Applying for a Covid-19 related Extension

If you are an ESRC funded Doctoral Researcher with a funding end date after 31 March 2021, you are now eligible to apply for a funded extension to your studies by following the process below.

How to apply

All requests for Covid-19 related funding extensions must be made in advance by the award-holder using the WRDTP ESRC Covid-19 Related Studentship Extension Request Form.

You must read the guidance notes/FAQs below before completing the request form. You can preview a list of the required information for the request form by viewing the following file: WRDTP Covid-19 Related Extension Request Form Preview.

As part of the extension request you will be asked to upload a supporting statement. This should be a short description (no more than a page) of the case for the extension, including: how the student and research programme are affected by the pandemic; any reorientation of the research; and, the time needed to complete doctoral work. This should include your disruption log/research plans and supervisor supporting statement, combined in ONE PDF document.

When can I apply for an extension?

We have agreed with our management bodies that you will be able to apply to the WRDTP for a Covid-19 related extension to your funding six months before your funding end-date. You will apply direct to the WRDTP using this link

This application window is designed to allow us time to process your request, liaise with you if we need more information and then let your institution know our decision in a timely fashion.

What if the reason for my extension doesn’t match any of the given criteria?

The process outlined on this webpage is ONLY for Covid-19 related extensions. Any other leave requests (maternity, sickness which is not related to Covid-19 etc.) will be dealt with via normal institutional processes. You should contact your university’s WRDTP Link Administrator for further instructions if this applies.

Requests will be considered by the WRDTP due to Covid-19 related disruption for any of the reasons listed below:

  • Lack of access to research resources and facilities;
  • Interruption of data collection and/or fieldwork;
  • Increased caring responsibilities; 
  • Health and well-being.

How much time should I ask for?

In order to be eligible, requests for extensions must be proportionate to the impact of Covid-19 and take into account the amount of funded period remaining when the pandemic started to impact activities.

What information should I include in my extension request?

The process we have put in place is designed to be as fair as possible and to allow for consistent treatment of our students across the DTP. We have tried to design a process that is not overly onerous whilst ensuring that we can provide UKRI with any information it requires and staying in line with the principles provided by UKRI.  

When submitting your written statement try to ensure you only include information on one or more of the following impacts arising from Covid-19:

  • Lack of access to research resources and facilities;
  • Interruption of data and or fieldwork;
  • Increased caring responsibilities; 
  • Health and well-being.

If you are unsure about what to include please do contact enquiries@wrdtp.ac.uk to ask for advice on your submission. We are very happy to explain what kind of information is required so that your application is tailored to the relevant criteria. We would rather offer advice before you apply to ensure you provide the most appropriate information and to assuage any anxieties you might have. 

Who will be making the decision on extension requests?

Your extension request will be reviewed by the WRDTP Director and Manager and a small committee drawn from our management body, the Academic Quality Committee, who will represent our partner universities and ensure consistency in our decision-making. 

Please be assured that if we feel that your application does not fit with the criteria we will contact you to explain why, if appropriate offer advice on how to reframe your application and invite you to resubmit.  

We have been empowered by UKRI to review extension requests on a case-by-case basis. We have developed an extension process in consultation with all our partner HEIs, which is underpinned by the following principles:

  • All extension requests must be evidence based
  • Covid-19 related impact must occur within the student’s funded period
  • Extensions are exclusively for doctoral work

If I am granted an extension to my funding, will my PhD registration end date be extended automatically?

Whilst following this process may lead to your funding end date being extended it will not necessarily lead to an automatic extension of your registration date at your HEI. You will need to liaise with your institution directly to discuss your PhD registration.

Background

The process for applying for a Covid-19 related extension to your studies has been devised by the WRDTP, in accordance with the following guidelines issued by UKRI, requiring that we as a DTP:

  • Ensure all doctoral students are supported in completing their research projects to a doctoral level and are funded to do so
  • Treat all students fairly, using flexible, generous and inclusive processes that are sympathetic to the disruption caused to academic programmes and recognise the impact of the pandemic on individual personal circumstances of students

The latest UKRI guidance for doctoral researchers states:

  • Students and their supervisors should explore whether changes to the research project are possible and would reduce the length or need for an extension. This could mean adapting the research question, approach, or methodology providing that this still enables the student to conduct a doctoral-level research project.
  • Where a student is currently unable to conduct research, we would expect concentration on desk-based work at this time if possible. For example, conducting literature reviews that had been planned for later, draft thesis writing etc. We understand that this may be impacted by caring responsibilities and will become increasingly difficult as the duration of remote working increases. Supervisors should work with their students to keep the situation under review.
  • The priority for extensions is to provide support that enables students to complete their research projects. As the duration of disruption increases, it is unlikely that students will be able to fully replicate the originally proposed training experience. Whilst this may be disappointing, in these exceptional circumstances, the priority needs to be completing the doctoral research.

We have been empowered by UKRI to review extension requests on a case-by-case basis. We have developed an extension process in consultation with all our partner HEIs, which is underpinned by the following principles:

  • All extension requests must be evidence based
  • Covid-19 related impact must occur within the student’s funded period
  • Extensions are exclusively for doctoral work

Requests will be considered by the WRDTP due to Covid-19 related disruption for any of the reasons listed below:

  • Lack of access to research resources and facilities;
  • Interruption of data and or fieldwork;
  • Increased caring responsibilities; 
  • Health and well-being.