NERC Centre for Doctoral Training in Freshwater Bioscience and Sustainability (NERC FRESH CDT)


Sustaining the world’s freshwater ecosystems, while meeting the water demands of a growing population, will require a new brand of intellectually mobile and agile problem solvers.

The NERC Centre for Doctoral Training in Freshwater Bioscience and Sustainability, led by Cardiff University in partnership with the Universities of Bath, Bristol and Exeter, plus the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH) and the British Geological Society (BGS) aims to train future leaders with the skills necessary to address the challenges facing freshwater sustainability. There are 12 fully-funded studentships available across the partnership each year, giving students the opportunity to become part of the wider GW4 Water Security Alliance.

Why is FRESH unique?

The FRESH CDT draws on a critical mass of internationally recognised scientists, including empiricists, experimentalists, modellers and theoreticians in the field of freshwater bioscience and sustainability across levels of organisation from genes to ecosystems, and from microcosm to continental scales.

Our common ethos is to provide a world-class research and training environment for these formative years of a career.

So what distinguishes the FRESH journey?

FRESH is about:

  • choosing real life problems that students will tackle with their academic supervisors but also with a stakeholder partner.
  • an integrated approach to freshwater training – this means training in freshwater skills, for the first six months, but also training across multiple disciplines, throughout the PhD, so that each student has both in-depth expertise and a breadth of experience across all the key challenges identified by FRESH.
  • access to a unique pool of experts– so that the student will have flexibility in project progression after six months.
  • employability – our doctoral academies are now all coordinated and aligned to Vitae under the GW4 agreements.
  • tackling complex challenges – we will do this as a community, building on the inherently multidisciplinary Water Security Alliance community of academics and the practitioners who face these challenges.