This award will support training for a new generation of freshwater experts

University partnership awarded £2m grant for freshwater research

A £2m grant has been awarded to the GW4 Alliance by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) to fund the establishment of a Freshwater Centre for Doctoral Training.

As a UK-first initiative, this award will support training for a new generation of freshwater experts, required to investigate the urgent challenges faced by the global freshwater ecosystems.

The University of Exeter is a member university of the GW4 alliance which is an active collaboration of six world-class research institutions: the universities of Bath, Bristol, Cardiff and Exeter, the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology and the British Geological Survey. This alliance forms a world-class faculty to support cutting-edge research and training benefitting from the expertise of a range of pioneering institutes. Professor Nick Talbot, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research), University of Exeter and Chair of the GW4 Board says: “We are delighted that GW4’s combined strengths in water research and doctoral training have been recognised with this award. This initiative looks set to tackle some of the most important challenges facing our world today.”

Sustainable management of freshwater ecosystems may require new thinking and a multidisciplinary approach in the future. This new partnership aims to develop new tools to monitor freshwater systems and create integrated solutions to current and emerging threats posed by a growing population and increasing demand for water. PhD students involved with the programme will work on research projects focussed on pressing and current issues alongside supervisors from a range of organisations such as Welsh Water, the Environment Agency and The Rivers Trust. This will enable them to work alongside conservationists and commercial businesses that confront  water challenges in the 21st Century.

Leading for Exeter, Professor Charles Tyler has described the award as “a fabulous opportunity for us to develop and deliver a truly integrated research training programme in freshwater biosciences.” He goes on to say: “Working in partnership with key stakeholders, we will seek to guide the research needed for addressing some of the most urgent and challenging issues we face for the sustainable management of our freshwaters and protection of aquatic life. It’s exciting.”

The programme will run for five years and will welcome its first cohort in 2018.

Article written by Nick Scott, Biosciences PressGang

Date: 15 November 2017

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