To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what guidance he is providing to universities on allowing PhD students whose projects have been affected by the covid-19 lockdown to apply for extensions to their funding.
23 November 2020
PhD students are funded from a variety of sources, whether that is a research funder, their host institution, or if they are self-funded. Government funds PhD students through UKRI, which funds around 25% of the total PhD population in the UK.
UKRI have already taken steps to support PhD extensions working to ensure that all the students it funds would continue to receive their maintenance stipend during the lockdown and would not have to suspend their studies. UKRI-funded students in receipt of a costed extension will continue to receive this stipend during their extension period. UKRI announced on 11 November £19m of further support, making a total of over £60m of financial support available to students most impacted by the pandemic.
We encourage all PhD students to discuss with their supervisors how projects can be adjusted to complete their doctoral education to a satisfactory standard. Decisions on extensions are the responsibility of individual funders, and we expect research institutions to act flexibly based on what funding is available. We will continue to monitor how the pandemic is affecting PhD students and the wider research system.