Friday 10 April 2020

Postgraduate research student email

Covid-19 PhD Funding Announcements

Dear Postgraduate Research Student

We are aware that the potential for adverse financial impact on postgraduate researchers caused by the COVID-19 pandemic is likely to be particularly acute. For some of you the pandemic may already have caused immediate financial hardship and some of you may be concerned that you may not have the funding to complete your research in one or two years’ time.

This is a complex area to understand the scale of impact because of the different funding models that exist. Some postgraduate research students are self-funded – possibly with a Student Loan, some of you have Department scholarships, some of you are sponsored by government agencies in your home country, and some of you by research funders in the UK or Europe.

The University of York is engaging with funders where we can, and we are also working through established mission groups such as the Russell Group and Universities UK to ensure that the needs of our postgraduate research community are understood and responded to.

A number of funders are now starting to respond to requests for Covid-19 support. Yesterday evening (Thursday 9 April) UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), which oversees the Research Councils, issued a statement to announce that they will provide an additional six months of funding to all UKRI-funded postgraduate researchers in their final year of study who have been affected by the pandemic. Other UKRI funded students will be able to apply for extensions in due course, and on a case-by-case basis:

We wanted to alert you to this new announcement from UKRI as soon as it was issued but it’s important to note that much of the detail of how this will work still requires clarification. We have contacted UKRI about this and we will write again next week with more specific information as soon as we receive any further updates.

The Wellcome Trust has also announced PhD extensions - six months for PhD candidates whose funding was due to end in 2020 and a three month extension for PhD candidates whose funding due to end in 2021:

If you are suffering immediate financial hardship, you can also apply to the Student Hardship Fund. This fund has been extended to include financial support for postgraduate researchers under examination. The limit of funding available to support those in their continuation period (‘writing up’) has been increased to £3000.

I recognise that the announcements from UKRI and The Wellcome Trust are only relevant to some the postgraduate research community at York. The University will continue to liaise with other UK and international funders to try to secure the financial support you need to successfully complete your research and your degree.

In these difficult times your first priority must be your health and safety and that of your loved ones. But please do also keep in touch with your supervisor as well - we want to know how you are being affected so we can understand what support is required.

Please bear with us as we continue to work through the detail of the implementation of the funding announcements made already. We will write again next week with further updates.

Best wishes


Professor T.W.C. Stoneham

Dean of the Graduate Research School