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Postgraduate Training

Research Council funding for postgraduate research training goes directly to research organisations who then undertake the selection and recruitment of students. Prospective students seeking scholarships or bursaries for fees or stipend should contact the research organisation at which they wish to study. The research organisation will be able to offer advice on what funding is available, eligibility and application guidance.

Information on student funding is available from Research Councils’ websites:

Research Councils UK have developed a Joint Vision for Collaborative Training . These were enclosed in a Common Terminology  for our four different approaches to training.

Research Councils UK Doctoral Stipend Levels and Indicative Fees for 2015

National Minimum Doctoral Stipend for 2015/16 is £14,057
Research Councils UK Indicative Fee Level for 2015/16 is £4,052

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 2015/16 as £14,057.

The indicative fee level for 2015/16 will increase in line with the GDP deflator and this gives £4,052. 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.

International recruitment to Research Council studentships

Excellent research has an international dimension. The Research Councils fund many of the best UK research teams and individuals for whom research is an international endeavour.

World-class institutions attract, train and develop the very best students from the UK and around the world. International students contribute significantly to the output and reputation of these institutions.

PhD graduates who enter employment in the UK after their studentship can make a direct contribution to the UK economy. Those who leave the UK may act as catalysts forging long-term international links with the UK.

RCUK has adopted the following principles in relation to recruitment of non-UK domiciled candidates to Research Council funded studentships:

  1. Research Councils recognise the desirability of opening recruitment to attract the best international talent into excellent UK research and training environments – particularly in areas of skills shortage.
    A number of crucial research skills that are in short supply nationally have been identified by government, industry, the Research Councils and HEI community. Widening access to international candidates increases the opportunities for studentships to be recruited in areas where there is a shortage of UK strategic skills.

  2. The benefit to the UK of providing public funding to international students must be balanced against the availability of opportunities for UK-based graduates.
    The UK is extremely successful in attracting talented non-EU students. These students fund themselves, or are funded by their home nations or educational foundations and, in general, it is not in the UK national interest that this inward investment be displaced by public funding, potentially reducing funding opportunities for UK-based candidate.

These principles should enable the Research Councils to:

  • Attract the best PhD candidates to the UK.
  • Promote access for competitive UK students.
  • Give priority to scare strategic skills.
  • Demonstrate benefits for the UK.

Dorothy Hodgkin Postgraduate Awards

The Dorothy Hodgkin Postgraduate Awards (DHPA) brought outstanding students from India, China, Hong Kong, South Africa, Brazil, Russia and the developing world to come and study for PhDs in top rated UK research facilities. The scheme is now closed for new awards and a report from the 2010 review of the Dorothy Hodgkin Postgraduate Award scheme is available here


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