Information for Supervisors

We will be seeking proposals for suitable freshwater bioscience projects to advertise to attract high quality candidates in the early summer.  Supervisors are invited to submit project proposals that sit within the four key research themes that characterise the FRESH CDT:


  1. Quantify and manage emerging risks to freshwaters that stem from changing patterns in behaviours, demography, governance or climate;
  2. Develop and test next generation tools for assessing and monitoring ecosystems and ecosystem services;
  3. Tackle extinction and impairment in freshwater ecosystems;
  4. Create integrated solutions to manage ecosystem service sustainability for people and ecosystems.


Project proposals that sit slightly outside the key themes but offer students outstanding training opportunities, especially in the interdisciplinary or industry led areas, may be considered for funding.

Please check back around May to June for details of this year’s application process, which may differ both in time frame and process from that run for the October 2018 project starts.

Project proposals must be submitted using an online form which will be opened at the time, and a new FAQs document will be drafted to explain the process in due course. 


Suitable projects will be uploaded to our website once approved and targeted marketing will direct candidates to the website to view project descriptions. 

The CDT and NERC are keen to promote interdisciplinary working, we also aim to attract excellent students from a variety of disciplines.

Note that supervisory teams must include members from at least two of the GW4 partner institutions. There is no maximum number of supervisors that can be on the supervisory team for a project and projects can also be submitted and led by CEH and BGS (as long they are co-supervised by one of the four academics partners).



Most of the studentships will be of 3.5 years’ duration. Our award has been calculated on this basis. Applications for a longer duration will be considered on a case-by-case basis, as the grant allows for flexibility.

The elements of the studentship are: fees (UK/EU rate), an RCUK national minimum stipend, and a Research Training Support Grant (RTSG) of £11,000 (over the lifetime of the project, although an element of this is retained centrally to cover core cohort training).

Project proposals should outline how the research costs will be met whilst leaving sufficient funds for activities such as conference attendance, overseas opportunities, advanced training etc.

What supervisors say of the benefits of having students in a GW4 Doctoral Training Entity:

“The studentship has provided a crucial vehicle by which to extend our existing cross-disciplinary collaboration”.

“His (the student’s) training opportunities have  been far more diverse, since he has accessed both the GW4 DTP specific training and other training within the GW4 (often outside of Bath)”.

“It is encouraging more outward thinking in the student. Importantly, I think it has engendered a strong training philosophy in the student (hard in such a short time to determine how much the GW4 mentality or the student’s mentality fully drives this, but she is influenced by her initial induction training in how to think about and acquire her training)”.

“Access to expertise in multiple institutions. Forging meaningful collaborations between Universities in the GW4. This will ultimately lead to combined grant funding”.

“DTP facilities access technical expertise in GW4 network, not otherwise available at host institution

“Shared Ph.D. students are a great tool to establish and strengthen research collaborations”

“It is a good framework for collaboration, and it’s good for the student to have access to people with broad skills and knowledge”.

“Great students given the profile of a DTP versus that of a single academic”.

“It does encourage collaboration and more innovative/new projects. The standard of students is uniformly higher because it seems easier to recruit”

“Improved training (and associated guidance) offered to students of the DTP is greatly improved compared to individual studentships”.

“The DTP approach offers: (1) improved monitoring and training opportunities for the Personal Development of students (i.e. transferable skills); (2) opportunities for cross-institutional research collaborations”

“Encourages collaboration and therefore exposes the student to different techniques and approaches. Students are also part of a cohort and have an increased opportunity to speak to one-another, exchanging ideas etc.”

“Really strong advantage in having a clear cohort identity. Acts as glue between GW4 institutions”.


For supervisors and stakeholder partners:
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