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Funding for research training

UK Research and Innovation funding for postgraduate research training goes directly to Doctoral Training Partnerships (DTPs) and Centre for Doctoral Training (CDTs) who then undertake the selection and recruitment of students. Prospective students should contact the DTP or CDT at which they wish to study. The DTP or CDT will be able to offer advice on what funding is available, eligibility and application guidance.

Details on each of the DTPs and CDTs can be found on the individual research council websites:

The former Research Councils UK published the RCUK Training Grant Guide to complement the Terms and Conditions of Research Council Training Grants which came into effect for all new training grants from 1 February 2014 across the seven research councils. These aim to provide clarity and consistency for Research Organisations (ROs). These documents can be found here.

Research Council Doctoral stipend levels and indicative fees for 2020

  • National Minimum Doctoral Stipend for 2020/21 is £15,285
  • Research Councils UK Indicative Fee Level for 2020/21 is £4,407

The minimum stipend will increase in line with the GDP deflator and this remains the start-point for determining minimum stipend levels and this gives the national minimum doctoral stipend for 2020/21 is £15,285.

The indicative fee level for 2020/21 will increase in line with the GDP deflator and this gives £4,407. For planning purposes, research organisations should note that whilst the GDP deflator remains the basis for determining indicative fee levels, it will remain under review.

While institutions are not regulated in terms of the fees they charge for postgraduate degree programmes, any difference between the Research Council fee-payment level and what an institution charges should not be met by the student. The agreement by an institution to host a Research Council studentship is a matter between the institution and the Research Council, and in no circumstances should the student be asked to meet any fee short-fall from their stipend, or receive less than the Research Council specified minimum stipend.

Research Council stipends are training awards and do not cover remuneration for duties which would reasonably be considered to constitute employment. Where students funded through Research Council training grants undertake demonstration or teaching, or other types of employment in an institution, they should be paid for this in addition to receiving the minimum Research Council Stipend.

For information: the UKRI minimum stipend for 2019/20 is £15,009. The indicative fee level is £4,327.

Eligibility for EU students starting in the 2020/21 academic year

The government has announced that EU nationals will remain eligible for research council studentships for the 2020/21 academic year on the same basis as is available at present (04 July 2019).

Disabled Students Allowance (DSA)

Disabled Students Allowances (DSA) are intended to help with additional expenditure for the costs of study-related requirements that may be incurred as a result of disability, mental health problems or specific learning difficulties that means additional support is needed to undertake a UK Research and Innovation funded studentship. The allowances can cover the cost of non-medical personal assistance, items of specialist equipment, extra travel costs and general expenses.

Research organisations should undertake the assessment of need and provide costs for the student when they are required. They will be able to claim back eligible costs at the end of the academic year by submitting a completed DSA claim form to the individual research councils by 31 October.

Students should contact the Disability Adviser or named contact on disability matters at their research organisation for advice.

The framework document (PDF, 668KB) provides information on the research councils’ DSA.

For more information on Disabled Students Allowance please contact the research council that has funded the studentship:

Contacts for Disabled Students Allowance (DSA) for individual Research Councils are detailed below:

AHRC: pso@ahrc.ac.uk 
BBSRC: gfmt@bbsrc.ac.uk
EPSRC: DSAClaims@epsrc.ac.uk 
ESRC: tdbpolicy@esrc.ac.uk
MRC: RFPD@headoffice.mrc.ac.uk
NERC: researchcareers@nerc.ac.uk
STFC: studentships@stfc.ac.uk

Useful links:

Policy Internships Scheme

The Policy Internships Scheme provides the opportunity for UK Research and Innovation funded PhD students to work for three months in one of a selected group of highly influential policy organisations.