This is a petition for SUSU to hold a Student Union Senate meeting on whether SUSU should lobby for an overhaul of the current UoS phase 2 extension scheme and campaign for funded 6-month extensions for all PhD students.
Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, postgraduate researchers (PGRs) have been campaigning for funded extensions accounting for the disruption the pandemic has had on our ability to complete our research.
Not enough money for PGRs
UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), who fund approximately half of all PhD students in the UK and whose decisions are often the benchmark for other funders, have not released adequate funds necessary to meet the real need of PGRs through the Covid-19 pandemic. The funding support offered so far falls short of what is needed to ensure PGRs can complete their research. For example, despite UKRI’s own research finding that 77% of funded PGRs required an extension averaging 5 months, for PGRs finishing after March 2021 they have only released funds for less than half of funded PGRs with a maximum extension of 3 months. Furthermore, central government has not released any additional funds for PGRs. A recent FOI revealed the regulator, The Office for Students, has not discussed PGRs at any meetings since before August 2020. Within UoS, higher education and wider society, PGRs are being left behind.
Flawed, discriminatory application process.
As a result of the lack of funding made available to support PGRs, UoS has created a highly competitive application process for funding extensions which is deeply flawed and discriminates against those with protected characteristics. The application process is causing huge stress for PGRs for what remains an inadequate amount of funding to complete our studies.
SUSU should take a campaigning stance on this issue which affects the majority if its PGR members.
We, the undersigned, call or a union senate meeting on this issue where the following motion will be discussed:
SUSU Resolves to:
· Support the Pandemic PGRs position that all PGRs studying during the pandemic should be entitled to access a 6-month funded extension, with further extensions available based on need.
· Campaign for both UKRI and the UK government to make more money available to support researchers, including PGRs, affected by the pandemic.
· Lobby UoS to immediately overhaul the current Phase II extension application system, including:
o Allowing PGRs to apply more than once for an extension if their first application is unsuccessful.
o A specific and measurable plan for how UoS will ensure fairness across application rounds, marginalised groups and research areas.
o To reduce the unnecessary burden of proof put upon PGRs to disclose trauma experienced during the pandemic by requesting the only the minimum evidence necessary.
· Lobby UoS to collate and publish the outcomes of the Phase II extension applications including the number of successful and rejected applications.
· Work collaboratively with the UCU to campaign for fair and equitable treatment of PGRs throughout the Covid-19 pandemic and beyond and support the UCU national campaign to have PGRs recognised as workers.
Number of signatures: 265 / 250
Opened: 19/03/2021 09:00
Closed: 26/03/2021 09:00
Created by: Rebecca Gardner