RTSG Top Up Scheme

If you are a WRDTP studentship holder, you are eligible to apply for RTSG Top Up funds once your annual RTSG allocation has been exhausted and if further funding is critical to the successful completion of your PhD. The allocation of funds is at the WRDTP’s discretion and the Academic Quality Committee (AQC) will oversee the process.

Eligibility and funding criteria

PhD students undertaking the +3 element of their award are eligible to apply for RTSG Top Up funding, which must be used prior to your funding end date.

The following categories of activities, items and equipment can be supported by RTSG Top Up funds:

  • Fieldwork that is conducted in the United Kingdom. Additional funding is available for award-holders undertaking fieldwork outside of the UK (OFE), for which separate arrangements are in place
  • Attending conferences, training courses, summers schools and other similar events
  • Undertaking language training courses prior to conducting fieldwork
  • Reimbursing interpreters, guides, assistants and informants that are assisting an award-holder’s fieldwork
  • Meeting the costs of conducting surveys and other data collection exercises, including printing and stationery
  • Purchasing small items of equipment and consumables, such as cameras, tape recorders, films and cassettes
  • Acquiring books and other materials not available through libraries
  • Obtaining laptops and other computer equipment, where this is assessed to be essential to the completion of the award-holder’s PhD and cannot be directly funded by the award-holder’s host department/school or other sources

Students in the Masters year of a 1+3/1+3.5 programme are eligible to request support for one-off costs relating to the following, via the RTSG Top Up scheme:

  • Participation and/or attendance at academic conferences
  • Attendance at external training events/workshops that will be of benefit in terms of developing research skills and expertise relevant to the PhD
RTSG Top Up applications from Masters students will require a support letter from the student’s supervisor. The WRDTP will be specifically looking for supervisors to confirm that engagement in the proposed activities (a) will not detract from the student’s involvement in the taught element of their MA programme, and (b) will be of clear benefit to the student’s PhD research. In relation to proposed training activities, the WRDTP expects the supervisor to confirm that the training is not substantively available on the MA programme or within the student’s home institution.

Students making an application to any of the WRDTP’s additional funding schemes will be asked to evidence their adherence to any relevant policies from their institution, by uploading the relevant documentation to the application form. This includes any relevant policies relating to the booking of travel and accommodation.  It is your responsibility to ensure that you adhere to the policies of your institution.  If you are unsure how to evidence this, please email enquiries@wrdtp.ac.uk prior to submitting your application

RTSG Top Up funds will not be used to fund activities, equipment and services that constitute part of the award-holder’s host institution’s core/basic provision for Doctoral Researchers.  Such core/basic provision, which all award-holders can expect to be directly met by their host department/school encompasses:

  • Basic IT provision, including access to desktop computing and printing.
  • Attending training events provided by WRDTP universities (these events are provided free of charge to award-holders).
  • Core books, texts and other reading materials.

Please note that applicants cannot request an allowance for subsistence costs , the WRDTP expects these costs to be covered by the student’s maintenance stipend.

In exceptional circumstances, institutions may consider requests from award holders to purchase a laptop or other computer equipment from this allowance.  Any such request must be clearly and adequately justified based on the nature of the research being undertaken and as being essential for the successful completion of your PhD.  In these instances, any equipment purchased in excess of £200 will remain in the custody of the WRDTP following completion of your award.

All applications for additional RTSG Top Up funding must be made on the basis of individual need in relation to the award-holder’s specific research and/or training requirements, and these must be articulated in their RTSG Top Up application.

How to apply

You must read the guidance above before completing the Google application form.

Students can preview a list of the application form questions by downloading the following file: WRDTP RTSG Top-Up Application Form Preview. An example (demonstrating best practice) of the costings document required as part of the application form (see item 1 below) can be viewed here.

All applications for additional RTSG Top-Up funding must be made in advance by the award-holder using the WRDTP RTSG Top-Up Application form

The form requires the following file uploads. Please use following nomenclature when uploading to the Google Form.

  4. (If travel is involved) Your institution’s necessary documentation for travel – e.g. approved risk assessment, travel insurance certificate etc (Section 1) – (STUDENT SURNAME_STUDENT FIRST NAME_RTSG_TOP UP_COVID DOCUMENTATION)

Within the Costings Upload Template award-holders are required to detail the amount of funds required and to explain why such funds are requested.  PhD applicants must be able to demonstrate that their standard RTSG has already been spent when applying for additional RTSG Top Up. Retrospective applications for funding will not be considered.

Award-holders must secure the support and authorisation of their main supervisor for their application, who must confirming the student’s need for the funding and that the student is making good progress.

Received applications are checked by the relevant Scholarships Officer to ensure they are eligible for funding, logged and then considered by the AQC. The WRDTP Office will notify the Scholarships Officer when a decision has been made as to their application.  In cases where an application has been declined the reason for such a decision will be outlined in the notification.


If you are seeking funding for travel, we expect the relevant documents (risk assessments, evidence of travel insurance) to be complete and provided at the point of submitting your funding application. Applications without the necessary paperwork will not be reviewed. If you have any questions about this, please email enquiries@wrdtp.ac.uk before submitting your application.*

WRDTP ESRC Funding Scheme Timescales

A call for applications will be made 4 times per annum, via the VIRE on the WRDTP website

Call Deadline AQC Panel
1 Friday 22 September 2023 Friday 3 November 2023 Thursday 9 November 2023
2 Friday 1 December 2023 Friday 26 January 2024 Friday 9 February 2024
3 Friday 8 March 2024 Friday 26 April 2024 Thursday 2 May 2024
4 Friday 10 May 2024 Friday 21 June 2024 Thursday 6 July 2023

*Panel decisions will be available no earlier than 10 working days after the panel sits.

If you are awarded funding from any of the ESRC schemes you agree to report back to the WRDTP on your experience either on the VIRE Forum, a DTP Matters Newsletter article or by speaking at training sessions/conferences. As a recipient of funding any correspondence or event materials should be appropriately branded, see our Branding Information page in the VIRE for details.

If you have any questions please email enquiries@wrdtp.ac.uk