2020 applicants
Doctoral Training Partnerships

ARIES: Advanced research and innovation in the environmental sciences

ARIES (Advanced Research and Innovation in the Environmental Sciences) is a new Doctoral Training Partnership with the mission “to train postgraduate research students (PGRs) with excellent potential from across society, equipping them with the necessary skills to become 21st Century Scientists: leaders in the science and sustainable business of the natural environment.”

ARIES is funded from the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and is an extensive world-class partnership integrating 59 partners from universities, research institutes and end users. ARIES is built upon scientific excellence within five overlapping research themes:

  • Ecology and Biodiversity
  • Marine, Atmospheric and Climate Science
  • Geosciences, Resources and Environmental Risk
  • Environmental Genomics and Microbiology
  • Agri-environments and Water

The 2021 studentship competition will be launching during our autumn term. Details about the previous competition for 2020 are outlined below so that you can understand the usual application and selection process for the ARIES studentship competition. Please check back for updates about the launch of the 2021 competition.

2020 studentships

The following links take you to details of each studentship on the ARIES website. After viewing the studentship, return to this website to view the ‘How to apply’ section.

  • Effects of dispersants on mitigating environmental impacts of marine oil pollution: insights from microbiological, chemical and field investigations

Collaboration award with Oil Spill Response Ltd (MCKEW E20ARIES) Dr Boyd McKew (UoE), Professor Terry McGenity (UoE), Dr Rob Holland (OSRL Ltd)

Further details about the studentship

  • Fate, transformation and effect of microplastics on microbial communities in the environment

CASE award with Anglian Water Services Limited
Dr Corinne Whitby (UoE), Dr Phillippe Laissue (UoE), Professor Richard Thompson (Plymouth University), Dr Mayes (UEA)

Further details about the studentship

  • Seascape genomics of Antarctic deep-sea coral: Groundtruthing larval dispersal models with genetic connectivity data

CASE award with Centre for Environment Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas)
Dr Michelle Taylor (UoE), Dr Oliver Hogg (Cefas), Dr Rebecca Ross (Institute of Marine Research, Norway)

Further details about the studentship

  • The changing nature of Antarctic food webs

Dr Eoin O’Gorman (UoE), Dr Simeon Hill (British Antarctic Survey), Dr Michelle Taylor (UoE), Dr Hollyman (British Antarctic Survey)

Further details of the studentship


ARIES studentships are funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), which applies the eligibility criteria laid down by its parent body, UK Research and Innovation (UKRI). These are outlined in their Terms and Conditions of Training Grants document, and given in more detail in their Training Grant Guide (Annex 1), both of which can be found on the UKRI website.

In general, UK and EU nationals who will have been resident in the UK for three years or more at the time when their PhD begins will be eligible for a full ARIES studentship. UK and EU nationals who have been resident outside the UK but within the EU during the qualifying period will usually be eligible for a ‘fees only’ studentship, which pays research costs and tuition fees but gives no help with living expenses.

In case of uncertainty, the planned university of registration should be contacted for eligibility advice, or the ARIES administrators.

How to apply

Send an email to Emma Revill ariesapp@essex.ac.uk by 15 January 2020 with:

  • your CV (including contact details of two academic references)
  • a cover letter explaining your motivation and suitability for the PhD 

If you have any questions please contact any member of the supervisory team.


ARIES offers an exciting training package to support you during your PhD and in your career choices post study.

As well as ARIES opportunities, you can also benefit from Proficio, our University's unique professional development scheme for doctoral students. You receive up to £2,500 during your studies to fund specialist training across a range of areas from research skills and managing a PhD, to presenting work and getting published.

ARIES also offers advanced training courses to other PhD students at partner universities. Students don't need to be in receipt of a studentship to participate.

Get in touch
Supervisory team