Cash injection will fund up to 90 PhD students

Date posted

10 October 2018


A consortium involving Edinburgh Napier has received a £5 million cash boost from the UK Natural Environment Research Council (NERC).

The funding for the Scottish Universities Partnership for Environmental Research (SUPER) will be ploughed into an innovative Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP).

Recognising that individual ecosystems or geographical areas are parts of larger systems that must be studied together, the SUPER DTP has been designed to take a joined-up ‘Catchment to Coast’ approach to understanding our freshwater and marine environments.

From headland rivers to lowland regions, estuaries and into the shallow seas, our landscapes are subject to a range of environmental pressures whilst supporting stunning wildlife and providing major economic benefits.

Under the broad themes of environmental dynamics, biodiversity and challenged ecosystems, the topics of climate change, resource management, sustainable exploitation and blue growth, among others, are being investigated.

The DTP will bring together an interdisciplinary group of eager and talented young scientists to research aspects of aquaculture, fisheries management, ecosystem health, biodiversity and pollution control, and data management and predictive modelling.

The students will be offered unparalleled opportunities to understand societal and environmental challenges and deliver science for the benefit of wider society with international implications.

The £5 million award will fund between 60 and 90 PhD students, with the first successful candidates beginning next year.

The SUPER DTP consortium is made up of a well-established collaborative group of Scottish universities including Edinburgh Napier, St Andrews, Aberdeen, Heriot-Watt, Highlands and Islands, Stirling, Strathclyde and the West of Scotland – all partners have a history of cooperation and are members of the Marine Alliance for Science and Technology for Scotland (MASTS).

Dr Karen Diele, Edinburgh Napier’s Representative for the SUPER DTP and Co-Director of Research of St Abbs Marine Station, said: It is truly fantastic news that our SUPER bid has been successful!

“At Edinburgh Napier and the St Abbs Marine Station we are looking forward to offering exciting and timely SUPER PhD projects with our partners to be conducted here in Scotland as well as overseas.”

St Abbs Marine Station has an existing tripartite partnership with SUPER DTP members Edinburgh Napier and Heriot-Watt Universities and is one of the collaborators in the new consortium.

Professor David Paterson, Executive Director of MASTS and leader of the SUPER DTP bid said: ”This support from NERC is fantastic news, not only recognising the excellent training environment that Scotland can offer but it arrives at a critical time to support efforts to respond to the environmental challenges highlighted in the recent IPCC Climate Change report.

“We are looking forward to placing our best students in a position to learn and then develop the tools to understand and better manage ecosystems sustainably.”

The award of the SUPER DTP funding reflects the quality and reputation of the partner universities and their previous track records in environmental research. This grouping of Universities is further underpinned and supported by 40 stakeholder organisations from Industry to governmental and includes international partners. The SUPER DTP consortium is being managed by MASTS, based at the University of St Andrews.

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