SPITFIRE DTP Research Experience Placement Scheme 2018

The NERC Research Experience Placement (REP) scheme is aimed at addressing the shortage of individuals with quantitative skills coming into environmental science.

REPs provide an opportunity for undergraduate students in quantitative disciplines to engage in active research projects, enhancing their skills and gaining valuable experience of what it is like to be a postgraduate researcher in environmental sciences.

Placement Details

The SPITFIRE DTP is offering three 8-10 week placements across the Partnership to be taken over the summer period (17 June – 21 Sept 2018). REPs are open to undergraduate students from across the UK and include a stipend and limited research support funding for work on supervised staff‑defined research projects.


The REPs provide a minimum stipend of £200 per week over a minimum 8 week (maximum of 10 week) project duration, in addition to a Research and Training Support Grant (RTSG) of £500, the costs of which must be itemised and justified. Total funding for individual REPs will be capped at £2500 and any additional costs incurred by the host organisation must be met from within research budgets.

Summary of Responsibilities

Supervisors are responsible for:

  • Supervising the student throughout the course of the project;
  • Providing the appropriate training for the safe and successful completion of the project;
  • Ensuring adequate space and equipment is available to complete the project;
  • Arranging all necessary requirements for visiting student status within their organisation/department/AU/Faculty etc;
  • Providing a report back to the SPITFIRE DTP operational team before Friday, 19 October 2018

Students are responsible for:

  • Arranging their accommodation while in the placement;
  • Committing to engaging fully with the research project and maintain contact with the supervisor over the full term of the project;
  • Providing the REP Final Report back to the SPITFIRE DTP Team before Friday, 19 October 2018 (to be completed in conjunction with the Supervisor).

Application Process

Supervisors: Supervisors from across the SPITFIRE DTP partnership should submit their proposals electronically to spitfire@southampton.ac.uk using the Supervisor Proforma. Projects will be accepted up until 12 noon Friday, 30 March 2018.

Supervisors should clearly state the amount requested and the duration of the project.

Research Projects: Projects should:

  • Have a clearly defined objective
  • Be within the science remit of NERC: http://www.nerc.ac.uk/research/portfolio/remit/
  • Be suitable for a student with a background in a different discipline to sensibly complete within the timescale of the award
  • Include more than purely a computer/modelling component i.e. some element of fieldwork, data collection, activity to give an understanding of the wider context etc.
  • Give scope for thought and initiative on the part of the student and should not use the student as a general assistant
  • Be based at an eligible UK research organisation

Projects will be verified for their suitability by the SPITFIRE DTP Operational Team. Project Supervisors will be notified of proposal acceptance by Friday, 13 April 2018, with projects advertised on the SPITFIRE DTP website as soon as approved.

N.B. If your project is accepted, the main Supervisor or a representative must be available to evaluate the student applications/candidates between 21-31 May 2018.

Students: Students should submit a Student Proforma, a brief CV (no more than 2 pages) and transcripts or tutor statement indicating your mark profile to spitfire@southampton.ac.uk

 Project Titles

  1. Space weather impacts on the Antarctic middle atmosphere / Moffat-Griffin, Kavanagh
  2. Our Heritage and Future: Retreat of Antarctic sea ice / Sime
  3. Antarctic extreme temperature events and related meteorological patterns / Lu
  4. Exploiting high spatial resolution Radar time series to map land cover in Shimoga,  India / Gerard
  5. LANDWISE: LAND management in loW land catchments for Integrated flood risk reduction / Blake
  6. Opening the black box: the influence of environment on foraminiferal physiology / Foster
  7. Machine learning approaches to hydrological and agricultural forecasting for water and food security in Africa / Sheffield, Ramchurn
  8. Assessing Changes in Coastal Flooding / Haigh
  9. Role of Antarctic krill in promoting an efficient ocean carbon export / Manno

The deadline for student applications is 12 noon on Monday, 21 May 2018. Applicants who wish to be considered before a full list of project titles have been made available are welcome to submit an application early and update their list of chosen projects as these become available.

Students will be selected by the SPITFIRE DTP Operational Team and notified by Thursday, 31 May 2018.

Eligibility of Students: Selected students must meet all the following criteria to be eligible for the REP Scheme:

Student applicants must be:

  • studying for a degree in a quantitative discipline outside of NERC’s scientific remit (e.g. mathematics, statistics, computing, engineering, physics): http://www.nerc.ac.uk/research/portfolio/remit/
  • applying for a placement in a different department to their undergraduate degree
  • in the middle of their first degree (or integrated Masters) studies
  • expected to obtain a first or upper second class UK honours degree
  • eligible for subsequent NERC PhD funding (i.e., UK, EU or right to remain in the UK)


For any further information and guidance please contact spitfire@southampton.ac.uk.

Useful Downloads

REP Supervisor Proforma - Proposal

REP Student Proforma - Application

REP Final Report