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Postgraduate Study - PhD and Research Degrees

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

Applications for September 2024 entry are now OPEN. 

Details below provide guidance on the studentships for 2024 entry.


The University of Exeter's Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Environmental Intelligence (EI) 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. 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.

Environmental Intelligence (EI) is the integration of data from these multiple inter-related sources 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.

The CDT is led by Professor Hywel Williams 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. Exeter is also a member of the Alan Turing Institute, the UK’s national institute for Data Science and Artificial Intelligence.

 The CDT offers a 4 year training programme and as a student in the CDT, you will receive training in the range of skills required to become a leader 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 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. Supervisors cover a range of disciplines and experiences related to the use of data and AI in addressing environmental challenges.

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 you there will opportunities for placements with our partners and to participate in the Alan Turing Institute’s PhD enrichment programme.  

Applications for 2024 Studentships are now open 

Students starting their studentships at the Centre for Doctoral Training for Environmental Intelligence between 20219/20 and 2023/24 were funded by UKRI. New entrants from 2024/25 will be in partnership with industry for specific research projects, please apply for an individual project below. Please note on your application if you would like to be considered for other research projects within the EI CDT: