Statistics and questionnaires

Research organisations are required to provide STFC with annual data regarding the submission of doctoral theses by, and completion rates of, research students whose awards have ended. Where a thesis has not been submitted, the student must submit a final report on the objectives of the research undertaken, and the extent to which these have been attained. In such cases the supervisor is also required to complete an accompanying final report on the student’s progress.

Additionally, research organisations are required to provide data regarding the first employment of STFC supported students. The data will be collected by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) on an annual basis on behalf of STFC.

Reporting on Researchfish

STFC is regularly asked by the government to demonstrate the impact of their funding, including the impact of supporting studentships. To ensure that we can continue to make a good case for student support to the government, we collect ‘outcomes’ information from studentship funding (such as publications and collaborations) via Researchfish, the research councils’ harmonised research outcomes collection system.

An STFC -funded student is responsible for providing information about the outcomes from their studentship. They will be invited to enter and submit data to Researchfish every year until three years after their studentship has finished (since many outcomes occur towards or past the end of the studentship). They should make sure their contact details are kept up to date for this purpose.

While no sanctions are currently intended for students who do not provide research outcomes information, the research councils will be monitoring overall response rates and institutional response rates may be a factor in considering future training grant support.

Submission of a PhD thesis

The writing up of the results of a research studentship in a PhD thesis is considered an effective measure of whether the student’s training has been satisfactorily completed.

STFC considers it normal practice for a student to complete a PhD, including the presentation of a thesis, within the period of the studentship award.

Student Survey

The STFC Education, Training and Careers Committee is keen to gain feedback from students on their experience of the training provided by universities. As a result, STFC PhD students are invited to complete an annual online survey which seeks their views on their experience and skills development during their PhD.

The next survey will be available for completion by all STFC PhD students in February 2024.

You can read the analysis of responses to the questionnaires from 2019 to 2023.

You can read about older results from surveys dating back to 2002 on our page in the UK Government Web Archive.

Career path tracking

STFC is keen to track the careers of its former PhD students and from time to time undertakes detailed studies of the career paths followed by students several years after their PhDs have been completed. Such studies inform policy decisions affecting STFC’s studentships and fellowships programmes.

STFC maintains a database of its former PhD students for the purpose of contacting them to seek their assistance with future career path studies.

Research organisations are encouraged to register their student data with the Information Commissioner in a way that will allow it to be released for career path tracking exercises, as this will provide additional help to STFC in tracing former PhD students.

Last updated: 27 July 2023

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