Training Programme

Training Programme

DTP Programme

The DTP in Environmental Research aims to provide training to the most promising postgraduate research students that will enable them to launch a successful independent research career. During the first term, students will be taught within a multi-disciplinary cohort about the breadth of research approaches available for investigating environmental problems and will be given intensive, hands-on training in research methodologies, data analysis and modelling. DTP students must be resident in Oxford during the first two terms in order to complete the core training programme.

In term 1 students will be introduced to the concepts of Innovation and Enterprise, as well as the wide range of research being carried out within the NERC Remit across the nine departments of the DTP, Archaeology, Chemistry, Earth Sciences, Engineering, Mathematics, Physics, Plant Sciences, Geography and Zoology.  The training programme in term 1 is full time and projects are not intended to be worked on during this time.  Students will attend courses outside their own areas of expertise and discover where their own interests fit into broad spectrum of environmental research.  They will either start to formulate their own research projects, or build on projects that they already have in mind, in many cases using research methodologies or collaborations they discover during this term.  In term 2 there is a normally one day per week of core training, and some advanced (optional) courses are scheduled. There will also be the opportunity to carry out some interdisciplinary group projects building on work done in term 1.  During this time students will be working on their project proposals in collaboration with their chosen supervisor.  They will submit their project proposals at the start of term 3 and transfer out to their chosen department during this term to begin their projects.

As students progress through the programme, they will continue to engage in specialist research training courses and be provided with exciting training in professional research skills ranging from career planning to public engagement.

D.Phil progression diagram.

Core Training Programme Courses (Terms 1 & 2)

Essential Mathematics and Programming : 

Mathematics: The essential stream is aimed to help students who have not used their maths since GCSE and bring them up to approximately A-level standard.

Programming : The goal of this one week course is to provide a basic introduction Python, as well as to cover some useful software carpentry skills for research computing.

Scientific Computing: to revise (and in some cases, extend) the core mathematical techniques relevant to modelling in the environmental sciences.  There is a week of statistics included in this course.

Advanced Quantitative Skills:

Several branches of environmental research make use of computational methods to analyse data and develop/run models to understand environmental phenomena. Examples include the analysis of climate time series,  propagation of seismic waves, magma dynamics in the Earth’s mantle, inverse models for tracer transport in the ocean, through to comprehensive atmosphere, ocean and Earth system models used for weather and climate prediction.

This course provides aims to provide an introduction to mathematical tools, numerical methods and statistics that can be used to model and analyse environmental systems.

The Earth System: This course introduces students to the key questions in environmental research and the current approaches available for answering them being used by researchers associated with the DTP in Environmental Research. It is divided into three separate  three day courses, one focussing on each research stream.

Methods in Environmental Research: will give students intensive, hands-on training in key research methodologies that underpin environmental research across the NERC remit such as earth observation, scientific chronology, 3D Topographic maps, isotopes and proxies.

Foundations for a Successful DPhil: will introduce students to the rules and requirements governing the DPhil degree as well as strategies to making the most of your time as a DPhil student.

Planning & Managing Research: will provide students with the tools necessary to initiate and execute their DPhil research project.

Communicating Research: through a series of short practical workshops, students will be trained in the best practices for communicating their research through a wide variety of media. During the first term training is primarily focused on preparing a research proposal and developing an online presence. The topics covered by this course evolve as students progress through the programme.

Graduate Research Seminars: from term 2 onwards a weekly seminar session hosted by students in each Research Stream will offer students the opportunity to discuss current literature with each other and with relevant faculty conducting research within that stream.

Grand Challenges Seminars: students will be responsible for organising the Grand Challenges Seminar series during the second term. This will include identifying the Grand Challenges in Environmental Research, inviting speakers and arranging the meeting space, hosting the events in the second term and reporting on it via the DTP Student Blog.

Impact & Engagement: from term 2, students will participate in an exciting array of training sessions aimed at building skills for achieving research impact in the public and private sectors.

Specialised Training Programme Courses (Term 2 and beyond)

Advanced Methods in Environmental Research: will offer focused training on selected research methodologies tailored to the skills requirements of DTP students as they undertake their DPhil research.

Advanced Modelling & Data Analysis: students will participate in a specified number of specialised quantitative skills courses according to their own expertise and training requirements.