NERC DTP in Adapting to the Challenges of a Changing Environment (ACCE)

This prestigious Natural Environment Research Council-funded Doctoral Training Partnership brings together the very best in environmental, ecological and evolutionary research from the Departments of Biology, Environment & Geography, Archaeology and Chemistry,

  • Funding: A tax-free annual stipend at the standard UKRI (£18,622 for 2023/24 entry), research costs and tuition fees at UK rate
  • Academic year: 2024/25
  • Open to: International (including EU) and UK (home) students
  • Qualification level: Postgraduate research
  • Number available: 6
Applications for 2024/25 are closed.

Spanning across the Universities of York, Sheffield and Liverpool, together with the UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (UKCEH) and the Natural History Museum (NHM), you'll benefit from a doctoral training programme that has interdisciplinary collaboration at its core. The aim is to produce multi-skilled researchers equipped to tackle cutting-edge environmental science of global significance, embedded within a unique, supportive training environment.

At York, the ACCE DTP brings together researchers from the Departments of Biology, Environment and Geography, Archaeology and Chemistry. All projects are co-supervised, most of them with supervisors in different institutions, in order to foster innovative science, collegiality and breadth of experience.

The NERC ACCE is the only DTP with a clear emphasis on the biological component of environmental research. This biological core, combined with the international standing of the partners in biological and related fields, makes ACCE a natural choice if you wish to undertake a PhD in biological research and related disciplines.

Find out more about the NERC DTP in Adapting to the Challenges of a Changing Environment


Open to International (including EU) and UK (home) students.

We aim to support the most outstanding applicants from outside the UK and are able to offer a limited number of bursaries that will enable full studentships to be awarded to international applicants. These full studentships will only be awarded to exceptional quality candidates, due to the competitive nature of this scheme. 

You can apply if you have, or are expecting to gain, at least an upper second class honours degree or equivalent. Due to the interdisciplinary nature of this programme we welcome applications if your background is in any relevant subject that provides the necessary skills, knowledge and experience for the DTP, including environmental, biological, chemical, mathematical, physical and social sciences.

The York ACCE DTP is committed to recruiting extraordinary future scientists regardless of age, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, disability, sexual orientation or career pathway to date. We understand that commitment and excellence can be shown in many ways and have built our recruitment process to reflect this. We welcome applicants from all backgrounds, particularly those underrepresented in science, who have curiosity, creativity and a drive to learn new skills.

Not all projects will be funded; a limited number of candidates will be appointed via a competitive process.

English language

If English isn't your first language you may need to provide evidence of your English language ability. For more information see our Postgraduate English language requirements.

How to apply

Application deadline: Monday 8 January 2024, 6.45pm GMT

To submit your application, click on the 'apply online' button inside the project description.  This will take you to the University's online application system.

It's very important that you write the title of the project you're applying to and the names of the project supervisors. If you decide to apply for more than one project (maximum two), please number them in order of preference.


How we allocate

Supervisors can only nominate one student for consideration per project. Shortlisting will take place as soon as possible after the closing date and applicants are normally notified promptly.

If you're shortlisted you'll be invited for an interview. As part of the interview process, you'll be asked to make a five-minute presentation on a research project you've undertaken.

You'll be notified as soon as possible after the interview dates whether your application has been successful, placed on a reserve list, or unsuccessful. If you are successful, you'll be required to confirm your intention to accept the studentship within 10 days.

Terms and conditions

The studentships are fully funded for three and a half years and you must complete your PhD in four years.

You'll receive a minimum of £18,622 per year for your living costs, which is paid to you in regular instalments. The UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) stipend is tax-free and does not need to be paid back.

International students will need to have sufficient funds to cover the costs of their student visaNHS health surcharge, travel insurance and transport to the UK as these are excluded from UKRI funding.

As a member of the York Graduate Research School, you will study throughout the whole year, working for at least 35 hours per week, and will have a usual annual leave entitlement (normally 30 days over the year plus public holidays). You are encouraged to make use of your leave and have a responsibility to discuss the timing of this with your supervisor (for longer periods of holiday) and recording leave taken through the year. Students working in collaboration with non-academic partners are expected to bear in mind their obligations to those partners in planning leave.

You must adhere to the University’s regulations, policies and guidance regarding research degree programmes

As part of the York ACCE DTP programme you are expected to attend all mandatory induction, meetings and training sessions scheduled by the DTP and by the lead Department. 

Contact details

Biology Postgraduate Admissions
+44 (0)1904 32 8546

Our ACCE DTP programme in Adapting to the Challenges of a Changing Environment (ACCE) offers projects aligned with the grand challenges in environmental research:

  • securing ecosystem services and environmental resources
  • predicting and mitigating impacts of climate change
  • understanding the dynamics of biodiversity
  • mechanisms of evolutionary change. 

Please try to identify a research project that suits you, which should ensure a proper match between your research interests and your prospective supervisors.

If you're interested in more than one project we'd encourage informal discussions with different project supervisors to help you decide which project to apply to and maximise your chances of obtaining a studentship. Contact details for academic staff can be found in each project description.

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