Interruptions and change of status

Research and event funding

Facilitating the timely completion of LISS DTP students’ awards/degrees is the responsibility of the LISS DTP team and has implications for the future funding our institutions can receive from the ESRC.  We understand that complications and changes in circumstances can arise during your studies.  Please get in touch with us as soon as you experience any problems or issues.  We will do our best to assist, drawing on support/guidance from staff at the institution where you are a registered student- either King’s College London, Queen Mary University of London or Imperial College London- to ensure that you receive information and support.

Institutional regulations

Sometimes you may need to check that any change to your study arrangements conforms with your home institution’s regulations as well as LISS/ESRC regulations. The following pages may help you to do this.

King’s College Documents and Regulations

Imperial College Success Guide

Imperial College Examination and Administration information

Queen Mary Research Degrees Office

Change to project details or change of supervisor

A condition of your award is that significant changes to the focus of your research need to be approved in advance by your supervisor and the LISS DTP team.  Such approval will not be given unless a clear justification is provided.  Only in the most exceptional circumstances can a radical change of topic or direction (and consequently a complete change of title) be approved for research when you hold a +3 studentship or have commenced the +3 phase of your 1+3 studentship.  The LISS DTP team will then undertake the changes necessary on your Je-S record or, if necessary, consult with the ESRC.

Any requested changes in supervision will need to be approved by your Head of Department, School or Faculty at the institution where you are based and the LISS DTP team must be informed of any changes so your Je-S record can be updated.

Termination or suspension of awards
Studentships are intended to be held on a continuous basis.  Sometimes, however, you may need to interrupt your studies, for example as a result of persistent health problems or those of dependants, or to take up the opportunity of temporary, short-term work such as an Internship or Secondment which can be justified as being highly relevant to your thesis or research training.   A suspension or interruption means that your stipend payments cease and are restarted when you resume your studies with the same amount of time remaining as when you stopped.  Your submission date is moved forward by an equivalent period.

Suspensions require supervisor and LISS DTP approval.  Suspensions can only be considered during the funded period of the studentship.  If you interrupt after your ESRC funding has finished a retroactive suspension cannot be considered.  In those instances, the LISS DTP team and the student’s institutional administration may consider an extension to the student’s submission date.

Suspensions can be approved provided that:

  • The period of suspension does not exceed one calendar year in any one instance.
  • Total periods of suspension do not exceed one calendar year during the lifetime of the award.
  • The student’s supervisor has given their permission for the student to suspend their studies. For CASE awards, the collaborative partner must also indicate their approval of any requested suspension period.
  • The student’s supervisor certifies that the suspension of studies will not delay the submission of the final thesis by more than the length of the suspension.
  • The request is made in advance; retrospective requests cannot be accepted.

Suspension of studies requests cannot be considered on the grounds of financial hardship.

Due to the nature of training received in the Masters year of a 1+3 award (and equivalent structures), suspensions should be for 12 months to allow the student to re-join the course at the same point at which they left it.

Ill Health
If  you are absent owing to illness for more than 13 weeks in any 12 month period the ESRC requires that you suspend.  (For illness of 13 weeks or less please see the section on Leave for Illness.)

The ESRC advises that the termination of a studentship should be a last resort and, when a student is identified as experiencing difficulty, every effort must be made by the supervisor and institutional authority to work with the student to enable successful completion of their studies.

ESRC funding is provided to support students undertaking a PhD and will normally cease on your submission date if you submit a doctoral thesis before the end of your studentship. However,  your stipend may continue until the end of the quarter in which you have submitted if you have an agreed programme of work related to your doctoral project which you propose to pursue.  You should present this proposed programme of work to the LISS DTP team in advance of submitting your thesis to obtain permission for it.

If you take up paid full-time employment before the end date of your award, your award must terminate on the date of appointment.  If an award is prematurely terminated for any reason, you must repay any monies including maintenance grant, fieldwork contribution, etc. overpaid to you.  All debts that arise as a result of overpayments, for whatever reason, must be actively pursued by LISS DTP.  All reclaimed monies must be returned to the training grant.  A studentship may be terminated, or its conditions varied, at any time, at the absolute discretion of the ESRC.

Transfers between part-time and full-time registration
A student may apply to transfer from full-time to part-time award status or vice versa.  Such transfers should start from the beginning of a quarter (eg. 1 October, 1 January, 1 April or 1 July).  The remaining length of your studentship will be recalculated on the basis of funding already received and your time commitment.
Permanent transfers(ie. for the remaining duration of your award):

  • Cannot be made in the last 6 months of your funded award period or unfunded period thereafter except in very exceptional circumstances.
  • Holders of collaborative (CASE) awards will require the agreement of their collaboration partner.
  • Should not be used to manage acute health problems where suspension of an award would be the appropriate course of action.
  • Can be considered where a change in domestic circumstances means that a dependent requires more of the award holder’s time or where the award holder wishes to take up part-time employment.

The ESRC expects that, barring exceptional circumstances, permanent transfers will occur only once in the lifetime of an award. The CV-19 pandemic counts as exceptional circumstances.

Change of status for part-time students for fixed periods (such as for the duration of your overseas fieldwork):

Must be arranged in consultation with the LISS DTP team.  Part-time students must take unpaid leave from their part-time jobs for the duration of the full-time transfer period and are subject to the same conditions on ‘other work’ as a full-time student for the duration of their transfer period.

Transfers of your studentship to partnerships/institutions outside of LISS DTP

Should you wish to transfer to another institution whilst retaining your ESRC award, please consult LISS DTP as soon as possible.  They make take 6 months to arrange.

Any transfers must be done with the agreement of all parties involved (original and new institutions and DTPs, and the ESRC) and require legal agreements to be drawn up. Whilst LISS DTP will always consider the case of a student wishing to transfer, it has no obligation to transfer your funding to another institution and complications arise where a student’s funding comes partly from the ESRC and partly from an institutional contribution. ( LISS DTP can tell you whether this applies to you.) Transfers between LISS DTP institutions are usually easier to arrange than transfers to other universities.

Permission to transfer a LISS DTP studentship must be obtained in advance from the ESRC . You are only allowed to transfer your ESRC studentship to other UK institutions that hold accredited DTCs/DTPs/CDTs (Doctoral Training Centres, Partnerships or Centres for Doctoral Training).  You must transfer to a DTC/DTP/CDT that can provide appropriate support for your research project.