Programme Structure

Alongside their research, E4 DTP students are expected to attend generic and specialised training as well as prepare to their career.

All DTP students are required to submit their thesis for examination between the end of their 3rd year and the end of their 4th year at the maximum.


E4 DTP Programme Structure
E4 DTP Programme and Training Structure built on 4 pillars: research support, professional skills, advanced training and peer learning/network activities.

The E4 DTP provides a comprehensive compulsory training programme balanced throughout the PhD. Each student is required to spend a total of 50 days of training during the PhD. These are split as follows:

Core Training: Professional and Transferable skills (25 days) – Cohort-based training

Year 1: Research Planning and Management (school-based generic PhD training) / Excellence in NERC-remit research (3-day residential) / Numeracy, Modelling and Data Management / Frontiers in Environmental Sciences / Introduction to Career Pathways

Year 2: Writing workshop/ Media and Outreach (2-day residential)

Year 3: Careers Workshop / Science and Society symposium / Innovation and Impact (2-day residential)

All years: ECCI Innovation Consultancy Training / Writing retreats / ad-hoc training

Modular Training: Advanced training, tailored to individual needs (25 days) - Individual training

Yearly Training Needs Analyses (TNAs) meetings will identify individual and specialised needs for training.

Specific training can be obtained through 33 academic and non-academic partners which bring their expertise to the DTP, the huge range of undergraduate and taught postgraduate courses offered by the University, the University Institute for Academic Development (IAD), courses offered by other NERC DTPs and local non-NERC DTPs (such as our sister BBSRC DTP Eastbio) etc.

Training on E4 is flexible and arrangements will be found when students have external constraints and commitments such as a part-time job, caring duties, health requirements etc. which could prevent them from attending.

Institute for Academic Development - Doctoral Researchers

The E4 DTP Partners


Optional schemes

Although stipend will cover 3.5 years (42 months) as a standard, there is the opportunity of extending the stipend for up to another 5 months when applying for the 2 optional DTP schemes described below.

The Professional Internship Programme (PIP)

I carried out a PIP at the British Geological Survey (Keyworth) and worked with a leader in the field of radiometric zircon dating. The experience I gained during my time at the BGS has given me a significant leg-up in both understanding and technical capability.

Fred Bowyer, former E3 DTP student, cohort 2014
Some previous PIP hosts
Some previous PIP hosts

The PIP gives the opportunity to explore a professional environment, which is not necessarily or not directly related to the PhD subject via an internship. The student will get an extension of the stipend equivalent to the length of the internship (up to 3 months). The internship scheme is very flexible. Submitted to the DTP Management Board’s approval, it can be based at the organisation of the student’s choice (UK or abroad), it can be split in monthly blocks and can be done in any year of the PhD (although recommended in years 2 to 4).

DTP students so far have been doing a wide range of activities with hosts in all sectors and areas, either in the UK or abroad. See a collection of logos from previous PIP hosts.

Please note that there are restrictions on undertaking a work placement for students under a Visa and whilst the PIP option is still available to them, it will need to comply with the UKVI's rules (more information: Working in the UK during studies | The University of Edinburgh).

E3 DTP student Ribanna Dittrich on a US GO-SHIP cruise thanks to the DTP funds - March 2018 (Photo R.Dittrich)

The E4 DTP Professional Development Scheme (PDS)

The PDS provides a 2-month stipend extension for DTP students who would have submitted a minimum of 2 publications as first author by the half of their 4th year.

E4 DTP Additional Funds

In addition to standard and additional research costs which are granted to each student depending on their project’s requirements, the E4 DTP holds a fund which can support travel to international conferences and research visits abroad (or PIPs when they are abroad). There are 2 calls for applications per year which are open to all DTP students in year 1 to 3.5.

Read about what the DTP students have been doing thanks to this funds:



You can read more about the amazing research activities and opportunities E4 students have had during their PhD on our alumni profiles.


Why choose the E4 DTP?

Studying in Edinburgh

Alumni Profiles