Deadline for Co-Funded & Collaborative Studentships extended

The deadline for submitting an application for a Co-Funded & Collaborative Studentship via FluidReview has now been extended to the 20th of April 2020.

Please note, that this announcement concerns only students who have been invited by their division/department to complete a full application to the UBEL DTP via FluidReview. Internal deadlines for each Studentship have already passed.

Next round of OIVs suspended

At UBEL, the health and safety of our students are of the utmost importance to us. In light of the current situation of the COVID-19 outbreak, official advice is to avoid non-essential travel.

Because OIVs are not deemed essential to the success of a studentship, nor is it deemed essential travel, we have decided to suspend the next round of OIV funding.

As this is an ongoing situation, we will continue to update you on this matter via email, our website and Twitter account.

Please email us at ubel-dtp@ucl.ac.uk if you have any questions or concerns.

Coronavirus (Covid-19) update – A message from the Director

A message from the DTP Director Professor Li Wei

To all UBEL ESRC studentship holders,

The fast-changing situation regarding COVID-19 is impacting significantly on all of us as we have to adapt to living our lives in ways that were unimaginable even a few days ago. No doubt that the impact will evolve and increase over the coming weeks and months. Your health and safety are of paramount concern to us as a DTP. We urge you to follow the guidelines and advice from Public Health England: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/coronavirus-covid-19-list-of-guidance, and the specific guidance by the university where you are registered. General guidance on the impact of COVID-19 on research community from ESRC can be found here: https://www.ukri.org/news/coronavirus-impact-on-ukri-supported-research/

We recognise that some of you will not be able to complete your overseas fieldwork as planned, and working from home may impact on the progress of your PhD. If your planned completion date is within the next 3-6 months but you are unable to progress as much you intended to, please discuss it urgently with your supervisor and your university’s registry to explore the possibility of an extension. Once you have had an agreed, revised timetable, please get in touch with us so that we can keep your record updated.

Anyone with interrupted overseas fieldwork or interrupted progress, please also discuss with your supervisor to explore an alternative approach or a revised timetable.

In both cases, we are very happy to discuss the implications for your studentship with you.

Under the circumstances, we have been advised to suspend further awards for overseas fieldwork and international institutional visits.

Please stay safe and stay connected.

Impact of Coronavirus on UKRI-supported research

Please read carefully the ESRC guidance. Last updated on 23 March 2020.

The ongoing situation regarding coronavirus has significantly impacted the research and innovation community. The nature of these impacts will evolve and increase over the coming weeks and months.

UKRI Chief Executive Professor Sir Mark Walport said:  “During the coronavirus pandemic, UKRI has two priorities: the safety and wellbeing of our workforce and, as far as possible, the continuation of our business as a national funder of research and innovation.

“We will work with our communities, institutions and other funding organisations to understand and respond to the impacts of coronavirus, helping to develop the necessary support to mitigate these.

“This work has already begun and will continue in the coming weeks and months, and we will provide regular, updated information. Thank you in advance for working with us to support the research and innovation systems we are proud of and that have a key role to play in responding to the global pandemic.”

Chief Executive of UK Research and Innovation, Professor Sir Mark Walport, has written today (19 March) to Tim Bradshaw, Chief Executive of the Russell Group, in response to the organisation’s letter to UKRI yesterday (18 March). To read the letter please click here (PDF, 32KB).

Information for institutions/grant holders/applicants

There will clearly be major impacts of the coronavirus pandemic on all existing awards from UKRI. We will work with the many institutions affected to understand the full extent of the issues and we will discuss these with the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy and other government departments.

We are planning that UKRI funding programmes will continue, but we will work to identify any impacts on specific calls or research disciplines.  Our funding systems – Je-S, IFS and _connect – are operating as normal.  We will review our call deadlines and, if required, extend or reopen calls in light of the impact of coronavirus. This will be considered on a case-by-case basis by the appropriate Council or fund. We will continue to receive and decide quickly on grants relevant to the management and follow-up of the coronavirus pandemic.

‘No-cost’ extension requests to grants impacted by coronavirus will be allowed.

Research Excellence Framework (REF)

The REF team has written to heads of institutions to outline the UK higher education funding bodies’ current position in relation to contingency planning for coronavirus for the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021.

Training Grants/Students

We recognise that students may find themselves unable to complete essential tasks and/or experiments in order to be ready to submit their thesis, for example due to departmental or institution closures. To avoid unnecessary pressure on students, extensions to submission dates should be awarded.

We recognise that extensions to submission dates due to COVID-19 will be reflected in Research Organisations future submission data. Student health and wellbeing should be the priority during this unprecedented and uncertain time and no penalties will be applied to Research Organisations as a result of COVID-19 extensions.

UKRI Training Grants Specific Guidance

UKRI is taking a pragmatic approach to supporting students during this time and below we cover what we expect will be the most common impacts on students.

Self-isolation

  • Where a student is ill, you should follow the standard T&Cs. For the purposes of the T&Cs, UKRI will accept any revised Government guidance regarding medical certification
  • Where students are not ill, but self-isolating, you should not suspend their studentship.
  • In many cases students will be able to work from home even if the activities undertaken change. For short periods of self-isolation, even if they cannot work, many students will have sufficient time left that they can make this up over the remainder of their doctorate. In these cases, extensions to funded periods should not be applied.
  • Where self-isolating undermines a student’s ability to finish their doctorate within the funded period, an extension should be considered. In keeping with UKRI T&Cs, we would expect these to be costed extensions, funded in the first instance from any underspend on the grant. Where there is no underspend, UKRI will reconcile this at the FES stage and increase grant cash limits appropriately. Examples (not exhaustive) of when an extension may need to be applied include:
  • A significant period of self-isolation (we do not define significant as this is likely to be proportional to the time left in the funded period)
  • Postponement of critical activities where alternatives are not available. Examples could include:  experiments due to take place at a national/international facility which will delay the research for a significant amount of time; access to critical archives being unavailable for a significant period

Events/activities

  • In some cases, an activity (such as a conference or training course) due to be attended before the training grant end date will be postponed until after the grant end date. Providing the student can/wants to attend the new date please request a grant extension in the usual way. We will apply a no-cost extension to the grant to allow them to attend. To confirm (recognising it is most likely to be outside the student’s funded period as well), as an exception we will allow the cost of attending this activity to be drawn from the grant even though it is beyond the student’s funded period.
  • In some cases, the individual student’s funded period will be breached by a postponement, but not the training grant end date. In these cases, UKRI will not apply a grant extension as this is unnecessary. However, we will allow the cost of attending this activity to be drawn from the grant even though it is beyond the student’s funded period. We will not cover any other costs outside the funding period as per our usual T&Cs.

We realise that the situation is fast moving and that this guidance may need to be updated as the situation develops.

Travel

Where travel is impacted, if researchers or students cannot travel due to government/official advice, or it poses a risk to the individual (due to an underlying medical condition etc.), this can be charged to the grant in line with any other cost. If that cost cannot be absorbed by any overall underspend on the grant then UKRI will cover that small addition.

UKRI offices

Following updated government advice, UKRI’s office based staff are being advised to work from home where possible. If you need to contact one of our teams please do so via email and/or mobile phones in the usual way. If you are due to visit one of our office locations, institutes/research establishments or Catapult for a pre-arranged meeting, please contact the relevant team before setting off. We have contingency plans in place to prioritise our core operations but there will inevitably be some disruption in the short-term as we adapt to the new working circumstances so, please bear with us.

General

UKRI is working to understand the nature of any impacts on our funded projects as the situation evolves.  This work is ongoing. Thank you to all those who have helped us identify potential issues so far.

Further information will still be provided through your established relationships, such as programme or grants teams, and we will provide further updates via our website.

Source ESRC website: https://www.ukri.org/news/coronavirus-impact-on-ukri-supported-research/

Internship Opportunities at the Royal Institution

The Royal Institution (Ri) currently has the following placement opportunities for ESRC-funded PhD students:

Digital Media – Three internships available to join the Ri’s creative team of media producers and digital communication professionals for a 3-month placement to gain experience of digital media and science communication. There will be three different start dates to cover the period from April 2020 to December/January and there may be flexibility for the right candidate.

The interns will focus on creating, shaping and developing the Ri’s science engagement and heritage content, helping to manage its digital channels and working as part of the Ri’s new website project team.

The closing date for receipt of applications is midnight on Monday 16 March 2020.

Digital Media Intern Job Description

Education Programmes Assistant – One internship available to join the Ri’s Schools Programme for a 3-month placement to gain experience of education outreach and science communication. The internship is from May to July 2020.

The Education Programme Assistant will lead on the evaluation of the Ri’s Science in Schools programme and will be a key member of the outreach team assisting with the development and roll out of the Ri’s new Science in Schools show.

The closing date for receipt of applications is 9.00am on Tuesday 24 March 2020.

Education Programmes Intern Job Description

More information about these programmes can be found on the Ri website here:

https://www.rigb.org/about/work-with-us/programme-placements/phd-internships