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£5 million to train the next generation of environmental and earth scientists


Newcastle University has been named a key player in a new partnership to train the leading scientists of the future.

The IAPETUS Doctoral Training Partnership, funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), brings together the Universities of Durham, Glasgow, Newcastle, St Andrews and Stirling, together with the British Geological Survey and the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology.

Announced by the Minister for Universities and Science, David Willetts, the IAPETUS DTP has been set up to deliver outstanding postgraduate education and fund PhD scholarships in the environmental and earth sciences.

The £5 million will be used to fund more than 60 PhD students over the next five years. They will undertake research addressing some of the most critical questions and challenges facing us today, such as; Global environmental change and its impact on glaciers, sea levels and the climate; Energy and the study of the Earth’s resources; Exploring the carbon cycle and its relationship to forests, peatlands and the oceans; Understanding biodiversity and ecosystems and Natural hazards, including volcanoes, earthquakes, landslides and flooding.

Dr Bryn Jones, academic lead for IAPETUS at Newcastle University, said: "This is fantastic news. The shared expertise, resources and facilities that will be offered through this partnership means we will be able to provide our students with the skills, knowledge and understanding necessary for them to develop into some of the best scientists of their generation."

Students supported by IAPETUS will receive world-class training and development, equipping them with the skills and knowledge to be leaders and experts in their chosen fields. Building on the strengths and expertise of all the partner organisations, IAPETUS students will benefit from a collaborative, interdisciplinary environment in which to conduct research, together with access to world-class laboratory and field resources, facilities and services.

Later this month, IAPETUS will announce further information about the scholarships available to students seeking to commence a PhD in the 2014/15 academic year. The aim is to recruit and support the very best postgraduate students in the environmental and earth sciences over the next five years.

A key feature of IAPETUS’ approach to postgraduate training and development will be working closely with businesses, policy-makers and the public and third sectors to provide students with opportunities to put their knowledge and skills into practice. Over 35 external partners have already signed-up to support IAPETUS – including major energy companies, national charities and key public bodies, ranging from BP, to the National Trust for Scotland and the Ordnance Survey. A minimum 30% of the funding wil be allocated to projects that involve collaboration beyond academia.

published on: 5 November 2013