physics).

See the available projects for 2021 below:

Project Title Supervisor(s) Institution
Greenhouse gas and air pollutant emissions from floating power plants Dr Eloise Marais Geography, UCL
Copula theory with applications to assess the risk from natural hazards Dr Katerina Stavrianaki, Dr Alex Donov Statistical Science, UCL

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