Cost of living: support for postgraduate research students


September 20th, 2022

Update from Professor Lucy Donaldson, Associate Pro-Vice-Chancellor for the Researcher Academy and Researcher Career Development

These are very challenging times for many members of our postgraduate research community. Just as we continue recovery from the pandemic, the cost of living crisis is bringing new pressures to many of you.

I am happy to reaffirm the university’s support for our valued PGR community and outline the help and resources available to you during this difficult time.

All eligible postgraduate research students (PGRs) starting or continuing their studies in 2022/23, who receive stipends from UKRI, the Leverhulme Trust, the Royal Society or through University of Nottingham-funded scholarships, will receive increased financial support from October 2022 to help combat the rising cost of living.

This commitment follows UK Research and Innovation’s announcement  that it is increasing its minimum student stipend for the 2022-23 academic year by 13% compared to the 2021-22 stipend. The Leverhulme Trust and the Royal Society have also increased their stipends for this year in line with UKRI.

This means that PGRs who receive UKRI minimum stipend support from the university, either through a UKRI training programme or a university-funded scholarship, will see an increase by £2,059 for 2022/23 compared to the 2021-22 rate.

We welcome UKRI’s initiative and I am delighted that Nottingham has also secured increased stipends for the PGRs funded by university scholarships.

We recognise that many of our postgraduate research community are concerned over rising bills and living costs and we have been liaising with the Russell Group and UKRI over the summer on how to address this. Our colleagues are now working very hard to process the revised payments that are due to you, to get these set up in time for October stipend payments.

Please be patient with us – revisions to the payment schedules for hundreds of individual PGRs across the university will take time. We’d therefore really appreciate it if you could first talk to your supervisors about any individual queries you might have about stipends.

We know that many self-funding PGRs and those with additional responsibilities or expenses who may not benefit from this support will also be facing financial difficulties. There are university hardship funds available for anyone struggling to make ends meet, including a childcare support fund. The online application for 2022/23 is not yet open so if you are in financial difficulties please contact the financial support team.

UKRI’s announcement on 2 September followed a review of the support it offers PGR students. The university is awaiting any additional information from UKRI on its revised support for postgraduate researchers and the New Deal for Postgraduate Research.

Please note that the level and availability of increased support may vary, for example for PGRs who receive enhanced stipends or for those who are not fully funded by the university.

The increase will not apply to stipend payments made to researchers by other external organisations or sources, such as industrial partners. In these cases we suggest that you discuss with your supervisors whether it is appropriate to inform your sponsor of the increase in stipend made by UKRI and the university.

Further support for our PGRs

If you have any concerns, in the first instance we encourage you to contact your supervisors or programme director.

The Researcher Academy,  Student Services and SU Advice also offer a range of support and guidance on wellbeing and the challenges of managing your PhD and life at Nottingham. We are working with Students’ Union officers to ensure that together we can provide the support you need.

Best wishes

Lucy

Professor Lucy Donaldson
Associate Pro-Vice-Chancellor for the Researcher Academy and Researcher Career Development

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