Multi-million pound project welcomes first cohort of PhD students

A multi-million pound collaboration between the University of Aberdeen and Queen's University Belfast welcomed its first cohort of students to an induction forum in Aberdeen earlier this month.

QUADRAT, (Queen’s University Belfast & University of Aberdeen Doctoral Research and Training) brings together the two university’s expertise in environmental research and excellent teaching centres to deliver a unique PhD opportunity for students working on topical environmental management issues across  Biological Sciences and Geosciences.

The first 20 PhD students to be recruited on to the programme received a warm welcome at the event, which combined their induction with a stakeholder discussion designed to determine how the project will progress for the second cohort over the eight year duration of this partnership QUADRAT will fund 100 PhD students.    

Held on Thursday, October 10, at the Seven Incorporated Trades in Aberdeen, the induction included comprehensive student training and workshops, intensive supervisor training, and networking with new and existing collaborative partners . The stakeholder forum  saw academics from both Universities come together with external collaborators, partners and stakeholders to establish the key environmental areas and issues in need of further research, and to discuss and develop how future projects can impact these important issues

Professor Graeme Paton, Head of the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Aberdeen, and Director of the QUADRAT DTP, said: “I was absolutely delighted to formally welcome the first cohort of PhD students to the QUADRAT project.

“The event provided the students with the ideal opportunity to meet the 40 supervisors who will play a key role in QUADRAT and also the chance to  get to know a variety of stakeholders who will play a pivotal part in shaping the future of the programme and the health of our climate and environment.

“QUADRAT is intended to be led by the needs of our stakeholders and to answer the real and ongoing environmental questions and challenges that need to be addressed, so their input is key. Our stakeholders are working hard to identify the areas that they feel need attention within their organisations, and are now working closely with our academics to design new PhD project titles. This is such an exciting collaboration to be involved in and I look forward to seeing how the projects will evolve over the years, and what impacts the students will bring to our community.”

QUADRAT received £5M from the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) to fund five cohorts each of 20 PhD students. For more information please visit: