University of Sheffield awarded funding to train next generation of environmental scientists

  • University of Sheffield awarded share of £100 million funding to support PhD students in environmental sciences
  • Funding to support 22 PhD students a year as part of the Adapting to the Challenges of Changing Environment Doctoral Training Programme
  • Opportunities available in ecology, evolution and conservation over the next five years

The Earth seen from space

The University of Sheffield has been awarded a share of £100 million funding to train the next generation of environmental scientists.

The funding, awarded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), is set to support 22 new PhD students a year in ecology, evolution and conservation over the next five years as part of the Adapting to the Challenges of Changing Environment (ACCE) Doctoral Training Programme (DTP),

Bringing together the academic strengths of the Universities of Liverpool, Sheffield and York, the programme also benefits from the unique scientific expertise and resources of the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology and the Natural History Museum.

The multidisciplinary programme aims to develop confident and multi-skilled PhD students capable of undertaking cutting-edge research and tackling environmental biology questions of global significance.

Dr Dylan Childs, Postgraduate Research Director from the Department of Animal and Plant Sciences at the University of Sheffield, said: "An Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report released this week made clear that we have to deal with the imminent threat of climate change, and to limit global temperature increases to a maximum of 1.5 C before 2030. This funding will allow us to continue to train young scientists who will enable us to tackle the challenges of living in this changing world."

Professor Andy Fenton, ACCE DTP Programme Director at the University of Liverpool said: “ACCE is the only Doctoral Training Partnership in the UK dedicated to ecology, evolution, and conservation and we are delighted with this funding success. ACCE students will tackle questions of global significance, and develop the skills and experience needed to equip them for careers in science-based industry, academia and beyond.”

The 2018 DTP call was an open and competitive process that identified 17 DTPs to host PhD studentships funded by NERC. Each DTP was assessed on the basis of excellence through a transparent, peer-reviewed application process.

Sam Gyimah, Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation, added: “The UK is alive with ambitious young minds that have the potential to shape the science and research landscape, stretching existing boundaries of knowledge and conquering the challenges of tomorrow.

“Making the most of the UK’s world-leading reputation in science and innovation is at the core of our modern Industrial Strategy, and it is today’s young people that will fulfil this ambition to create a Britain fit for the future.”

The new DTP succeeds the original ACCE DTP, which funded PhD studentships starting in 2014-2018.

For information about the programme and the PhD opportunities available, visit:

Additional information

The University of Sheffield

With almost 29,000 of the brightest students from over 140 countries, learning alongside over 1,200 of the best academics from across the globe, the University of Sheffield is one of the world’s leading universities.

A member of the UK’s prestigious Russell Group of leading research-led institutions, Sheffield offers world-class teaching and research excellence across a wide range of disciplines.

Unified by the power of discovery and understanding, staff and students at the university are committed to finding new ways to transform the world we live in.

Sheffield is the only university to feature in The Sunday Times 100 Best Not-For-Profit Organisations to Work For 2018 and for the last eight years has been ranked in the top five UK universities for Student Satisfaction by Times Higher Education.

Sheffield has six Nobel Prize winners among former staff and students and its alumni go on to hold positions of great responsibility and influence all over the world, making significant contributions in their chosen fields.

Global research partners and clients include Boeing, Rolls-Royce, Unilever, AstraZeneca, Glaxo SmithKline, Siemens and Airbus, as well as many UK and overseas government agencies and charitable foundations.


For further information please contact:

Sean Barton
Media Relations Officer
University of Sheffield
0114 222 9852