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Step by Step Application Process

The SENSE CDT is not currently accepting applications and is not recruiting for entry in 2024.

If you are interested in a PhD studentship the  E4 DTP at the University of Edinburgh and the Panorama DTP at Leeds are recruiting for entry in 2024.

You will also find a list of DTPs  and CDTs on the NERC website which may be recruiting for entry in 2024

If you are considering applying for a PhD you may find the following webinar useful

More information for applicants can be found on our ProjectsHow to Apply and dedicated FAQ webpages. You will also find additional resources such as How can a PhD help me with my career?

Application Support

Are you the first in your family to do a PhD? Are you from an under-represented group such as being Black, Asian or a minority ethnicity, disabled or from a disadvantaged socio-economic or alternative background? Do you need information about PhDs in general? Do you just need someone to put some questions to? If you need help with the application process, please get in touch and we can provide support The SENSE managers are not on the recruitment panels, so any questions can be asked with the confidence that it will have no effect on your application.

You can also watch our Applications Webinar here.

Step 1 

Look at the available projects, and select the project you are most interested in. We strongly encourage you to get in touch with the supervisor of the project you’re interested in.

You can only apply for one SENSE project, though if you are successful at the interview stage and this project has already been offered to another student, we will discuss with you if you are interested in any other projects.

For help in applying, please watch these videos and read the associated resources:

  1. How can a PhD help me with my career? and read the material from last year
  2. Support for applying for a PhD and read the resource

You can also view our webinars from last year on our YouTube channel.

Similar workshops will be run this year and we will be circulating details shortly on our social media 

Step 2 

Assemble your supporting documentation.

  • Standard CV (Curriculum Vitae) – this will be uploaded
  • Degree Certificates and Transcripts – these will be uploaded
  • Standard Personal Statement – this will be copied into the online application form
  • Proof of English Language – if necessary will be uploaded
  • Two References – see below for details.

All correspondence about your application will be via email please make sure that the email you use is one you check regularly and will not expire within the next 12 months.

Please state clearly on your documentation which project you are applying to.

Curriculum vitae (CV/resumé

An academic CV is like a regular CV with an emphasis on the academic/research experience and skills that you gained during your studies, professional experience or activities conducted in another context (e.g., as a volunteer or as a hobby). Make sure you also include technical skills which are relevant to a research environment (computational/programming skills, language etc.) Please include details of all your qualifications (undergraduate, postgraduate and school qualifications e.g. A Levels or Highers)

If you have not studied in the UK, you must include the UK equivalence of your qualifications on your CV using information from this link.

eg: I studied in the USA and achieved a GPA of 3.65 which equivalent to a UK 1st class honours

CVs must not exceed 2 pages. 

Transcripts and certificates of ALL degrees to date.
If you have not yet completed your current degree, you will need to send an official transcript of your results so far.

Personal Statement.

Please provide a personal statement indicating the project you are applying to and stating clearly

  • Why you are interested in your chosen project
  • What motivates you to pursue PhD study
  • What is your research experience and how does your skill set match the requirements for your chosen project. Please particularly detail any research, programming or Earth Observation experience.
  • Details of contact you have had with the lead project supervisor


Before we can give full consideration to your application, we will need a minimum of two strong references. If possible these would both be academic references, however we will also welcome references from roles in industry or internship. Referees should ideally be able to comment on your academic competence and suitability for the project so for instance a personal tutor, project supervisor or line manager from industry would be most suitable.

If you already have these references (which have to be signed, on headed paper and dated within the last two years) you can upload them with your application. Otherwise you need to give details of your referees on your application and we will request them prior to interview. 

  • We ask that academics are asked to write gender neutral references 

Please note that with your application you do not need to supply a research proposal however you should state clearly on your application and on any supporting documents you supply which project you are applying to.

Step 3

Applications should be submitted to the University of Edinburgh via the apply links below. Make sure you use the correct link for the project you are applying to. For each apply link please select:  3 years full time and select start date 8th January 2024. 

  • Implications of Arctic heat waves and fires on vegetation and the carbon budget#
  • Which factors control the regional distribution of air quality over Asia?
  • Did climate change cause the 2020 Stonehaven derailment?

Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences PhD | The University of Edinburgh

  • Temperature and heat stress in tropical forests

Applied and Computational Mathematics PhD | The University of Edinburgh

  • High-dimensional probabilistic dynamic models for global vegetation change and weather forecasting
  • Development and exploitation of a high-resolution sea level product in the coastal ocean

Statistics PhD | The University of Edinburgh

For a SENSE application you will need to complete sections:

1. New User Details – to allow access to the EUCLID admissions system 

 2. Personal – complete as required 

 3. Contact – complete as required 

4. Programme 

  • Personal Statement – please copy the text of your personal statement into this section
  • Relevant Knowledge/Training Skills – please add details of any skills relevant to the application
  • Research Topic – Please add the title of the PhD you are applying for 
  • Research Project – you do not have to give an outline of the project you are applying for therefore please use the Research Proposal upload field to upload your CV. 
  • Transfer from another institution – not applicable
  • Project Arrangements – indicate name of your proposed supervisor
  • Published Work – Please give details (title of article, journal, volume, year of publication).

5. Qualifications – please include all qualifications including those from high school ie A Levels/Highers

6. Employment (if applicable) please indicate any professional experience including internships. 

 7. Finance – for this section you do not need to give detail just include text ‘to be funded by SENSE CDT’. 

 8. Referees – if you already have references documents (which have to be signed, on headed paper and dated within the last two years) please upload these with your application. If you do not have these references please provide details and we will request them prior to interview. 

 9. Upload Documents – this section will allow you to upload supporting documents i.e. transcripts, references, English language documents, degree certificates etc.