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Uncertainty in air pollution emissions from transport has been one of the most significant factors impacting air quality in the UK over the past decade. The well-publicised issues associated with urban nitrogen dioxide gas have highlighted the knowledge gaps that exist regarding current and future emissions from the transport sector in real-world conditions.

The Department for Transport (DfT) is supporting NERC in increasing the supply of highly trained individuals with PhD-level research and analysis skills associated with evaluating and predicting transport emissions. At this time three new NERC PhD awards are available, to start October 2018. Each award includes standard NERC stipend, fees and £11,000 Research Training Support Grant.

Within the scope of this opportunity projects are encouraged from UKRI eligible Principal Investigators* for PhD topics in areas including:

  • Observations and models of tailpipe and non-tailpipe emissions, present-day and future.
  • The impacts on atmospheric emissions arising from fleet electrification.
  • How policy interventions in the transport sector influence UK urban air quality.
  • New technologies for the measurement and management of transport sector emissions.

Projects can include new measurements and data collection or the exploitation of existing datasets. If applicants are unsure whether their PhD project would fit within the remit then please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The application and evaluation process for the awarding of these studentships is being managed by the National Centre for Atmospheric Science (NCAS) on behalf of NERC and the DfT. Following external review and ranking by an independent expert panel, the successful applicants will be invited to complete a simplified JeS form, and this will be used by NERC to make a grant award direct to that institution. Confirmation of awards will be made to successful Principal Investigators in early June 2018 with student enrolment expected for the October 2018 intake. Full integration of each studentship into a relevant NERC DTP cohort is expected. There is no limit to the number of applications that can be made by any one Institution. Proposals that include external partners and/or supervision, and that would operate as CASE studentships, are particularly welcomed.

The application process has now closed.

* Please note potential PhD students cannot apply directly to this scheme.

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