Figure: ARIES science & training drivers, themes, impacts, interactions
ARIES research and training themes: ARIES is built upon scientific excellence within five overlapping research themes, developed via planning sandpits: 1) Ecology and Biodiversity; 2) Marine, Atmospheric and Climate Science; 3) Geosciences, Resources and Environmental Risk; 4) Environmental Genomics and Microbiology; and 5) Agri-environments and Water. The five areas are structured to meet priorities arising from every terrestrial, marine, atmospheric and freshwater environment on planet Earth. They are broad subject/ecosystem-focussed research areas (1-3), evolutionary and microbial driving forces behind life and earth processes with core ‘omics technologies (4), and environmental science underpinning the supply of clean, safe and plentiful food, water and biomass (5). The Themes organise the ARIES Partnership into research areas where we combine scientific strength onto the current, emerging and future major challenges across NERC science, both within the UK and beyond.
Primarily, our Themes are structured so that ARIES addresses NERC’s Societal Challenges to: 1) benefit from natural resources, 2) build resilience to natural hazards; and 3) manage environmental change. Although organised into five interconnected domains, our ARIES Themes cover the whole of the NERC remit, overlapping with 11 of NERC’s 15 priority Research Areas.
In the UK, ARIES themes are designed to tackle major issues within almost every one of DEFRA’s 2018 goals in the UK’s ‘25 Year Environment Plan’, including: i) clean air; ii) clean and plentiful water; iii) thriving plants and wildlife; iv) reducing the risks of harm from environmental hazards; v) using resources from nature more sustainably and efficiently; vi) enhancing beauty, heritage and engagement with the natural environment; vii) mitigating and adapting to climate change; vii) minimising waste; viii) managing exposure to chemicals, and enhancing biosecurity. In parallel with the UK’s 25 Year Environment Plan, ARIES Themes will contribute to the UK’s Clean Growth Strategy, with a particular focus for research and training that contributes to ‘Enhancing the benefits and value of our natural resources’ over the lifetime, and beyond, of the ARIES DTP. Clean Growth is core to the UK’s overall Industrial Strategy, and the ARIES DTP will therefore be advancing science, and training scientists, that will help to lead these major UK ambitions.
Beyond the UK, ARIES Themes are also structured so that our PhD students gain training and experience of tackling globally-important issues and questions across more than half of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals for planet Earth. By training the next generation of environmental scientists within a DTP that is built upon world-class research excellence, we will contribute understanding, advancement and future leadership to the global challenges of i) Zero Hunger, ii) Clean Water and Sanitation, iii) Responsible Consumption and Production, iv) Climate Action, v) Life Below Water, and vi) Life on Land.