The UKRI (UK Research and Innovation), funding agency investing in Science and Research has increased the minimum stipend for the doctoral students. The increase in the PhD stipend will be applicable from the 2023-2024 academic session. There will be a 5% hike in the stipend from the previous amount £17,688 (INR 15,97,753 Lakh).
Melanie Welham, the UKRI’s people and culture champion, has stated that the postgraduate research training makes an important contribution to developing the expertise that underpins the country’s ambition to be a leading research and innovation nation.
Additionally, she has pointed out that the step to increase the stipend amount is a part of the UK’s long term goal to remain as one of the best places for postgraduate students from all backgrounds to undertake research training.
Win for the Postgraduate Researchers in the UK
The announcement of 5% increase for the UKRI PhD students welcomed by campaigners who demand support for the PhD students. Such as Alex Kirby-Reynolds and Ellie Munro, the co-leads of the University and College Union’s Postgraduate Researchers.
According to them, the UKRI’s decision to match the stipend rate for the upcoming academic session will provide relief to the PGRs who will be concerned about the income in the face of rising costs.
The stipend increase is a win against the Low Pay campaigners who demanded last summer that the UKRI should set up stipends in accordance with the up-to-date inflation figures. Moreover, the announcement has prompted other major funders and institutions to promise similar uplifts. For example, the Royal society, Cancer Research UK, Leverhulme Trust, and universities such as Sheffield Hallam University.
The UKRI Consultation for a New Deal for Postgraduate Researchers
The PGRs is released for the publication of an analysis of a consultation on the ‘new deal’. The new deal aims to improve the quality of postgraduate research training in the United Kingdom. The report carry by the Pye Tait Consulting on behalf of UKRI. The report showed that:
- 1/5th respondents is willing to accommodate part time and distance learners for the funding
- Many stated that 3 years of doctoral funding was not enough
- Concerns raised about the ‘one size fits all’ approach to funding. Hence, suggestions made to account personal circumstances such as disabilities, caring responsibilities, geographical location, and international students.
- Discussions made about classification of students as saff. The responders stated that such classification can improve the rights and condition of students who are pursuing PhD. It will provide them several benefits such as pensions, parental leave, sick pay, among others.
The consultation has resulted in UKRI’s decision to work with PhD researchers to arrive at a conclusion. The final response from the UKRI is expected before summer.
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