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Covid-19 funding support for doctoral students

Whether you're in receipt of a funded studentship, are self-funded or are working part-time to fund your research, this is the support available to you.

Regardless of whether you are funded or not, you will no doubt have questions about the support that is available to you to help you mitigate some of the disruption caused by COVID-19. The answers to these questions are likely to vary depending upon your funding arrangements and your personal circumstances, and you may be better contacting the Doctoral College at doctoralcollege@bath.ac.uk to ask for more tailored guidance. However, the following general guidance may be a useful place to start.

Summary of options

Option Description Notes
Funded extension to UKRI studentship If you are funded by UKRI, there have been various funding calls designed to enable you to access a funded extension to your studentship. Not automatic – must make a case.
Funded extension to University studentship If you are funded by the University, there have been various funding calls designed to enable you to access a funded extension to your studentship. Not automatic – calls currently closed.
Funding support for those unable to access a funded extension through other sources If you have been unable to apply for a funded extension from other sources, you may be eligible to apply to the Research England funding call. Not automatic – must make a case.
Research Interruption scheme (Covid-19) - Fee-free period If your data collection has been delayed by COVID-19 and you want an agreed fee-free period, equivalent to that lost due to Covid, you can apply to this scheme. Form to complete. Not available to students who qualify for other support
3-month fee-free extension of registration Available to all doctoral students Applies at end of registration period – which may be a year after funding has ended, but students can make a case for it to be applied sooner
Suspension of studies Provides a temporary halt to your studies (and any fee payments for that period). Time lost to studies is effectively added to your end of registration / submission deadline Funded students would not receive their stipends during this period. Not normally possible for Tier4 visa-holders (see latest Student Immigration guidance).
Transfer to writing up If you have completed your minimum period of study, and the data collection phase of your research, you could transfer to writing up status (with the approval of your supervisor), which would incur a lower fee. Continuation fee (£624 p.a.) - minimum supervision and access to the Library. Admin fee (£104 p.a.) - no longer require supervision and access to the Library. Students on Tier 4 visas can only switch to a Continuation fee.
University Hardship Fund For those experiencing financial difficulty who are unable to meet basic or unexpected additional costs from other sources of support, and for those who have experienced a change in financial circumstances due to unforeseen events Cannot be used for tuition fee payments
Further possible sources of support See below for further information about support from the Alumni team, seeking support from external sponsors, the UK government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), opportunities for flexible remote working, securing teaching income, paid work and other UK government support.
  • If you are funded by more than one source (e.g. UKRI and industry, UKRI and University), you will need to review the guidance below and select the parts that are most relevant to your funding circumstances. If you are still unsure contact the Doctoral College.

Funded extension to UKRI studentship

This section is for those who are funded by UKRI or are funded by other sources but are part of a CDT or DTP cohort.

If you are recorded on Je-S (UKRI’s Joint Electronic Submission system) as being funded by, or associated with, one of the UK Research Councils, please read this UKRI guidance for applicants, students and award-holders impacted by the pandemic.

If you are unsure whether you are recorded on Je-S, please email the Doctoral College at doctoralcollege@bath.ac.uk

  • Phase 1 UKRI funding extensions were aimed at students in their final year of funding (with a funding end date between 1 March 2020 and 31 March 2021). The University received funds from UKRI for those students and the Studentships team have made extension payments to successful applicants. This is closed.
  • Phase 2 UKRI funding extensions were for students who started before 1 March 2020 and whose funding end date was from 1 April 2021. These additional funds were available for funding extensions to help those “who have been unable to mitigate delays of COVID-19 or adjust their projects.” Phase 2 funding was given to universities rather than individual training grant holders (e.g., CDTs) to allocate, and the university issued a funding call which culminated on 30 March 2021 with all successful applicants for Phase 2 funding being notified. This is closed.
  • Phase 3: UKRI have indicated that individual training grant holders will have greater flexibility to support students whose research has been impacted by COVID-19. Not all training grant holders will be in a position to exercise this greater flexibility, but if you have not received support through the Phase 1 or Phase 2 calls, or if you require additional support, you should talk to your training grant holder (e.g., your centre for doctoral training (CDT) or doctoral training partnership (DTP)) to see whether they are able to provide you with support. This is open.

Funded extension to University studentship

This section is for those who have received studentship funding from the University (URSA) or Alumni and are not part of a CDT or DTP cohort.

  • Phase 1: In September 2020, the University invited applications for funding extensions from those students whose funding was due to end between 1 March 2020 and 31 March 2021. Following a review of applications in November 2020 most of the students who had applied for a funding extension were allocated additional funds. This was Phase 1 of the additional funding made available by the University to the doctoral students it funds. This is closed.

  • Phase 2: The University made further funds available to support those students whose funding ends between 1 April 2021 and 31 March 2022, and announced a call for applications for University Phase 2 funding extensions. All students who might be eligible for a University Phase 2 funding extension were sent an email about the call in the week commencing 17 May. The deadline for applications was 12pm (midday) on 17 June 2021. Students who applied to this call were notified of the outcome by 23 July 2021. If you have any questions, please email doctoralcollege@bath.ac.uk. This is closed.

Funding support for those unable to access a funding extension

The University also has funds available to support funding extensions for those who have not been able to access funding support through other sources. These funds come from Research England, which has provided 'funding to English universities as a contribution to the work they are undertaking to support their postgraduate research (PGR) communities.' The University of Bath has decided that this additional funding should be used for an extension scheme for doctoral students who had not hitherto had an opportunity to apply for funding and whose registration will end before 30 September 2022. If you wish to apply for a Research England funding extension, please refer to our guidance document and application form. The deadline for applications to be received is 12pm (midday) on 29 July 2021. If you have any questions, please email doctoralcollege@bath.ac.uk.

Research Interruption Scheme (fee-free period)

On 24 September 2020 the University announced a new Research Interruption scheme (Covid-19) for those who have lost time using University resources due to Covid-19. With this scheme you are permitted access to labs or other facilities for an agreed fee-free period, equivalent to that lost due to Covid.

You must have completed your minimum period of study for the fee-free period to begin. If you haven’t done so at the time of applying, the fee-free period will be implemented once you have completed the minimum period. You will retain full access to all resources (including facilities such as Laboratories, which are not normally available when transferred to Writing-Up) without changing your status. Once that period is passed, you will either revert to paying full fees or transfer to Writing-Up, whichever is appropriate.

If approved, this arrangement can be put in place to take effect when your funding ends or, if you're self-funded, when the data collection phase of your programme would normally be complete.

You cannot apply for this scheme if you qualify for any other support. If you want to take advantage of this facility you'll need to apply and provide evidence to demonstrate that you cannot expect to benefit from other measures to mitigate the impact of the disruption on the progress of your active research. Your application will also need to include appropriate evidence of the nature and level of disruption experienced.

To apply, fill in this form and email it to your Doctoral College Administrator.

3-month fee-free extension to registration period

In June 2020, University Senate approved a proposal that all doctoral students should be given a 3-month fee free extension to their registration period, to help alleviate some of the impact of COVID-19. Many students have already had that extension applied and others will be able to take advantage of it as they approach the final year of their doctorate. In exceptional cases, the extension can be applied earlier than a student’s registration end date.

You do not need to apply for this extension to be applied, applied as you start your final year of registration but if you want to know more about how it can be used to help mitigate the disruption caused by COVID-19, or if you would like to make a case for it to be applied earlier, please contact your Doctoral College Administrator.

Suspension of studies

If you are unable to continue working at all such that you feel that you will need a suspension of studies or an extension of your registration period due to the disruption caused by the Covid-19 crisis, you should talk to your supervisor and contact the Doctoral College in the normal way. If you are receiving studentship funding, your studentship payments will stop during a suspension of studies after a period allowing for sick leave. If you are not in receipt of funding support, you will not be required to pay fees during a period of suspension.

If you would like to find out more about suspending your studies you can contact your Doctoral College Administrator, or see the guide to suspending your studies.

Transfer to writing up

If you have completed your minimum period of study, and the data collection phase of your research, you could transfer to writing up status (with the approval of your supervisor), which would incur a lower fee. You will ned to complete a form to request a change to writing up status. If you want to know more about this process, and what options are available to Home and Overseas students, you can contact your Doctoral College Administrator.

Hardship fund

If you are unsuccessful in applying for an extension to funding, or are for some other reason still experiencing financial issues, you should contact the University Hardship Fund, which is for those students who are experiencing financial difficulty and are unable to meet basic or unexpected additional costs from other sources of support, and for those who have experienced a change in financial circumstances due to unforeseen events. The Covid-19 non-furlough scheme hardship fund has now closed.

Further possible sources of support

When the student is funded by Alumni the Department of Development & Alumni Relations (DDAR) has been liaising with donors and supervisors on a case by case basis.

If you are funded by an external sponsor (i.e. but not by UKRI or the University), you should talk to your supervisor about contacting your specific sponsor(s) in the first instance, to see how they are responding to the situation and whether they can provide an extension to your funding. If you or your supervisor needs any advice on how to approach this discussion, please contact the Doctoral College at doctoralcollege@bath.ac.uk.

You can find information on other funders' web pages (e.g. Cancer Research UK’s page Coronavirus Information for grant holders, including students). However, the University’s Research & Innovation Services (RIS) has published the guidance received so far and it is worth checking regularly for any updates on your particular funder. The University’s Studentships Team is also closely monitoring the situation. You should also check on your own funder’s web pages, and revisit frequently in case of updates.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) has changed and will now run until 30 September 2021. You can read the latest information on the UK Government job retention scheme.

The University updated its guidance on furlough for hourly-paid and casual staff on 13 November. Where the page refers to staff, this includes students who are employed.

The University updates a page of Covid-19 research funding opportunities with details of opportunities from external funders related to the COVID-19 outbreak. You can also read our guide to flexible remote working for doctoral students (added on 20 May 2021), which may have opportunities suitable for you to supplement your income during this time.

If you are undertaking paid teaching work at the University, and you are reliant on that income, you should check with whoever you liaise with for your teaching within your department regarding equipment and software to enable you to teach online.

Depending on your research area, it may be worth checking for calls for paid work, sometimes to support action against Covid-19 e.g. there has been a call from Public Health England (PHE) to recruit lab-capable researchers to help with Covid-19 testing on short term contracts, and some students are engaging with the Royal United Hospital (RUH) in Bath.

Check the UK Government's guidance on Universal Credit and students.