Accessibility statement

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Departments of Environment and Geography, Biology, Archaeology and Chemistry


‌This prestigious NERC funded Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP) brings together the very best in environmental, ecological and evolutionary research across the Universities of York, Sheffield and Liverpool, together with the together with the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH) and the Natural History Museum (NHM). Students will benefit from a PhD 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 NERC Partnership brings together researchers from the Departments of BiologyEnvironment and GeographyArchaeology 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.

Our fully-funded PhD 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; and mechanisms of evolutionary change. There are Environment projects where the lead supervisor is based in York's Department of Environment and Geography. In addition there are projects also available in the departments of Biology and Archaeology.

One of the York studentships each year can be allocated to well-qualified students who have devised their own research project, together with a York ACCE supervisor. The project must fall broadly within one of the ACCE themes. If you are interested in this route, please contact a potential supervisor in the departments of BiologyEnvironment and GeographyArchaeology or Chemistry to discuss your idea and help develop your project outline.

See all current ACCE projects

Studentship details


Studentships: Fourteen fully funded PhD studentships are available, across York, Sheffield and Liverpool, on this outstanding programme for entry in October 2020. To be considered you need to select a suitable project from the list available and submit an application through the University of York online system. 

Value: The studentships are fully funded for 3.5 years in the first instance, and students must complete their PhD in four years. The studentships cover: (i) a tax-free annual stipend at the standard Research Council rate (£15,009 for 2019-2020, but typically increases annually in line with inflation), (ii) research costs, and (iii) tuition fees at the UK/EU rate. You can extend your funding period for up to 6 months by applying to a 3-month placement and a 3-month writing up period for a publication.  

Eligibility: The studentships are available to UK and EU students who meet the UK residency requirements. Students from EU countries who do not meet the residency requirements may still be eligible for a fees-only award. Further information about eligibility for Research Council UK funding

Entry requirements: Students with, or expecting to gain, at least an Upper Second Class Honours degree, or equivalent, are invited to apply.  The interdisciplinary nature of this programme means that we welcome applications from students with backgrounds in any relevant subject that provides the necessary skills, knowledge and experience for the DTP, including environmental, biological, chemical, mathematical, physical and social sciences. For further details see how to apply.

Shortlisting: Supervisors can only put forward one student for consideration per project. Shortlisting will take place as soon as possible after the closing date and successful applicants will be notified promptly.

Interviews: The interviews will take place at the University of York on a date to confirmed in February 2020. Video interviews can be arranged for international applicants. As part of the interview process, candidates may be asked to make a 5-minute presentation on a research project they have undertaken.

Queries: If you have any queries about a specific Environment project, please contact the appropriate project supervisor, their emails can be found on our academic staff list. If you have any queries related to the application process please contact

See all current ACCE projects

Application process

Before you apply

Applications are made via "Select" (our University's Online Application Service). Your application can be completed in stages as our online system allows you to save your progress and come back later to finish it. We do not require you to provide a sample of written work.

Academic requirements

Students applying for this research programme should normally have obtained an upper second class honours degree (or equivalent).


The studentships are available to UK and EU students who meet the UK residency requirements. Students from EU countries who do not meet the residency requirements may still be eligible for a fees-only award. Further information about eligibility for Research Council UK funding.

Selecting a project

Please try to identify a research project that suits you.  This is to ensure a proper match between your research interests and your prospective supervisors. If you are attracted by more than one project in ACCE, rather than applying to several, we would encourage informal discussions with different project supervisors to help you decide which is the most appropriate project, to maximize your chances of obtaining a studentship. Contact details for academic staff can be found on each project description.


To submit your application, please click on the 'APPLY NOW' button inside the project description.  This will take you to the University's Online Application Service. Please select either '2020 October, Full Time' or '2020 October, Part Time' as your start date and then click on the 'Start application' button. It is very important that you write the title of the project you are applying to and the names of the project supervisors. 

After you apply

Once your application has been received, it will be assessed by the appropriate project supervisors. You might be asked to discuss your suitability for the project with the supervisors. The strongest applications will then be forwarded to the York ACCE Admissions Committee for shortlisting. If your application is shortlisted, you will be invited for a formal interview where you will be required to make a 5-minute presentation to the panel. The interviews will take place in the Department of Biology on a date to be confirmed in February 2020.  Video interviews can be arranged for international applicants. You will 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 will be required to confirm your intention to accept the studentship soon afterwards.

If you have any queries related to the application process, please email

See all current ACCE projects