The NERC QMEE studentship application portal is now open for students commencing in October 2019. The deadline for students to apply to supervisors via Track I (directly to the supervisor) is Monday, 1 July 2019. There are no more Track II studentships available for start in October 2019. The deadline for supervisors to submit preferred candidates to the selection board via the online system is Monday, 15 July 2019. The Selection Board will review all applications with final decisions made by Monday, 22 July 2019. Please click here for a list of the available projects. 

The CDT will train 36 PhD students in three cohorts of 12 starting with a first entry in October 2017. Students will be based at one of the 5 main partner institutions, with a co-supervisor at another partner. The duration will be 3.5 years full-time or a longer equivalent part-time.

Your supervisory team will include expertise in ecological and/or evolutionary data and quantitative methods. Students will be registered either at Imperial College London or at the University of Reading.

There are two ways to apply for a studentship*: 

Track I: Apply directly to a supervisor for one of the suggested projects listed here. You should send your CV, a covering letter explaining why you are interested in the CDT and that project, and the names and e-mail addresses of two academic referees. At least one of them should have supervised you on a previous research project.

Track II: Apply centrally to the CDT using the electronic application form here (you will need to request a username and password from This track is designed for students who would like the opportunity to develop their own project ideas together with a supervisory team during the initial pre-project period (final project subject to approval by the selection and training boards). In your covering letter, please explain why you are interested in the CDT, what type of project you are interested in, and the names of potential supervisors for your interests from the list of project supervisors here.

*Track II studenships commencing in October 2019 are no longer available . The next opportunity to apply via Track II will be in 2020. 


Studentships will last for 3.5 years full-time or the equivalent period part-time.

Most applicants will have, or be about to obtain, a Masters qualification (MSc, MRes or MSci/MMath) and a 2.1 or higher undergraduate degree. Exceptional students at Bachelors level without a Masters will also be considered. Relevant post-graduate experience will also be taken into account.

NERC-funded studentships are subject to UKRI eligibility requirements, which are outlined under “Student eligibility” in the “Training Grant Guide” available on the UKRI website. In short, you should be a citizen of the UK or other EU country and have been residing in the UK for the last 3 years (apart from temporary or occasional absences).

There are a limited number of Track I, fees-only studentships available to students not meeting the UK residency criteria. These studentships are competition-funded with other projects meaning that upon assessing all the projects and their applications, the selection committee will decide which projects would consider qualified non-UK applicants. Please see the notes below for this round of competition:

  1. Applicants who do not meet the UK residency criteria can apply to the QMEE studentships based at the University of Reading. Upon reviewing all Reading projects and their applicant pools, the selection committee will choose one project to be given to the best candidate irrespective of the UK residency criteria.
  2. There may be up to two Imperial College studentships for applicants who do not meet the UK residency criteria. These projects have a main supervisor in the Physics or Maths Department and the secondary supervisor is in the Life Sciences Department. These types of projects may not be available every year. Please consult the list of available projects.
  3. Track II students would not be eligible for any of these studentships because they will not have a declared supervisor or department.

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