Skip to main content

Postgraduate Study - PhD and Research Degrees

Environmental Intelligence


Degree types explained

  • MPhil/PhD Environmental Intelligence

Degree duration details

Start date

September, January or April

Location Streatham Campus
Study modes

Study mode details

Full time and part time
Split-site research available


The PhD in Environmental Intelligence programme is delivered by the UKRI Centre for Doctoral Training in Environmental Intelligence (CDT EI). The programme pioneers new research in using Data Science and Artificial Intelligence to understand the complex interactions between the environment, climate, natural ecosystems, human social and economic systems, and health.

View 2024 Entry

How to apply

Apply online

Ask a question


Web: Enquire online

Phone: +44 (0)1392 72 72 72


Web: Enquire online
Phone: 0300 555 6060 (UK)
+44 (0)1392 723044 (non-UK)

Top 10 for Geography and Environmental Science

10th in The Times and the Sunday Times Good University Guide 2024

1st in the UK for Climate Action

Home to the £30 million Environment and Sustainability Institute: researching solutions to environmental change

6th in the UK for world-leading research in Geography and Environmental Studies

Based on 4* research in the Research Excellence Framework 2021

Research overview

The increasing availability of large and complex data sets from diverse sources (e.g. environmental monitoring; satellite remote sensing; climate modelling; electronic medical records; social media; and contributions from citizen science) presents an exceptional opportunity to transform our understanding of both the effects of environmental change and our planet-transforming power.

The programme is led by Professor Gavin Shaddick and a team of world-leading researchers, and students will have the opportunity to engage with over 250 researchers at Exeter working in Data Science, AI, and environmental and sustainability research.

How to apply

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:

  • Computer Science
  • Statistics
  • Mathematics
  • Climate
  • Health
  • Economics
  • Philosophy
  • Social and Environmental Sciences

We are currently accepting applications for Cohort 5 students to join us in 2023. The application process will remain open until 2nd January 2023.

To apply you must submit: 

  • Your CV
  • A personal statement (approximately 500 words) which should tell us about:
    • why you think Environmental Intelligence is important?
    • 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

All applications are considered by our multidisciplinary academic panel, who select candidates for interview. The interview process is comprised of a series of non-technical questions (posed by a multidisciplinary panel of 3-4 staff) about Environmental Intelligence and the candidate’s experience, with an opportunity for the candidate to ask their own questions about the CDT or PhD life at the University of Exeter. Interview questions are designed to explore candidates’ applicable skills and experience and suitability for the CDT’s particular PhD training programme. Applicants who are successful at interview will be made an offer for a funded studentship conditional on the confirmation of eligibility and successful completion of the academic admissions process.

If you would like more information about the programme or the admissions process please contact:

English language requirements

International students need to show they have the required level of English language to study this course. The required test scores for this course fall under Profile A: view the required test scores and equivalencies from your country.

Read more

Fees and funding

Tuition Fees per year 2024/25

For those studying for more than one year, our fees are expected to increase modestly in line with Consumer Price Inflation measured in December each year. More information can be found on our Student Finance webpages.

Tuition Fees per year 2023/24

For those studying for more than one year, our fees are expected to increase modestly in line with Consumer Price Inflation measured in December each year. More information can be found on our Student Finance webpages.

Our Postgraduate Funding webpage provides links to further information. If you are considering a PhD in the future, in addition to University of Exeter funding, we have been successful at securing postgraduate funding for PhD research through our Funded centres.

Current available funding


You will develop your PhD project proposal in Year 1, and select a supervisor before the beginning of Year 2. Supervisors cover a range of disciplines and experiences related to the use of data and AI in addressing environmental challenges.

There is a dedicated CDT administration team to provide you with an excellent student experience, with additional support from the Doctoral College and Wellbeing Services.


The CDT programme offers an enhanced training programme and as a student in the CDT, you will receive training in the range of skills required to become a leader in Environmental Intelligence:

  1. the computational skills required to analyse data from a wide variety of sources;
  2. expertise in environmental challenges;
  3. an understanding of the 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 open to students with a range of backgrounds 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.


You 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 you are well versed in both cutting edge methodology and on-the-ground policy and business implementation. 

During your PhD there will opportunities for placements with our partners and to participate in the Alan Turing Institute’s PhD enrichment programme. Overall, the programme offers will allow you to develop skills highly sought after by employers, while also giving you the opportunity to create a professional network with employers.