Flexibility for funders - EPSRC

There are a number of flexibilities afforded to the universities providing doctoral education using EPSRC training grants. A number of standard allowances are highlighted here, relevant to all students irrespective of scheme. Additional flexibilities or restrictions on allowances may apply to specific investments so the terms and conditions of the relevant training grant should be consulted.

Eligibility

For the majority of EPSRC funding for doctoral training, the standard UKRI eligibility requirements apply. The terms and conditions of training grants will confirm if this is the case, and if not, outline the eligibility requirements that apply.

UKRI has provided flexibility regarding these eligibility requirements, to attract the very best international students to train with leading research teams in the UK, to increase our global presence and influence. There is typically strong competition within universities to make use of this flexibility.

If you want to apply for a doctoral studentship and want to know whether the flexibility might be available for you, you must contact the university that is advertising the studentship. There is no route for prospective students to apply to EPSRC for a studentship.

The standard UKRI flexibility regarding eligibility is for up to 30% of the new students starting in a cohort. All training grant holders have been provided with guidance on how the 30% cap applies to the EPSRC schemes.

You can read the terms and conditions for studentships.

Reporting requirements for international students

To ensure effective monitoring, the institution will be required to identify and report these international students back to EPSRC through the Je-S Student Details as ‘International Doctoral Scholars (IDS) Grant’ by selecting:

  • Council: ‘EPSRC’
  • Document type: ‘Studentship Details’
  • Scheme: ’EPSRC International Doctoral Scholars- (IDS) Grant’.

The relevant training grant must be linked to the student record. The guidance available in the Je-S system and from the Je-S helpdesk provides further information. If you are entering a student for Industrial CASE if you select the Scheme (Category) “EPSRC International Doctoral Scholars – IDS Grant”, you are not required to indicate the Voucher Number within the Studentship Details document.

Doctoral qualifications

There are a number of doctoral qualifications, including PhDs. It is up to the university to decide which doctoral qualification students should be registered for, and ensure that students are able to meet any specific requirements that the qualification regulator has.

The Engineering Doctorate (EngD) is an alternative to the traditional PhD and may be offered by universities using EPSRC studentship funding. An EngD is a four-year programme which combines a level 8 (doctoral-level) research project with taught courses, and students spend about 75% of their time working directly with a company. While EPSRC has and continues to support these types of studentship through Centres for Doctoral training, individual EngD studentships can also be supported through Doctoral Training Partnership and ICASE funding, at the discretion of the university.

Co-funding

All EPSRC studentships can be co-funded (unless specific restrictions apply to the training grant), with 1-50% of studentships costs being provided by another funder.

One type of co-funding opportunity is a CASE conversion. Since 2009, EPSRC has set institutions in receipt of Doctoral Training Partnerships (or its predecessor) the target of converting 10% of its funds into CASE awards. These studentships are supported under the same terms as the Industrial CASE scheme.

Find out more about the Industrial CASE Scheme.

Studentship duration and support

Unless otherwise stated in the training grant terms and conditions, universities have the choice over studentship duration (between 3 and 4 years full time equivalent) and the stipend, fee, project, and training costs that the training grant will support.

Students and universities are also encouraged to review the UKRI training terms and conditions, and those of the specific investment, which will detail other types of support students have access to including DSA (Disabled Student Allowance), expectations on holiday entitlement, sick leave, and parental leave.

Vacation Internships

Up to 15 Vacation Internships per year can be awarded from a university’s DTP funding (averaged over the duration of the doctoral training grant). The internships are designed to give undergraduates an idea of what it is like to work as a researcher.

Find out more about Vacation Internships.

Doctoral Prize

The EPSRC Doctoral Prize helps universities retain and recruit the best doctoral students receiving EPSRC support to increase the impact of their doctorate, and to improve retention of the very best students in research careers.

Find out more about the Doctoral Prize.

Last updated: 15 November 2021

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