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The Satellite Data in Environmental Science – Centre for Doctoral Training (SENSE CDT) will train the next generation of Earth Observation leaders, with the expertise and knowledge to address Earth System challenges using both advanced data science and remote sensing.


During years 2-3 of your PhD our students will undertake a 3-month placement embedded within our space industry or public-sector partners


Apply to become an Earth Observation PhD student! Next projects advertised in Autumn 2021 for studentships starting in 2022.

Watch our webinar on YouTube: ‘Careers with a PhD

Satellite Data in Environmental Science – Centre for Doctoral Training

Join us to transform environmental science in the UK using both advanced data science and Earth Observation techniques.

We are looking for outstanding candidates from environmental science, maths, physics, engineering and computer science disciplines.

SENSE will fund 50 PhD students, providing them with stipend, residential training, fieldwork funds and covering all fees for 3-years and 9-months. Our students will obtain a PhD from the University of Edinburgh or the University of Leeds, and your certificate will recognise the exceptional training you received as part of SENSE, and will feature the logos of the four core institutions involved in this training: the Universities of Edinburgh, Leeds, the National Oceanography Centre and the British Antarctic Survey.


  • You will receive training and supervision from world-leading Earth Observation scientists with expertise across environmental sciences and satellite platforms.
  • You will be located in excellent UK research institutions, based in either the University of Edinburgh, the University of Leeds, the National Oceanography Center (NOC) or the British Antarctic Survey (BAS).
  • Our comprehensive residential training programme provides all 1st year PhD students with specially designed expert training in Earth Observation systems and techniques, coupled climate models, and advanced data science methods.
  • 2nd and 3rd year students will benefit from specialist workshops, hackathons and training at the Harwell innovation centre (1 week residential course), the European Space Agency (1 week workshop in ESRIN), and The Alan Turing Institute. This includes industry engagement, training in science communication and outreach, big data analysis and storage, and for our 4th years specific training in entrepreneurship & Intellectual Property.
  • Every PhD student will have the opportunity to collaborate closely with the space and environmental science industry, through CASE partnerships and 3-month funded industry placements.
  • Every student will have the opportunity to work closely with international space agencies, including ESA, DLR and NASA, with study visits available for students.
  • You will have access to the best facilities, including the UK’s super-computers, and technical support and training to make the most of them.
  • Every Earth Observation CDT PhD student will benefit from a budget 15% greater than the average for funded PhD, through additional funding made available by our partners, the UK Space Agency and the Data-Driven Innovation Programme based in Edinburgh.
  • You will belong to a community of Earth Observation researchers who will provide mentoring, peer learning and support throughout your PhD.

Apply now

From October we will be advertising PhD projects for studentships starting in October 2022. Check here for details.


If you require any further information please contact Ruth Amey (Leeds Centre Manager, or Eleanor Graham (Edinburgh Centre Manager,