The ARIES mission is: ‘to train PhD students with excellent potential from across society, equipping them with the necessary skills to become 21st Century Scientists: leaders in the science and sustainable business of the natural environment’.

We will train scientists to better understand and manage our planet by:

– Developing multiple cohorts of students with advanced skills and knowledge, multidisciplinary outlooks, and potential to operate successfully across all postgraduate careers;

– Assembling a diverse and integrated training partnership that enables students to address priority topics in environmental sciences through cutting-edge, world-leading research;

– Training all our students to understand modern methods of data management, interrogation, analysis and presentation, from bioinformatics to artificial intelligence;

– Ensuring our graduates engage with interfaces between science and societal needs by growing their ability to achieve non-academic impact and effective public engagement.

Linking to our vision of the 21st century scientist, the whole-cohort training events will focus on 5 skill areas:

– Developing understanding and skills in the management and use of big data

– Impact, innovation and engagement in commercial and non-commercial environments

– Development of multidisciplinarity, including awareness of the wider NERC remit and an understanding of social science and translating research into policy and government

– Transferrable skills training

– Completion, careers and employability

ARIES PGRs are managed in cohorts. Our commitment to develop a cohesive and supportive working group will be facilitated through four weeks of mandatory whole-cohort residential training bringing together the whole cohort to learn, socialise, and work collectively across disciplinary divides. The four weeks of training doesn’t occur in a single block, but is spread throughout your PhD, with training delivered at appropriate points during your studies:

Year 1


The induction will take place within your first few weeks as a PGR.  You’ll need to attend your University induction(s), and then the whole ARIES cohort will usually meet together at Hautbois Activity Centre in North Norfolk for an introduction to what it means to be an ARIES PGR, how to approach a PhD, and where your PhD could take you. You’ll learn about the context of NERC research, gain skills and learn about tools to help you move forward into your postgraduate studies. There will be plenty of opportunity to socialise with your ARIES cohort and take part in various activities – this is where you’ll begin to build your cohort of peer support.

Winter School

In the Winter of your first year you’ll have the opportunity to learn about communicating your research in a safe environment. You’ll also take time to think about wellbeing, time management, and good research practises.

Summer School

The final whole-cohort event of the first year is a Summer School, usually at the University of East Anglia. This is a week packed with practical courses and visiting speakers to help you explore multidisciplinarity, learn how to communicate your research to different audiences, and think about and plan for the next steps of your career.  The Summer School also gives you an opportunity to meet and socialise with students from other cohorts.

Year 2

Advanced Skills Training

In your second year you are really knuckling-down to your PhD research, so ARIES cohort training is limited to the CADA Symposium (see below) and access to appropriate Advanced Skills Short Courses.

Year 3

Summer School

As you approach the end of your third year your thoughts will be turning to the completion and culmination of your PhD research. Your final Summer School is usually hosted at the University of East Anglia during the same week as the Year 1 Summer School which gives you the opportunity to meet and impart your hard-won experience to the first years.  During your Summer School you’ll learn about communicating research outcomes, effective writing, maximising impact, and planning ahead for your career.

The CADA Symposium (all cohorts)

The C-CLEAR-ARIES Doctoral Alliance (CADA) Symposium is an annual two-day symposium in which ARIES students join with the Cambridge University C-CLEAR DTP to present their work either orally or through a poster, and take part in joint training activities. Past training has involved Infohackit, CSAP and Media Skills training.