PhD students outside the library at South Ken

The Doris Chen Award has been established through the generous support of the husband of the late Dr Doris Chen, the first woman mathematician on the regular faculty at the University of Hong Kong, much loved and respected by generations of undergraduates. Mr Shou-Lum Chen CBE was an alumnus and Honorary Fellow of Imperial. Their son, Professor William Chen, is a double-graduate of Imperial’s Department of Mathematics and is a former member of its academic staff.

The Doris Chen PhD Award

The Department will be provided with the flexibility to administer the award at its discretion, but within the confines of the general purpose of the award, as described in its mission statement. This way, the Department can ensure the award will benefit and reward as many – or as few – PhD students as it sees fit, and at a level it feels appropriate.  

Mobility Fund - up to £6,000 per year, divided among top candidates

One of the best ways a PhD student can expand their understanding of their chosen field is to be offered a different way of thinking about a topic or problem. This is most effectively achieved by embedding them for a period of time in a different academic culture. In such an environment, they will be open to new ways of considering their work, and will also put themselves forward for healthy criticism and honest critique – which is an effective way to accelerate learning and understanding. The fund will therefore provide travel and subsistence for a PhD student with exceptional potential to take their research to another university abroad.

Mobility Award Recipients

Reward Merit - £3,000 per year, divided among top candidates

At the discretion of the Postgraduate Research Committee (formed by four PhD Section Tutors + the Director of PG Studies), a part of the annual award will be granted as a one-off award for excellence. If the committee feels there is an opportunity to reward and incentivise truly outstanding students, an award of up to £1,000 would be seen as recognition of significant progress and achievement. The award will be based on merit after a formal assessment of their progress at the LSR milestone (completed between 18 and 24 months of study).

Merit Award Recipients

Hardship Fund

A small amount of the fund will be retained for providing financial support on an ad-hoc basis, whenever a situation arises in which a PhD student is in desperate and urgent financial strife. Such occasions are difficult to plan for, but at least one such situation usually occurs each year in which a student suffers from a drastic and immediate change of personal circumstances. 

Affected parties should contact the postgraduate administrator for instructions on how to apply. Applications will be assessed by two senior academic members of the PG Committee and materials submitted will be treated confidentially.

In response to the Covid pandemic, the College implemented a stipend extension policy and process to support students whose funders were not able to provide an extension to their stipend. This College scheme has now concluded. PhD students who continue to face significant disruption as a result of the pandemic are eligible to apply to the Hardship fund.