Training/PhD Programme

SPITFIRE represents a world class multidisciplinary doctoral training environment.

Training philosophy

Future scientists face key challenges due to rapid changes in science-enabling new technologies and greater societal expectations of their role. Vast amounts of real time observations threaten to overwhelm scientists of the natural environment unless they are prepared with fit-for-purpose data management and analysis tools. There is also a societal imperative for scientists to be more fleet-of-foot and better able to engage with, and be more adept at, interacting with business, employers, policy makers, and the tax-paying public. Our strategic ambition is to develop and nurture the careers of our PhD students to meet these challenges.


SPITFIRE represents a bespoke student development programme that is informed by the Vitae Researcher Development Statement (RDS) and addresses NERC’s “Most Wanted Skills”. Delivery mechanisms are built experience of running a large diverse graduate school (GSNOCS). Throughout the programme emphasis is placed on employability and developing career and leadership skills

Training excellence within the DTP is built on:

  • the scientific excellence and expertise of our supervisors drawn from across the University of Southampton and hosting partners,
  • provision of a comprehensive development programme and structure, with innovative content,
  • opportunities for gaining wide ranging experience, including sea-going and field based research and international, industrial, commercial and policy placements within the extensive partnership,
  • robust mechanisms of supervision, monitoring and progression developed through ensuring active researcher and student involvement in the programme development, management and operation.

In addition to developing their own research project addressing a key current environmental problem, SPITFIRE students benefit from a range of development opportunities throughout the programme, commencing with the two week induction programme which will be undertaken by the whole cohort at the National Oceanography Centre campus in Southampton.