Training and Impact

The Envision NERC DTP comprises six institutions led by Lancaster University. The DTP offers training and other development opportunities to help postgraduate research students foster and improve the skills required in their research and future careers.

The Envision Training Programme

Envision offer a suite of training opportunities for our students to attend. This training programme is designed to complement the training offered by our partner organisations to support our students in developing their personal and research skills.

The Envision training programme includes:

  • A 3-day residential welcome event for new starters with cohort building activities
  • Face-to-face courses and workshops
  • Online courses
  • Cohort building activities
  • Annual residential Envision conference

Cohort based training and support is key to the Envision approach. Although our students are dispersed around the country, we come together for training and events, and we maintain contact with our students through web-based services such as Moodle, email and social media. Maintaining peer contact with fellow Envision students provides a very wide network of support, both practical and research specific.

The Envision DTP provides students with:

  • A world-class multidisciplinary research training environment that includes supervisors working at the cutting-edge and world-class research platforms, this enables our students to develop excellent scientific, and transferable professional and leadership skills.
  • Broad research themes, with access to established researchers across a broad range of disciplines with a track record of research and postgraduate excellence.
  • Close ties with business and Research Institutes through our CASE partners, and networks.
  • The opportunity to gain employment experience either though a placement, a CASE project or through working in one of the three Research Institutes.
  • Multiple research organisations that complement each other and offer the potential for new science and collaborations, exposing students to different research cultures, a wide variety of supervisors, a depth of research excellence and training resources (including facilities and equipment) and a wider cohort of peers.

As a NERC funded DTP our training activities are mapped to the Researcher Development Framework (RDF). The RDF is a national initiative to promote the knowledge, behaviours and attributes of successful researchers. There are four domains that characterise what researchers need to develop and demonstrate for their career progression. These are:

  • Knowledge and intellectual abilities
  • Personal effectiveness
  • Research governance and organisation
  • Engagement, influence and impact

The Envision Training and Placement Officers, Catherine Baxendale and Sohila Raqib, along with the Envision partner Training Leads (listed on the Contact page) lead the Training Needs Assessment annual reviews and develop the Envision training programme on an annual basis.

Training Needs Assessment

Envision students complete an initial Training Needs Assessments (TNA) with their supervisory team within the first six weeks of starting their PhDs. The aim of this initial TNA is to identify generic and specific development needs and to generate a personal development plan to meet these needs. During the annual review process students revisit their TNA with their supervisory team to review all completed training and identify ongoing training needs. Where possible we try to adapt the Envision training programme to accommodate for training needs per cohort each year.


Placements into private, public and third sector organisations offer an excellent opportunity for students to gain new insight, skills and networks to support their personal development. Envision students are encouraged to apply for and complete a placement during their PhD. Placements can vary in nature, from working in a large industry research laboratory, with a small charity, consultancy, science communication or a policy placement. There is flexibility in terms of when, and how (e.g. a full-time block or part-time alongside their PhD) students can carry out their placement. Students can apply to the Envision placement fund to support their placement. You can read about previous placements in blog posts written by our students on the Student News page.

Envision Research & Training Colleges

The Envision DTP leads multidisciplinary training for NERC DTP students through an evolving range of ‘Envision Research & Training Colleges’. Building on the internationally recognised research and training excellence across Envision we have established 3 colleges that cover distinct areas that map directly onto NERC remits:

Soil and Sediment Science,

Forest Scienceand

Marine and Coastal Science.

Each college is distinct and offers Envision students (and others) the prospect of joining a range of discipline-specific cross-cohort training, impact, and networking events. The college activities have been developed and delivered by Envision partner research/training leaders. They are designed with PhD students to enable them to build their multidisciplinary profiles.