Postgraduate research

CENTA PhD Studentships

Qualification: PhD

Departments: Archaeology and Ancient History School of Chemistry Geography Geology Genetics

Application deadline: 10 January 2024

Start date: 23 September 2024


The Central England NERC Training Alliance is a partnership involving the Universities of Birmingham, Leicester, Loughborough, Warwick, Cranfield, and the Open University, together with the British Geological Survey and the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology. CENTA has been awarded £4.9 million from the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) which, with additional support from the partners, will fund around 120 PhD studentships over five years, training the next generation of Environmental and Earth Scientists.

The University of Leicester has expertise in a number of areas where the CENTA Partnership has particular research strength. These are:

  • Climate and Environmental Sustainability: key areas of strength include pollutants in the atmosphere and aquatic environments, and satellite-based observations of the climate system.
  • Organisms and Ecosystems: key areas of strength include modern and ancient ecosystems, responses to environmental change, vertebrates (living and fossil), exceptional preservation of fossils and their evolutionary implications, microfossils and how they link to climate change studies, and hydrocarbon exploration.
  • Dynamic Earth: key areas of strength include magma dynamics, tectonic and Earth surface processes, rates and timescales of geological processes, palaeoenvironments and palaeoclimates, all underpinned by cross-cutting excellence in chemical analysis of rocks, fossils and geological processes.

As a CENTA student, you will belong to a consortium well-resourced to provide you with extensive training to give you confidence in all aspects of your research. The partnership draws together relevant expertise from a complementary set of research organisations to train scientists capable of making outstanding contributions to their discipline, and able to apply their knowledge to the challenges facing the UK economy, the quality of life of its citizens, and the state of the global environment.


See tab below for projects now available for September 2024 entry.


Please download and complete the CENTA Studentship Application and upload it to your online PhD application.

Refer to the How to Apply section below before starting your application.

Closing date: 11 January 2024.

Doctoral training partnerships

Doctoral Training Partnerships (DTPs) and Centres for Doctoral Training (CDTs) are multi-disciplinary, multi-institutional schemes designed to support the training of the next generation of world-class researchers. The University of Leicester is a lead partner in four DTPs/CDTs through which we can offer funded PhD studentships in a wide range of research areas.

Studentships are available to highly motivated and qualified applicants and provide a generous support package usually including a full fee waiver, annual stipend, and research training support grant. Studentships are in most cases offered early in the year for October start. Enquiries outside of the main application periods are welcomed.

CENTA Projects for 2024








CENTA studentships are for 3.5 years and are funded by NERC CENTA and provide:

  • Tuition Fees at UK (Home) rates*
  • Annual stipend, (currently set at £18,622 per year for 2023/4)
  • Research training support grant (RTSG)

* If you are not eligible for UK Fees the University of Leicester will fund the difference between UK and International fees for the duration of your studies

Entry requirements

Entry requirements

  • Applicants must have or expect to obtain a first class or upper second class BSc and/or M-level degree (or an equivalent overseas qualification) in a relevant subject.
  • Applicants who hold a lower second class honours degree (or an equivalent overseas qualification) in a relevant subject may be considered for admission provided that they also hold a Masters degree in a relevant subject.
  • University of Leicester English language requirements apply as necessary.

Informal enquiries

Informal enquiries

Please forward your project and application enquiries to CENTA at Leicester at

Application enquiries to

For general enquiries regarding the CENTA DTP please see the CENTA website.

How to apply

How to apply

  1. Download and complete the CENTA studentship application form
  2. Complete and submit your University PhD application using the Apply button at the bottom of the page and select September 2024 entry.

Guidelines for your PhD application:

  • Upload your completed CENTA Studentship Application Form to the Personal Statement section (a separate personal statement is not required)
  • Enter your CENTA project supervisor's name and the Project code in the project title tab. The project code can be found on the project listing above.
  • Upload your supporting documents (CV, degree transcripts and certificates, Evidence of English language).
  • Enter the names and contact details of referees in the space provided  Please be sure to let your referees know to expect a reference request from us. Or upload reference letters if available (these should be on signed headed paper).
  • Under the Funding Section of the online application form select Studentship and in the drop down menu select NERC CENTA
You may only apply for one project at University of Leicester.



Our project-based studentships are open to all applicants who meet the academic requirements (at least a 2:1 at UK BSc level or at least a pass at UK MSc level or equivalent).

International students will require a student visa in order to be able to study in the UK. There are costs associated with the visa application process, which must be met by the student; approx £2500 for the visa and healthcare surcharge. Please ensure you have the means to meet these costs before you apply to the programme.

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