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Postgraduate Admissions

The UKRI Centre for Doctoral Training in the Application of Artificial Intelligence to the study of Environmental Risks (AI4ER) trains researchers to be uniquely equipped to develop and apply leading-edge computational approaches to address critical global environmental challenges by exploiting vast, diverse and often currently untapped environmental data sets.

Students will engage in a one-year MRes degree in Physical Sciences (Environmental Data Science) which includes a taught component and a major research element. On successful completion of the MRes, a three-year PhD research project will be undertaken.

Students will receive training in research, professional, technical and transferable skills through a focused core programme with an emphasis on the development of data science skills.

The overall objectives of the programme are to:

1. Provide students with a broad understanding of the range of urgent environmental challenges facing global society and the practical experience of applying AI-based tools to address these challenges.

2. Build a cohort of students and equip them with skills that prepare them optimally for PhD research.

3. Develop entrepreneurial and project management skills and generate awareness of industrial, commercial and policy drivers through relevant cohort activities.

4. Equip students with a range of skills to enable them to take prominent roles in a wide spectrum of employment and research after the PhD.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the programme, students will have:

  • learnt additional skills in disciplines outside of their first degree;
  • gained understanding and command of methods and techniques relevant for research at the interface between artificial intelligence and machine learning on the one hand and the study of environmental change and risk on the other;
  • gained an understanding of the enterprise landscape relating to environmental data science;
  • developed a good transferrable skills base, including science communication skills, as well as a sound grasp of safety and ethics in research;
  • learnt to work effectively in teams as well as individually.

In addition to the above, during the MRes year students will:

  • attended lectures in degree level topics bespoke to complement their own strengths and knowledge base upon entry, gaining a broad overview and specific knowledge of environmental data science, shared across the whole cohort;
  • developed skills in research methods through the execution of a masters level independent research project.


In order to continue from the MRes in Environmental Data Science to the PhD, a pass in the MRes is required, in addition to:

  1. satisfactory supervision reports;
  2. attendance at all compulsory training;
  3. an agreed research proposal;
  4. the agreement of two participating PhD supervisors.

A recommendation to progress is subject to the approval of the CDT Management Committee.

Open Days

The Postgraduate Virtual Open Day usually takes place at the beginning of November. It’s a great opportunity to ask questions to admissions staff and academics, explore the Colleges virtually, and to find out more about courses, the application process and funding opportunities. Visit the Postgraduate Open Day page for more details.


This course is advertised in the following departments:

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Key Information

1+3 years full-time

Doctor of Philosophy
Master of Research in the first instance

Department of Earth Sciences This course is advertised in multiple departments. Please see the Overview tab for more details.

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Dates and deadlines:

Michaelmas 2022

Applications open
Sept. 1, 2021
Application deadline
May 16, 2022
Course Starts
Sept. 26, 2022

Some courses can close early. See the Deadlines page for guidance on when to apply.

Graduate Funding Competition
Jan. 6, 2022
Gates Cambridge US round only
Oct. 13, 2021

These deadlines apply to applications for courses starting in Michaelmas 2022, Lent 2023 and Easter 2023.

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