The Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) has just announced the results of a funding competition for doctoral training to replace its algorithm system and CENTA is one of the successful partnerships with an award valued at £4.9M. CENTA stands for Central England NERC Training Alliance, a consortium of Universities and research institutes that are working together to provide excellence in doctoral research training within NERC’s remit.  The University of Birmingham will be leading the CENTA alliance which will receive 5 successive annual awards of twelve 4-year PhD studentships starting in autumn 2014 which will be matched by funding from the partner institutes to double the number of studentships.  The leadership will be provided by staff in the Schools of Geography, Earth & Environmental Sciences and the School of Biosciences in the College of Life and Environmental Sciences.

Students will register for a PhD degree with one of the University partners (Birmingham, Leicester, Loughborough, Warwick and Open University), but they may be supervised also by someone in another of the partners or another organization, or be based mainly in one of the research institute partners (British Geological Survey and Centre for Ecology and Hydrology).

The CENTA consortium aims to provide extensive training to give research students confidence in all aspects of their research. An enhanced programme of broad training will be provided in addition to that specific to their individual research topic.  The breadth is relevant since CENTA science is multidisciplinary and many of the important advances in research draw on more than one sub-discipline. Students will also have the opportunity to gain experience through an extended placement in another research laboratory in the UK or overseas, or with a potential future employer.