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Funding and scholarships for students

Award details

UKRI Centre for Doctoral Training in Environmental Intelligence: Data Science & AI for Sustainable Futures Ref: 4629

About the award

Many of the most important problems we face today are related to the environment. Climate change, healthy oceans, water security, clean air, biodiversity loss, and resilience to extreme events all play a crucial role in determining our health, wealth, safety and future development. The vision of this Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) is to provide a world-class training environment in Environmental Intelligence (EI): the integration of data from multiple inter-related sources and to provide the evidence and tools that are required for informed decision-making, improved risk management, and the technological innovation that will lead us towards a more sustainable interaction with the natural environment.

We welcome applications for this CDT in Environmental Intelligence (EI) to start in Autumn 2023. Applications are made for entry to the 4-year training programme, including both training in the fundamentals of EI and supervision of your PhD research.

Students will receive training in the range of skills they will require to become leaders in EI:

     (i)     the computational skills required to analyse data from a wide variety of sources;
     (ii)    expertise in environmental challenges;
     (iii)   an understanding of governance, ethics and the potential societal impacts of
             collecting, mining, sharing and interpreting data, together with the ability to
             communicate and engage with a diverse range of stakeholders.

The training programme has been designed to be applicable to students with a range of backgrounds.  Supervisors cover a range of disciplines and experiences related to the use of data in addressing environmental challenges. Students will have the opportunity to work with the CDT’s external partners, including the Met Office and a range of international institutions and businesses, to ensure that they are well versed in both cutting edge methodology and on-the-ground policy and business implementation.

Year 1 of the PhD programme is largely devoted to EI skills training which will be delivered through a combination of taught courses and projects. During Year 1, students are guided to select their PhD research topic for Years 2-4 and an interdisciplinary supervisory team. PhD research supervisors are drawn from a range of relevant disciplines, reflecting the University’s research strengths in both data science and AI, and the environmental and social sciences. CDT PhD research projects are devised by the Environmental Intelligence community at Exeter, often in collaboration with external partners.


Fully funded 4-year studentships are available for Home and International students, with a strictly limited number of places for International students.  The funding is for four years and covers University tuition fees and all course fees, an annual stipend, (which is £17,668 for the academic year 2022/23), and funds towards research activities.

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

The University of Exeter is committed to promoting and supporting equality, diversity, and inclusion within our working environments and is at the heart of all our activities.  With over 27,000 students and 6,400 staff from 180 different countries we offer a diverse and engaging environment where our diversity is celebrated and valued as a major strength.

We actively encourage applicants with varied experiences and backgrounds and from all sections of the community regardless of age, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, religion, or disability status.  We are committed to creating an inclusive culture where all members of our community are supported to thrive.

Whilst all applicants will be judged on merit alone, we particularly welcome applications from groups currently underrepresented within our postgraduate research student community.  Reasonable adjustments are available for interviews and workspaces.

Entry requirements

We welcome applications from those who are expected to receive, a 1st class or 2:1 undergraduate degree in a wide variety of subjects relevant to the application of Data Science and AI to environmental challenges.  These might include, for example computer science, statistics, mathematics, climate, health, economics, philosophy, and social and environmental sciences. For those without a computer science/mathematics background, additional training will be provided (if required) both before and after joining the CDT.  We are happy to discuss alternative requirements for those with non-standard qualifications and/or experience.

If English is not your first language you will need to have achieved at least 6.5 in IELTS (with no less than 6.0 in each of the four components), or equivalent by the start of the programme.  Alternative tests may be acceptable, please see

The PhD programme has a strong commitment towards inclusivity, we therefore welcome applications from individuals regardless of their race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, age, gender, or disability status.

How to apply

To apply for funding, you must do so by clicking on the ‘apply now’ button above.

You will need to upload the following documents to the studentship application form. Please note our preferred format is PDF, each file named with your surname and the name of the document, eg. “Smith – CV.pdf”, “Smith – Cover Letter.pdf”, “Smith – Transcript.pdf”:

• Your CV
• A personal statement (approximately 500 words) which should tell us about;

  • why you are interested in Environmental Intelligence
  • your interests, skills and experience and how they are applicable to the role of postgraduate researcher in Environmental Intelligence
  • your motivation for applying to this CDT programme.

• Transcript(s) giving full details of subjects studied and grades/marks obtained
• If you are not a national of a majority English-speaking country you will need to submit evidence of your current proficiency in English.  For further details of the University’s English language requirements please see

• One reference - please ensure that references are submitted by the application closing date on Tuesday 28th February 2023.  Alternatively references can be sent directly to, though must be received by the closing date.

All application documents must be submitted in English. Certified translated copies of academic qualifications must also be provided.

Reference Information:

References should be submitted to us directly in the form of a letter. Referees must email their references to us from their institutional email accounts. We cannot accept references from personal/private email accounts, unless it is a scanned document on institutional headed paper and signed by the referee.


Application deadline:28th February 2023
Value:UK/EU tuition fees together with a yearly stipend at UKRI rates (£17,668 for 2022/23)
Duration of award:per year
Contact: Centre for Environmental Intelligence