To ask Her Majesty's Government what process they will use to decide the lengths of extension given to doctoral students funded by UK Research and Innovation; and how that process will take into account the level of uncertainty about the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic when determining the lengths of extension granted. [T]
19 May 2020
The Government is aware of the consequent pressures of the COVID-19 pandemic on doctoral students and their ability to complete work. This is a difficult time for all post graduate students, academic staff and researchers.
UKRI is continuing to engage with the higher education sector and have made sure that all doctoral students funded by UKRI will continue to be paid their stipend. On 9 April it was announced that it will offer a costed extension of up to six months for UKRI PhD students due to complete by 31 March 2021 whose study has been impacted by the pandemic. Those students not in their final year may be granted extensions on a case by case basis.
On 24 April, UKRI issued detailed guidance to universities on how the policy should be implemented. UKRI has outlined that universities must put in place processes that are based upon the principles of ensuring all UKRI doctoral students are supported to complete their projects and that they should be treated fairly, generously and sympathetically given the disruptions caused to research programmes and individual’s personal circumstances.
UKRI will continue to engage with the wider sector about the implementation of the extension and to identify and understand future impact. The extension will be reviewed in four months’ time to ensure that any further impacts to doctoral training are taken into account.