Postgraduate Education: Finance

Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy written question – answered on 12th February 2021.

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Photo of Chi Onwurah Chi Onwurah Shadow Minister (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy), Shadow Minister (Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the requests made by the NINE DTP postgraduate students in their letter of 15 January 2021 to UKRI on PHD funding extensions.

Photo of Amanda Solloway Amanda Solloway Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)

UKRI has made over £62 million of financial support available to students most impacted by the pandemic. It is estimated that this funding is available for up to 12,000 students. This is part of a wider package of support where UKRI has already taken significant measures through £180m in costed extensions for research grants, and £334m support for innovative businesses that help support others in the system and their careers, which benefits doctoral students through.

On the requests for additional funding support beyond this, we consider that any additional support to postgraduate researchers must be balanced with the need to support wider research and development funding, including existing commitments. UKRI have recently provided a update on its decision-making in providing support for the research system (Supporting students through the pandemic – UKRI).

I regularly meet with the Minister of State for Universities and with the CEO of UKRI, Professor Dame Ottoline Leyser, to monitor how the pandemic is affecting UKRI-funded PhD students and the wider research system. We will continue to monitor the impacts of COVID-19 and UKRI continues to listen and respond carefully.

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