Frequently Asked Questions

Admin

Am I covered by IC travel insurance?

IC has travel insurace for staff and students travelling on college business, see Admin and finance for more information.

Do I need to tell anyone if I am sick?

If you are ill or away for a week or more and it interrupts your studies then see Admin and finance for more information, otherwise no.

What happens if I need to interrupt my studies?

For information about interrupting your studies for example due to illness, a summer placement, extenuating circumstances see the Admin and finance page. (Concluded Feb 09.)

Can the transfer of IC undergrad to MPhil/PhD registered students be made any smoother?

Many IC undergraduate students have had difficulty in transferring to MPhil//PhD status. If this arises individuals need to approach the relevant administrative bodies themselves. Mark Sephton and Sam Delamaine are approaching the Registry to se e if the process can be streamlined. To help IC undergraduates with this it will be highlighted in correspondence with them that they should ensure that their conditions of offer are met by checking the online system before they start and if something is amiss raising the issue as early as possible. (Pending Feb 09.)

Finances

Is the 6 month additional funding offered by some funding agencies available to all?

First check your terms and conditions. For those on departmental funding: all students starting in the academic year 2008-09 and later have three years funding. For students starting prior to this: NERC funded students can apply for 6 months extra funding. Everyone else has three years funding. For those funded from elsewhere e.g. industrial funding, self-funded you will need to look at your terms and conditions. (Concluded Feb 09.)

What's happening with the writing up status?

The writing up form has now become obsolete. You now need to submit an “exam entry” form to qualify for the extra 6 month student status. When the exam entry form is submitted an invoice is automatically generated for £100. The department will cover this cost. If you have paid this fee then speak to Sam Delamaine who can organise reimbursement. This £100 is to cover administration costs. On payment you retain your student status (so are exempt from council tax, can have your student oyster card etc) and still have access to the library. (Concluded Feb 09)

Who should be contacted regarding expenses, pay, demonstrating payments etc?

See Admin and finance for more information. 

Communication about funding: who should you contact with funding enquiries and how is it best to disseminate this information?

First and foremost read your term and conditions. There are lots of different funding types in the department, it changes from year to year and is dependent on the funding bodies. If the funding is allocated by the department then any queries should be addressed to Mark Sephton or Sam Delamaine. If it is from the supervisor or another grant then approach them or relevant party.(Concluded  Feb 09.)

How is departmental funding allocated?

Results of survey of staff in the department indicated that the quality of the student should be the primary factor in determining which students are offered funding. The procedure is as follows: places are advertised, applications are received and a shortlist is determined; interviews are conducted and candidates are ranked. The top `n' applicants are offered a funded place in the department with `n' determined by the amount of funding available that year. The funding comes from four places - NERC, EPSRC, STFC and Janet Watson scholarships. The first three require the student to be working within their scientific remit and the Janet Watson scholarships are open for any scientific area.

Most research councils now provide a doctoral training grant, a lump sum, that the department divides into 3 year PhD stipends. For fairness, if one research council plays than another the department `tops-up' the stipend so that all PhD students receive the same amount of money. (Concluded Feb 09.)

Workplace

Are we really at 100% capacity? Why all the free desks?

Communication is the problem here. When you've finished if you can drop Sam Delamaine an email to let her know your desk is free that would be a great help and help the space to be used efficiently.

Could the PhD pigeon holes be placed somewhere more accessible and more secure?

Idea proposed: Move the PhD pigeon holes to one of the PhD offices, probably the second floor ones (more secure, only accesible t o PhD student traffice on a well-worn migratory path).

The idea has met with approval. PhD student mail can be found inside the swipe door to the level 2 PhD open-plan office. There are file hangers in each drawer marked up with each letter which will correspond to your surname. (Raised Nov 08, concluded March 09.)

The third floor meeting room is a fantastic facility, but is the only such space shared between 3 floors of PhD offices. Is it possible to cordon off similar "break out rooms" on the 2nd and 4th floor?

Idea proposed: Could the kitchenettes be cordoned off thereby providing an enclosed environment fo r lunch breaks, private phone conversations and quiet chats; and getting closer to compliance with Health and Safety for microwave use?

This query has been raised and unfortunately the answer is no, there is not enough space for this. (Raised July 09; Concluded Feb 09.)

May we have a microwave in the PhD kitchen areas?

Sorry, the answer is no due to Health and Safety reasons. (Concluded July 08.)

Who is now responsible for putting paper in the printer?

ICT if the printers are out of paper, call ICT on 49 000, the department no longer fills the printer with paper. (Concluded July 08.)

Sometimes people find it difficult to work in the PhD offices due to noise, what can be done?

A contract of etiquette is to be sent out to remind students that what may be fine for them may not be fine for all. Reminders is probably the best way to ensure this is maintained as people forget or don’t realise they are being noisy. If you have an ongoing problem please feel free to approach the GradSoc committee, Mark Sephton or Sam Delamaine to see if a solution can be reached. (Concluded Feb 09.)

New initiatives & GradSoc

Helping new PhD students find their way around IC

A 'First Day Survival guide' has been compiled by the ESE GradSoc to help new PhD students find their way around (the lingo, departmental systems and IC!). Especially useful with the first day 'Student welcomers' (for the October student in-take). (Concluded Sept 08.)

Socials - providing a platform for people to meet one another

GradSoc social evets are run at least once a term...come and meet fellow PhD research students. (Revised mission statement; concluded July 08.)

ESE GradSoc website

The ESE website has had an overhaul. We hope the updated content is both useful and easy to find. (Oct 08)

PhD Skill swap

The skills database has been updated . St udents are free to approach other students to help in their respective fields of knowledge. (Started Juloy 08, updated on an on going basis.)

PhD demonstrating opportunities

Where does one start to find demonstrating jobs when new to the department? The demonstrating database hopes to provide part of the solution advertising both your skills and desire to demonstrate to the lecturers. Hopefully there'll be a match! (Started July 08, updated on an on going basis.)

The online tracking system

This is a new system that will be in place for the start of the academic year 2009-10. It is being implemented to centralise things and make them more transparent. The contractor has been identified and will start work soon. It will include a series of tick boxes to mark milestones in the process e.g. initial plan of study, 6 monthly reports, transfer report, writing up status, as well as relevant forms for these and other matters e.g. interruption of studies form. Student and supervisors will have access to the students page and will be sent reminders before certain items are due. Provision for demonstrating skills to be included is to be considered. (Raised Feb 09, open)