SUPER news: £5 million for environmental research partnership

Large waves crashing on the beach

A consortium of Scottish Universities, in which the University of Strathclyde is a partner, has secured £5 million of funding for PhD students.

The Scottish Universities Partnership for Environmental Research (SUPER) has received the funding from the UK Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), for its innovative Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP).

SUPER’s DTP has been designed to take a joined-up ‘catchment to coast’ approach to understanding freshwater and marine ecosystems. Students will carry out a wide range of research projects on, for example, how human pressures and climate change affect the ability of these systems to support wildlife and provide major economic benefits such as fishery harvests.

The £5 million award will fund between 60 and 90 PhD students across the partner institutions, with the first successful candidates beginning next year.

Dr Douglas Speirs, Senior Lecturer in Strathclyde’s Department of Mathematics and Statistics, and the University’s representative in the team that developed the bid to NERC, said: “The SUPER DTP is a tremendous development for postgraduate training in ecology and environmental research in Scotland.

“A particular strength of SUPER is its focus on multidisciplinary research. At Strathclyde, for example, SUPER PhD students based in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics will have wonderful opportunities to apply their skills to important applied research challenges across the DTP themes, working closely with field and laboratory researchers in those areas.“

Under the broad themes of environmental dynamics, biodiversity and challenged ecosystems, the topics of climate change, resource management, sustainable exploitation and blue growth, among others, will be investigated. The DTP will bring together an interdisciplinary group of scientists to research aspects of aquaculture, fisheries management, ecosystem health, biodiversity and pollution control, and data management and predictive modelling.

Unparalleled

The students will be offered unparalleled opportunities to understand societal and environmental challenges and deliver science for the benefit of wider society, with international implications.

The SUPER DTP consortium is being managed by the Marine Alliance for Science and Technology for Scotland (MASTS), based at the University of St Andrews. Other partners are the Universities of Aberdeen, the Highlands and Islands, Stirling, the West of Scotland, Edinburgh Napier University and Heriot-Watt University.