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Funding for Research 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.

RCUK has published the RCUK Training Grant Guide to complement the Terms and Conditions of Research Council Training Grants which came into effect for all new training grants from 1 February 2014 and across the seven Research Councils. These aim to provide clarity and consistency for Research Organisations (ROs).

Research Councils UK Doctoral Stipend Levels and Indicative Fees for 2017

  • National Minimum Doctoral Stipend for 2017/18 is £14,553
  • Research Councils UK Indicative Fee Level for 2017/18 is £4,195

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 2017/18 as £14,553.

The indicative fee level for 2017/18 will increase in line with the GDP deflator and this gives £4,195. 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.

Further information on funding for postgraduate research is available on the RCUK website. 

Disabled Students Allowance (DSA)

Research Councils UK (RCUK) Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSA) are intended to help with additional expenditure for the costs of study-related requirements that may be incurred as a result of disability, mental health problem or specific learning difficulty that means additional support is needed to undertake a Research Council funded studentship. The allowances can cover the cost of non-medical personal assistance, items of specialist equipment, extra travel costs and general expenses.

Research Organisations should undertake the assessment of need and provide costs for the student when they are required. Research Organisations will be able to claim back eligible costs at the end of the academic year by submitting a completed DSA claim form to the Research Councils by 31st October.

Students should contact the Disability Adviser or named contact on disability matters at their Research Organisation for advice.

The framework document here  provides information on Research Councils’ DSA.

For more information on Disabled Students Allowance please contact the Research Council that has funded the studentship via the email addresses listed here.

Useful links:

  • The Prospects website has a section on funding postgraduate study here
  • There are also commercial websites such as “Find a PhD”

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