COVID-19 Response

Please find below guidance on how UKRI and the NWSSDTP are responding to COVID-19. The guidance depends on your stage of funding, judged by your current studentship funding end date (including any prior suspensions/extensions that have moved your original studentship end date). If you are not sure what your current studentship funding end date is, please contact your nominated administrative contact.

The UKRI issued an open letter to UKRI-funded PhD Students in April and an Update on extensions for doctoral students impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic in August.

PhD Students in the First or Second Years of Funding

This covers students whose studentship funding end date is after the 31st March 2021 and whose work has been affected by the pandemic.

Following communications from UKRI on the 11th November 2020, we will be refreshing this page shortly with up-to-date information for first and second year students.

PhD Students in the Third Year of Funding

Students whose studentship funding end date is between 1st March 2020 and 31st March 2021, who have not submitted their doctoral thesis and whose work has been affected by the pandemic were eligible to apply for an extension to their funding. UKRI will be providing the NWSSDTP with additional funding to facilitate this.

UKRI were clear that this should not be an automatically applied funding extension and eligible students were accordingly asked to prepare (in consultation with their supervisors) a short description of the case for their extension, including how they and their research had been affected by the pandemic, and the additional time they thought they would need (up to a maximum of six months) to complete their doctoral work. For fees-only students, the extension only covers fees. For part-time students, the time scales and payments will be adjusted accordingly.

As this is a consistent policy across all UKRI-funded PhD students, the extension request process was coordinated by individual universities, not the NWSSDTP. However, NWSSDTP colleagues were involved in the process within each institution. This process was completed in May, and all candidates notified of the outcomes.

This funding is only to enable students to complete their doctoral work. It should not be used, for example, to provide additional resources to carry out more research beyond doctoral work or time for writing papers once doctoral work is complete. If students ultimately submit their thesis before or during the period of the extension, in line with current UKRI Training Grant Terms and Conditions, they will receive funding for the remaining quarter and then payment will cease.

PhD Students Whose Studentships Have Ended

PhD candidates whose studentship funding end date was before 1st March 2020 are not entitled to request a funded extension. However, no cost extensions to your submission date can be requested and you should follow your institution’s processes and policies on this.

Master’s Students

Our current understanding is that Master’s programmes have continued online and we hope that all our 1+3 and 2+2 students will be on track to complete their Master’s programmes and commence their PhDs in October. Please do get in touch to discuss further if this is not the case.

Thank you all very much for your patience during this time. If you have any queries regarding the above, contact Please bear in mind that the NWSSDTP Team is also being impacted by the repercussions of COVID-19, potentially resulting in some delays in response, and we will get back to queries as soon as we are able.

  • Posted 30th April 2020
  • Update 2nd September 2020
  • 2nd Update 12th November

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