The Natural Environmental Research Council (NERC) announced in August 2013 their intention to support another new Postgraduate Centre of Doctoral Training (CDT) in Oil & Gas as an extension of the larger PhD scheme. The call was in the form of a competitive tender with the intention of awarding a single DTP in the field of Oil & Gas with 10 NERC-funded PhDs attached to it each year (30 in total over the next three years). Deadlines were short with Expressions of Interest (EoIs) required by early September and full bids submitted by early October.

Four teams submitted Expressions of Interest (led by Belfast, Cranfield, Heriot-Watt and Leeds respectively). Three eventually submitted full bids and were subject to rigorous review by a panel of experts, who also formed part of an interview panel that met to hear the presentations in Westminster on November 5th 2013. The following week it was announced that the Heriot-Watt University (HWU)-led partnership had met with NERC approval and full funding.