INSPIRE creates an innovative multi-disciplinary partnership for the effective training of scientists capable of taking on the global environmental challenges of the 21st century.

The Challenge

A knowledge-based economy can only maintain its position in a global society if it is at the forefront of scientific and technical expertise. Making informed responses and finding solutions to challenges as varied as climate change, natural hazards, biodiversity loss, energy generation and the search for strategic mineral resources relies on developing a supply of highly-qualified and well-educated young scientists and technologists. Simultaneously, new technologies and techniques are driving rapid expansions in environmental data generation. Effective management, processing and synthesis of this information will be both a major challenge and opportunity for 21st century environmental science.

Equipping the next generation of scientific leaders with the skills they will need to tackle these challenges is arguably the most important function of an environmental research organisation.

Sphere made up of multiple images from the SPITFIRE project in a jigsaw pattern

The INSPIRE Doctoral Training Partnership

To meet these challenges, the University of Southampton and hosting partners submitted a joint bid to NERC to create an innovative multi-disciplinary DTP: the Interdisciplinary Southampton Partnership for Investigators Researching the Environment ‘INSPIRE’.

As announced in October 2018, the INSPIRE DTP will receive £7M funding from NERC and, together with supporting co-funding across the University and hosting partners, aims to support a cohort of up to 30 students a year over each of the next five years. INSPIRE is equipping the next generation of environmental science leaders with the skills and knowledge they need to exploit and develop diverse new technologies (e.g., autonomous platforms, novel sensors, next-generation sequencing) and techniques (e.g., high-level numeracy, Big-Data handling, numerical modelling, crowd sourcing, bioinformatics, machine learning) and effectively apply these tools in tackling the key environmental science challenges of the future.

INSPIRE’s EDI Commitment

We recognise structural and long-standing issues with under-representation in postgraduate study at national and international levels. Here at Southampton we are taking action to increase the representation of our intake, to embed understanding of the needs of a diverse research community and to create a supportive and inclusive environment in all of our activities. Further details can be found in our EDI statement.