Call for ACCE project proposals

The Call for PhD Project proposals is NOW OPEN

This call is for project proposals to recruit the 5th final cohort of PhD students who will start in October 2018.
ACCE DTP PhDs studentships will be for 3.5 years with the possibility of extensions (e.g. for those taking placements with industry or other ).
Each student will receive an RTSG which they can use to cover costs for research and would also need to cover travel/accommodation to attend ACCE annual meetings (but not placements if taken) and other ACCE events.

How to apply

Supervisors from the University of Sheffield should submit an Online project proposal form (proforma just for guidance is available here)

Supervisors from the University of Liverpool should submit their proposals on the Proposal form and email it to

Supervisors from the University of York should submit their project proposal on the proposal form and email it to

Departments involved

University of Sheffield: Animal and Plant Sciences, Geography, SoMaS, Archaeology, Civil and Structural Engineering, Bioengineering.
While these are the main departments involved from Sheffield, if you are in another department and are an NERC grant holder, you are also eligible to apply for an ACCE studentship.

University of York: Biology, Environment, Chemistry, Archaeology

University of Liverpool: Evolution, Ecology and Behaviour, Functional and Comparative Genomics, Earth Ocean and Ecological Sciences, Musculoskeletal Biology, Mathematical Sciences

CEH: Biodiversity, Water, and Biogeochemistry Programmes and the Environmental Informatics Data Centre

ACCE research foci
ACCE has 4 research areas (foci): These research foci are designed to be inclusive of ACCE partners’ NERC expertise and have been discussed during proposal writing. They should, therefore, be interpreted broadly.


  • Projects must have at least two supervisors. ACCE aims to have at least 50% of its PhD students co-supervised across 2 (or more) ACCE institutions (Sheffield/York/Liverpool/ CEH). Such cross-institutional supervision is, therefore, likely to have a positive influence on project selection;
  • Each student will also have an “assessor” (a non-supervisory supporter). One of the co-supervisor or assessors must be from a different ACCE institution from the lead supervisor. The assessor does not need to be named on the project proposal form and can be assigned once a PhD has been successfully filled;
  • ACCE aims to exceed NERC’s requirement of 30% CASE partners, so CASE projects are strongly encouraged.

Note, we have more than 20 CASE partners who have already agreed to support ACCE, but this is not an exclusive list. CASE partners not on this list are welcome.

ACCE PhD projects
Projects must:

  • Demonstrate a clear fit to ACCE research foci and NERC remit;
  • Address major environmental issues of high-level importance;
  • Be appropriately challenging and/or use innovative or interdisciplinary approaches;
  • Be led by established supervisors that have strong track records of NERC funding and supervision, and/or are led by promising early career scientists that are partnered with established researchers.


Deadline for project proposals submission is 5 pm, 12th Sept 2017. Selection of projects for advertising is a competitive process based on agreed criteria. Furthermore, an excess of projects over the number of available studentships will be advertised to promote competition based on student quality. Once the projects are chosen, we will request advert text from supervisors and ACCE will then advertise the projects.