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AI for the study of Environmental Risks (AI4ER)

UKRI Centre for Doctoral Training

The guidance below is provided to help current AI4ER students identify available support and advice, and you are encouraged to raise any concerns that you may have at the earliest opportunity.  

If you need some support during your PhD then you can access help from many different sources across the University depending on what you need.  There are many people in the Cambridge system who will be able to assist you with personal and academic matters and grievances; your wellbeing is of primary importance for achieving success in this programme.  Your Advisor, College Tutor, Supervisor, Dept Administrators, the Programme Manager and all AI4ER programme staff will be able to provide advice and/or signposting to the relevant support networks that are available.

Overview of the student support


If you are going through any difficulties, which could range from personal, medical, financial or family issues, during the course of your studies you can contact any of the following:

  • College Tutor: can advise on your options and on any formal processes or procedures that may apply. 
  • Your College: has a number of support services dedicated to students e.g. wellbeing advocates, college nurse, college chaplain. 
  • AI4ER programme: you are welcome to discuss any issues with the Programme Administrator, Manager, or Directors who can signpost you on where to go for help and advice.
  • PhD supervisor / MRes supervisor / Advisor: can also offer advice or signposting to relevant support services.

University support services

Medical problems and disabilities 
Students with medical problems or disabilities are strongly advised to discuss such problems with their College and the  University Accessibility and Disability Resource Centre, who will offer advice and support for medical problems and disabilities. 

Personal difficulties 
Occasionally, students encounter personal difficulties, which could range from medical, financial or family issues, during the course of their studies. If you encounter such difficulties, you should inform your College Tutor as soon as possible. They can advise on your options and on any formal processes or procedures that may apply. Your College may also be able to provide you with other support (e.g. access to counselling services) and will have experience in dealing with many different issues. You are also welcome to discuss any difficulties with your Programme Manager or Advisor, who can offer advice or signposting to relevant support structures. The University Student Wellbeing website has links to many useful resources.

Caring responsibilities
The University is supportive of staff with caring responsibilities as well as those impacted by ill-health   or   those   that   are   disabled,   and   as   such   enables   flexible   working   and   career   break opportunities, along with a returning carers scheme. The University also provides support for students with caring responsibilities and has a student  maternity/paternity policy. You can find out more about the support available through the SPACE network: Supporting parents and carers at Cambridge.  The CDT will promote family-friendly working, including adhering to timetables that focus activity within “core” hours(~9:30am – 3:30pm) or otherwise choosing hours that are mutually convenient, and welcoming families to social events.

Harassment, bullying, discrimination or sexual misconduct
Students should expect never to experience harassment, bullying, discrimination or sexual misconduct. If you think that you have been subject to any of these, it is important that you seek support. Speak to your College Tutor, Counsellor or Nurse, use the University's Counselling Service, the independent Student Union Advice Service, or for sexual misconduct seek emotional and practical support from the Sexual Assault & Harassment Advisor. If you wish to raise a complaint about a University student or staff member please complete the harassment, bullying, discrimination and sexual misconduct reporting form and email it to

Supervisor issues
If you start to experience any difficulties in the relationship with your supervisor then we advise you to try and resolve them through communication. Having a discussion with your supervisor about expectations regarding frequency of meetings, preparation and receiving feedback can help to clarify each person’s expectations.  It may also be beneficial to re-visit the researcher code of practice and have a written agreement to refer to. If there is a breakdown in the supervisory relationship that cannot be resolved directly or you do not feel able to discuss the issues with your supervisor, there are various other people that you can go to for help. Some departments have graduate mediators, you can also speak with your graduate advisor, the departmental Postgraduate Administrator or the Director of Postgraduate Education. If you feel unable to raise your concerns within your department you could seek support and advice from your College Tutor, the Counselling Service or the Student Union Advice Service. We also encourage you to let the AI4ER Programme Manager know of any issues as soon as possible and you are also welcome to reach out to the programme’s Directors or Mentors who can signpost you on where to go for help and advice.

The University is currently trialling a mediation service for graduate students and supervisors. Mediation is facilitated by professionally trained mediators within the University, and usually takes one day. They are also able to offer facilitated conversations, if full mediation is not required. It is not necessary for a relationship to have completely broken down in order to access this service, the Mediation Service encourages intervention before things deteriorate further. Both student and supervisor need to agree to participate in mediation, however the department can assist with raising this with the supervisor if requested. To access the service, please email the Office for Student Conduct, Complaints and Appeals (OSCCA)

Should it not be possible to resolve any issue locally, the University has procedures in place for managing a range of student complaints ( ). 

If you are unhappy with the experience you have received from a University department, faculty, service or staff member, the University has a Student Complaint Procedure for you to use in order to try and resolve the situation. All complaints are treated seriously and are handled sensitively. 

We understand that it can be a stressful experience to submit a complaint, particularly when it is about an individual staff member. We recommend that you seek support and advice before submitting your complaint, depending on your circumstances this could be from a College Tutor, a Graduate Tutor, the Student Advice Service or other person of your choosing.

The Student Complaint Procedure requires a student to identify themselves so that a matter can be investigated and an effective remedy put in place.  However, there may be some circumstances where a student wishes to report something so that the University knows about it and can take action, but the student does not wish to be named and make a complaint.  In this circumstance, speak to your Tutor or email and they will chat through any available informal options.

You can also anonymously report any type of bullying, harassment or sexual misconduct to the University using the anonymous reporting tool, report +support; for students to make named reports about any inappropriate behaviour of other students or staff. The scheme has been established to make Cambridge a place where everyone can feel safe, access support and thrive.

"The University is committed to creating and maintaining a safe, welcoming and inclusive community which nurtures a culture of mutual respect and courtesy. There is no place for any form of bullying, harassment, discrimination, sexual misconduct, or victimisation in our community and each of us is responsible for the way we interact with and treat others".

If you are working at BAS you can also report misconduct anonymously via the Vault platform.

AI4ER Mentors for students
The CDT has created a mentorship scheme aimed at providing AI4ER students with additional pastoral support (beyond what is offered by college and centrally by the university). A total of 6 mentors have been appointed, all of whom are happy to be approached to provide such support. Thus, if you have any issues, concerns, or questions (i.e. pastoral care, including welfare, emotional support and well-being issues), then please get in contact with any one (or more) of them. 

We also place a strong emphasis on supporting career progression beyond the CDT and will provide advice and mentorship on this to students, linking to provision of the University Careers Service. We will also encourage our staff and students to participate in the Springboard programme, a personal development programme for all female staff/graduate students.

MRes Advisors and Supervisors 
All first year MRes students will have an Advisor. Individual meetings will be held at least once a term to provide advice and support in all aspects, including course and project selection, teaching support and general welfare. After the first year, this role will be assumed by your PhD supervisor in the Department you are based in for your PhD.
During the MRes project, you will also have the support of your project supervisor who can provide guidance on the day-to-day activities of your project.

Student representatives 
Four student representatives (reps) spanning the different cohorts will be nominated at the beginning of each academic year to attend relevant programme committee meetings and provide central feedback from the cohort. The student reps will also meet with the Programme Manager on a termly basis to provide any feedback and suggestions for the programme
2023 /2024 Student reps:
•    Owen Allemang – Teaching committee and first year PhD student rep
•    Jonathan Roberts- second year PhD student rep
•    Yilin Li- ED&I and third year student rep
•    Nina Baranduin - MRes student rep

Difficulties with the programme 
We realise that Cambridge can be a daunting environment and occasionally you may struggle with some aspect of the programme. If you are at all concerned that this is the case, you should speak with your Advisor or the Programme Manager, at the earliest opportunity.  You may also wish to consult your College Tutor at this time. All programme staff are available to help; even if you want a quick chat, please do reach out to us.