How will the union support those PGRs who have been adversely affected by COVID-19 (lab closures, innappropriate working conditions, lack of access to facilities or field work, etc) but are not covered by the UKRI paid extension scheme? Many PGRs who are not in their last year have still had a significant amount of their PhD ripped away from them and could be considering the feasability of delivering their PhD without some form of extension.
Thank you for your submission, the Union are here to lobby the university to prevent such issues impacting students. I have spoken to the University with regards to your concerns who have highlighted the additional support being offered to PGRs in these exceptional times.
Firstly, if you feel that your work is/has been impacted in any way and you require an extension you can always apply for one though your Faculty's standard process:
Secondly, in April 2020, UKRI created a funded extension scheme for students they fund, and those whose funding ends on or before 31st of March 2021. Eligible students have already been surveyed, this was done late spring and early summer.
In response the University worked to produce a comparable funding extension scheme for its students NOT funded by UKRI. The University's COVID-19 Doctoral Research Student Funding Extension Scheme was put in place on 8th July 2020:
"There are broadly 3 categories of funded extension possibilities:
1) Doctoral research students in receipt of funding from the University of Southampton which ends before 31st March 2021 and whose thesis submission date can be demonstrated to have been significantly impacted by COVID-19, may apply for up to six months of funding extensions for payment of fees and stipend.
2) Doctoral research students in receipt of funding which ends before 31st March 2021 and whose thesis submission date can be demonstrated to have been significantly impacted by COVID-19, may apply for up to six months of funding extensions for fees and stipend. The University of Southampton will then contact the external funder on behalf of the student to ascertain if they are prepared to fund the extension.
3) Self-funded doctoral research students whose funding or candidature ends which ends before 31st March 2021 and whose thesis submission date can be demonstrated to have been significantly impacted by COVID-19, may apply for a waiver of tuition fees for up to six months. If these students require additional funding for living costs, they may make an application to the hardship fund."
Students in nominal registration do not pay fees. Unless they spend longer than 6 months in that status, then there is a one off payment. It has already been found that such students have completed their research and data collection, and a draft thesis is completed to a degree. They are able to apply for candidate extension if their progress has been delayed due to COVID-19, under the normal University processes.
Lastly, "ALL Doctoral students have been asked to maintain an impact log of COVID on their thesis:.
This can be produced as a record for any future extension application (funded or unfunded)."
This information was communicated to all PGRs and Staff, with postings on Sussed, on the Doctoral College COVID page:
(Please note: The University is awaiting a UKRI review of their funding extension scheme before making decisions about extensions for students whose funding/candidature ends after the 31st of March 2021)
If you still have any questions please feel free to submit another response. If you would like to discuss this further then please contact me directly here: email@example.com
VP Education and Democracy
Monday 28th Sep 2020 11:50am