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UKRI must provide more support to PhD students hit hard by Covid

12 November 2020 | last updated: 13 November 2020

UCU said it was not good enough for UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) to respond to Covid-19 difficulties by telling PhD students to complete their research within their funded period when it has a budget of £6bn.

The union was responding to UKRI's advice to PhD students that they should speak to their supervisor about adjusting projects to complete their PhD qualification within their funded period.

UCU general secretary Jo Grady said: 'PhD students have already faced huge difficulties continuing their research during the global pandemic. UKRI should be pulling out all the stops to support them, not asking them to make sure their projects are finished within their funded period.

'UKRI has a budget of £6bn, and its shoulders are much broader than the students who have been impacted by Covid-19, so it should be offering to extend funding periods for every student affected. UKRI's refusal do so will hit those from less affluent backgrounds hardest and could lead to more academics from marginalised groups leaving the sector.'

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