EPSRC NPIF training grants support studentships that contribute to the delivery of Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund areas. Funding to support NPIF studentships has been allocated.

EPSRC NPIF

Studentship extensions

If your studentship is funded by one of the following EPSRC NPIF training grants, you may be eligible for a studentship extension

  • EP/R512540/1 (NPIF 2017)
  • EP/S515085/1 (NPIF 2018)

A studentship extension may be available to students whose research has been impacted by COVID-19 and who are unable to mitigate the impact or adjust their projects to complete on time.  While the majority of students earlier in their studies will be able to mitigate the impact of COVID-19, in some cases this might not be possible, for example due to caring responsibilities following school closures.

The priority remains for students to adapt and adjust research projects to mitigate the delays caused by COVID-19, where possible, to complete their research to a doctoral standard within their original funding period.  This could mean adapting the research question, approach, or methodology, providing that this still enables the student to conduct a doctoral level research project. For some students this could result in their research project being different from that originally proposed. New students should develop their projects from the outset with any future restrictions and limitations in mind.  The focus of supporting extensions is to provide the additional time a student requires to complete their revised doctoral research project.  Extensions are not intended to cover ‘time lost’ due to COVID-19, but rather to address circumstances where, even with adjustments and mitigation, the student will be unable to complete their doctoral research within the funding period.

Eligibility

You may be eligible to apply for a <3 month extension through this process if you (1) are within the last 6 months of your PhD studentship end date, (2) are funded by an EPSRC DTP, NPIF or iCASE institutional award and (3) met the following criteria for either a ‘First extension request’ or ‘Second extension request’:

First extension request

If you have not previously received an extension to your PhD studentship through the Phase 1 or Phase 2 UKRI extension process, you may be eligible for an extension if you have experienced one or more of the following criteria:

  • Significant disruption to progress due to:
    • Lack of access to research resources and facilities
    • Interruption of data collections and/or off-campus field work (in the UK or abroad)
    • Increased caring responsibilities
    • Health and wellbeing concerns
  • Deficiency of local environment such that remote working is not possible or of very poor quality e.g. difficulty accessing technology, a quiet space to work, or time to dedicate to study
  • Additional support needs that made mitigating the delays of COVID-19 or sufficiently adjusting the project to complete within the existing funding period more difficult. This might include, but is not limited to, students affected by disability, neurodiversity, long-term illness

Second extension request

If you have already received an extension through the Phase 1 or Phase 2 UKRI extension process or had an earlier request turned down, you may be eligible to apply for an extension in exceptional circumstances.  Exceptional circumstances include: 

  • Increased caring responsibilities
  • Where the studentship relies on undertaking work at an external/overseas facility/location and there is no alternative way to get data
  • Where the student has additional support requirements/caring responsibilities, as well as e.g. lack of access to facilities, that necessitate longer extension than standard to achieve completion of doctoral project
  • Where the studentship involves animal research and COVID-19 interruptions have set back breeding etc. as well as ability to gather data
  • Where the studentship requires recruitment of clinical trial participants that was impossible to achieve during COVID-19
  • Where COVID-related delays to equipment repairs/delivery have prevented required data collection, exacerbating other COVID-related disruption

How to apply

To apply, students must complete a Qualtrics form.  Students are encouraged to contact their supervisor and department as early as possible to discuss their intention to apply for an extension, as extension requests will require their support (see next point).  Applications must include a letter of support from the studentship supervisor and host department using this Extension letter of support template.  The application process will remain open until further notice.  Applications can be submitted at any time; there is no closing date.  Applicants should take care when preparing their Qualtrics submission, as once a form is submitted, it cannot be amended or recalled and will be taken forwards as the final version for review.

Applications will be reviewed on a regular basis and outcomes will be announced directly to the student, copying the supervisor.  The intention is to provide outcomes no later than 3 months before studentship end date (this is contingent on when the extension request is received).  Departmental representatives will be informed of outcomes separately and will be asked to update JeS as needed.

Further information