SWBio DTP COVID-19 impact extension request policy

If you have questions in relation to the below, please contact the DTP Hub (swbio-dtp@bristol.ac.uk)

UKRI expectations

  • The priority remains for students to adapt and adjust research projects to mitigate the delays caused by COVID-19, where possible, to complete their research to a doctoral standard within their original funding period.
  • Funded extensions should be allocated on a needs-priority basis, for those who have been unable to mitigate delays of COVID-19 or adjust their projects.
  • This funding is not intended to cover ‘time lost’ due to COVID-19, but rather to address circumstances where, even with adjustments and mitigation, the student will be unable to complete their doctoral research within the funding period.
  • That the focus of supporting extensions is to provide the additional time an individual student requires to complete their revised doctoral research project.
  • All students and their supervisors should explore, if they have not already, what can be done to adapt their doctorate to ensure they can complete it within their funded period. This could mean adapting the research question, approach, or methodology, providing that this still enables the student to conduct a doctoral level research project. For some students this could result in their research project being different from that originally proposed.

Who is eligible?

All UKRI funded students whose research has significantly been impacted by COVID-19 and who are unable to mitigate the impact or adjust their projects to complete on time.

We recognise that student’s individual personal circumstances may mean they are less able to adapt their research in light of COVID-19 impacts and this will be taken into consideration by the panel.

We anticipate that the majority of students earlier in their studies (i.e. Cohort 2019 onwards) will be able to mitigate the impact of COVID-19. Very importantly, there is limited funding and understandably we want to ensure that students in most need can be supported.

Only under very exceptional circumstances will further requests from students who have previously submitted an extension request be considered.

What can I apply for?

Extension requests are expected to be for up to 3 months.

Only under very exceptional circumstances, and where funds are available, will longer extension requests be considered.

When can I apply?

An annual call will be circulated by the DTP Hub in February with a March deadline.   Extension requests are normally expected by both UKRI and universities to not take place until 6 months prior to the end of a studentship.  This is because it is considered that the success of mitigations and level of additional need can be most accurately assessed at this point.

Only under very exceptional circumstances will requests be considered more than 6 months before your submission end date.  For students whose submission end date is significantly beyond the standard September, we ask that you contact the DTP Hub to discuss further before submitting a request.  

Who do I apply to?

As a SWBio DTP student, you now need to apply though the DTP.  These funded extension requests are no longer managed through your registered university.

How do I apply?

You will be required to complete a short form that outlines how your PhD studies are significantly affected by COVID-19, your mitigation/adaption approaches, remaining critical research activities and justification of the time needed.

This is to complete your thesis to an adequate doctoral standard and not to be used to support additional research activities such as publications, attendance at conferences.

This will need to be approved by your main supervisor (where applicable also your Rothamsted supervisor / lead supervisor) and your academic annual progress monitoring panel.  Alongside the form you will need to include a project planning document for your remaining time (e.g. GANTT chart, schedule outline).

What are the expectations for an adequate doctoral standard thesis?

We ask that you refer to your registered university guidance on what is expected, as there is an emphasis on quality rather than the quantity of research undertaken, and you might have met this standard without completing all of the work originally planned.  Please note, universities have implemented the use of COVID-19 statements to accompany PhD submissions and this may be satisfactory to allow you to submit your thesis by your submission deadline.

Further UKRI COVID-19 information >> (refer to ‘support for students section’)