PhD students have been advised to adjust their projects to finish them within their funded period, despite the impact of Covid-19, as announced by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).
UKRI, the national funding agency for science and research, has strongly advised that students talk to their supervisors about how they might still be able to finish their projects by their original funding deadline.
Professor Rory Duncan, UKRI Director of Talent and Skills, has said that adapting research projects because of the pandemic would not compromise the integrity or standard of students’ doctoral educations. They will also be making £19 million of funding available for students who find it most difficult to adapt, particularly those who are now entering their final year of research and those with care commitments, disabilities or long-term illnesses. A UKRI report has found that 92% of final year students have requested extensions of an average 4.6 months prior to this announcement.
This announcement has been negatively received by many students, who believe that there should have been more leniency in granting funded extensions and that it would be impossible to complete their research without more funding and time for research. There is also concern that this will disproportionately affect those from minority ethnic backgrounds and working class backgrounds, leading to the entrenchment of institutional inequality in academia for a generation.
The University of Southampton is working through the practicalities of the revised UKRI policy and awaiting further communication from UKRI regarding how to obtain the extra funding. More communications will be released on SUSSED as soon as possible.