Thank you for writing to me about UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) funded studentship
Thank you for all the hard and important work that you and your colleagues at the Pirbright Institute undertake. I appreciate that this is an incredibly difficult time for students and researchers who have had to adjust to changing circumstances caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, and please be assured that I have been raising the concerns of students and academic/research staff in discussions with ministerial colleagues.
As I’m sure that you know, UKRI does not provide doctoral funding directly to students. Instead, it provides UK universities or other research organisations grants to cover the fees and living costs of postgraduate students. Each place a university offers as a result of this funding is called a studentship.
In April 2020, it was announced that UKRI were to offer a costed extension of up to six months for UKRI PhD students due to complete by 31 March 2021 whose study has been impacted by the pandemic. This included 6,334 of the 22,065 current UKRI-funded doctoral students. Those UKRI-funded students not in their final year were examined on a case by case basis and possibly granted an extension.
On the 11 November 2020, UKRI provided a further £19.1 million of funding to support students in earlier years, including disabled students, those with long-term illness, those who are neurodivergent, or those with caring responsibilities.
Together, these two interventions have meant that UKRI has made over £60 million of financial support available to students most impacted by the pandemic. It is estimated that this funding is available for up to 12,000 students.
For more information please see: https://www.ukri.org/apply-for-funding/
Whilst UKRI as the national funding agency for research and innovation has independence to deliver funding under the direction of the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), I will ensure that my ministerial colleagues are aware of the concerns you and others have raised with me, as I understand BEIS and UKRI are continuing to assess the impact of Covid-19 across all the research and innovation they fund.
Thank you again for writing to me.
With best wishes.
Jonathan Lord MP
Member of Parliament for Woking