Managing Your LISS DTP Studentship

The benefits and responsibilities of LISS DTP Studentships

Our handbook ‘Managing your LISS DTP Studentship’ provides explanations of the key rules of your studentship and how to access the full range of the benefits.  There are links to downloadable forms below to apply for funding opportunities and extensions during the course of your studies.  Some brief information about key rules is also below, with more detailed information in the handbook.

Our handbook is based on the Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC)’s Postgraduate Funding Guide. The LISS DTP team also take advice from the ESRC on any exceptional issues with relation to our funded students.

We are responsible for administering the ESRC grant that pays for your studentship and includes additional funds for training, opportunities during your award such as overseas institutional visits, internships and cohort development activities.  As part of this administration, we will have registered you on the Research Council UK’s database system, Je-S.  This record contains your personal contact details (which you should keep updated yourself by logging in with the password you created) and we also place additional information on this record to indicate the details of your award, including your award start and end date and your thesis submission deadline for ESRC monitoring purposes.

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 notify LISS DTP directly us as soon as you experience any problems or issues and do not rely on information reaching us from other parts of your university.  We will do our best to assist.

Most questions should be addressed to liss-dtp@kcl.ac.uk, but those relating to payments (stipends, RTSG, OIV etc) and institutional regulations should be directed as given under ‘Institutional Contacts’ below.

 

Questions, comments, suggestions or notifications regarding: LISS DTP contact
  • training and events
  • overseas fieldwork, overseas institutional visit, difficult language training, quantitative methods teaching preparation or internship extensions and funding
  • changes in mode, sickness, interruptions
  • ESRC submission deadlines
  • ESRC regulations

 

liss-dtp@kcl.ac.uk 
  • stipend payments
  • additional payments such as RTSG
  • fee payments

Home institutions handle payments and reimbursements so please contact your relevant administrator:

  • training provision by the home institution
  • degree regulations at the home institution

As a funded student, you are eligible to apply for Research Training Support Grant funds (RTSG).  This allowance is intended to be used to pay for expenses which you/your supervisor/your department/institution deem to be in direct support of your research.

Examples include:

  • UK fieldwork expenses
  • UK, EU and overseas conferences, training courses and summer schools
  • language training courses usually undertaken in the UK prior to an overseas fieldwork trip
  • reimbursement of interpreters, guides, assistants, participants
  • survey costs eg printing, stationery, telephone calls
  • purchase of small items of equipment eg cameras, recorders, films,
  • gifts for local informants
  • books and other reading material not available through libraries

Each student is able to apply for up to £750 per year of award over the course of their studentship; unused funds in one year can be carried to the next.  Students are encouraged to work out a budget for the lifetime of their studentship with their supervisor in the early stages of their award period and seek additional sources of funding where necessary.  RTSG budgets should be reviewed and updated on a regular basis.  It is the student’s responsibility to keep receipts and evidence of their spending and be able to produce them if called upon to do so for auditing purposes. Students should also inform LISS DTP if their plans change following award of RTSG funding. If you have questions about the eligibility of certain expenses, please contact us.

To apply for RTSG funds, you should complete the online form below.  Applications will be reviewed on the first working Monday of January, April, July and October each year. (For 2020 this will be the 6th of January, 6th April and 6th July and the 5th October). Decisions may take up to 2 weeks to announce, depending on volume of applications and it may take a further 2 weeks to arrange payment or reimbursement. 

Note for Queen Mary students: The Queen Mary travel and expenses policy states that all travel and accommodation must be booked via KeyTravel. Please go to the KeyTravel website (https://www.keytravel.com/uk) for a quote to accompany your application and email it to the QMUL LISS Administrator a.kamara@qmul.ac.uk who will arrange the purchase of your travel/accommodation using the LISS budget code and raise a Purchase order number which you send to KeyTravel to confirm your booking.

Queen Mary and Imperial students should contact their institutional LISS administrators (see Institutional Contacts above) if they have not received notification of outcomes within two weeks of the application review date, or payment within one month of the review dateKing’s students should contact liss-dtp@kcl.ac.uk . We handle a lot of  applications so please be specific about the date and  type of application you have made and the amount of money you are expecting.

The ESRC expect the RTSG funding it provides to be pooled for flexible use across funded students by LISS DTP.  RTSG funds can also be combined with the funds provided for overseas fieldwork.  In exceptional circumstances, LISS DTP may consider requests from students to purchase laptops or other computer equipment using this allowance.  Any such request must be clearly and adequately justified based on the nature of the research being undertaken and must be essential for the successful completion of the PhD.  In these instances, any equipment purchased in excess of £200 should remain in the custody of LISS DTP following completion of the award.

RTSG Expenses application form

Full-time students undertaking the doctoral element of their award are eligible to apply to LISS DTP for overseas fieldwork expenses.  Master’s students are not eligible to claim this allowance.  Part-time students can become eligible for an overseas fieldwork grant if they transfer for a fixed period to full-time status for the duration of the fieldwork.

Full-time ESRC studentship award holders undertaking the doctoral element of their award are able to make one claim for overseas fieldwork expenses in the life of the award.  Your proposed overseas fieldwork should have been outlined in the relevant section of your LISS DTP application and in your project summary.  However, if you and your supervisor decide that a fieldwork period would be valuable once you have started your studentship, please raise this as soon as possible with the LISS DTP Deputy Director, Training & Cohort Development- Linnaea.stockall@kcl.ac.uk

You must obtain approval for overseas fieldwork prior to undertaking it; retrospective claims for overseas fieldwork expenses cannot be consideredYou are strongly advised to submit your overseas fieldwork application a minimum of 3 months in advance of your proposed fieldwork start date.  We would generally expect to receive fieldwork funding applications in the period just before or after your upgrade from MPhil to PhD, when you doctoral project plans are reviewed and become more solidified.

If the Foreign and Commonwealth Office advises against visiting the country concerned, LISS DTP must not authorise payment of any contribution towards the fieldwork costs.  Any subsequent changes to fieldwork plans set out in your original application, such as length of stay or location, must be agreed by your supervisor and the LISS DTP Deputy Director, Training & Cohort Development.

Your overseas fieldwork can last for up to 12 months. If you can demonstrate a strong case for a visit longer than 12 months, fieldwork of up to a maximum of 18 months may be granted.  If you remain in the field for periods longer than have been formally agreed with your supervisor and LISS DTP’s Deputy Director, Training & Cohort Development, you will not be able to make retrospective claims for expenses or for extensions to the period of award/thesis submission date.

Overseas fieldwork must be an integral part of the PhD and take place during the life of the award. Studentships will not be extended to reflect periods in the field.  The overseas allowance does not cover the expenses of any family member accompanying the student.  The overseas allowance will not be increased to cover expenses incurred by the student whilst abroad.

Calculating the value of overseas fieldwork expenses:  The ESRC provides LISS DTP with a notional amount of fieldwork funding per student (£1575); however, not all funded students will need to undertake overseas fieldwork.  The actual allocation of funds towards fieldwork is at LISS DTP’s discretion, based on the funding available within the Doctoral Training Grant.  Given ESRC allocations and our current expectations about how many students will require overseas fieldwork for their projects, we anticipate that allocations for fieldwork could range up to £5000.  Once the allowance has been calculated, it is the student’s responsibility to manage the funds allocated.  If for any reason the fieldwork is abandoned or is unsuccessful and the student returns to the UK early, the fieldwork allowance less any reasonable expenditure already incurred, should be recovered.

To apply for overseas fieldwork funds, please complete the online form below (LISS DTP recommends a minimum of 3 months in advance of your proposed fieldwork start date). Applications will be reviewed on the first working Monday of January, April, July and October each year. (For 2020 this will be the 6th of January, 6th April and 6th July and the 5th October). Decisions may take up to 2 weeks to announce, depending on volume of applications – please contact liss-dtp@kcl.ac.uk if you have not heard within 2 weeks of the review date.  It may take a further 2 weeks to arrange payment or reimbursement.

Note for Queen Mary students: The Queen Mary travel and expenses policy states that all travel and accommodation must be booked via KeyTravel. Please go to the KeyTravel website (https://www.keytravel.com/uk) for a quote to accompany your application and email it to the QMUL LISS Administrator a.kamara@qmul.ac.uk who will arrange the purchase of your travel/accommodation using the LISS budget code and raise a Purchase order number which you send to KeyTravel to confirm your booking.

Queen Mary and Imperial students should contact their institutional LISS administrators (see Institutional Contacts table) about delays to payments or reimbursements.  King’s students should contact liss-dtp@kcl.ac.uk

Overseas Fieldwork funding application form

Extensions are additional periods of funded time that are added to your studentship, extending your award end date but not your final submission deadline.  They recognise the fact that if you are undertaking activities such as an overseas institutional visits, difficult language training or an internship you will have less time during these periods to undertake your doctoral work.

Language training: Up to one extra year’s extra support may be considered if a student needs to acquire or develop working ability with a language in order to carry out fieldwork (including UK fieldwork) or other parts of their research; this is over and above the funded length of the studentship. Students following a pre-described Masters course are not eligible to apply during this training.  Any anticipated language training should have been mentioned in the student’s application and project summary or be discussed with the Deputy Director, Training & Cohort Development as soon as possible upon commencing the studentship.

Language training extensions beyond six months will only be allowed if the student needs to spend an extended period of time overseas in order to obtain these language skills.  If the student has already undertaken a pre-described Masters course, it is expected that some progress with language acquisition will have been made and therefore it is not expected that extensions beyond six months will be made.  Extensions for language training do not automatically attract overseas fieldwork costs.  Overseas fieldwork costs should only be considered alongside an extension where it is not possible to learn the language outside of the fieldwork site.

Please see Annex 3 for guidance on the ‘groupings’ of languages (p. 43 of ESRC funding guide).  

Language Training Extension application form

Extensions are additional periods of funded time that are added to your studentship, extending your award end date but not your final submission deadline.  They recognise the fact that if you are undertaking activities such as an overseas institutional visits, difficult language training or an internship you will have less time during these periods to undertake your doctoral work.

Overseas Institutional Visit (OIV): The purpose of the OIV scheme is to support and encourage the international engagement of ESRC funded students.  The scheme funds an extension to the studentship of up to three months, plus some travel and subsistence costs, budget-dependent.

Funds should be used to provide financial support and time for students to:

  • undertake additional specialist research training not available in the UK
  • develop language skills
  • establish research links that will be beneficial to their current or future academic career
  • disseminate early research career findings
  • attend and participate in seminars where directly relevant to their research.
  • Applications must be student-led
  • Visits must be related to the completion of the student’s PhD and should not commence within the first three months of the studentship period. Visits taking place in the final year of the studentship must be completed at least three months before the end date of the award and prior to the extension period being implemented.
  • Applicants must be from ‘research’ award holders in the +3 component of their studentship. Students in the initial ‘training’ year of a 1+3 award are not eligible.
  • The purpose of the visits funded must not be for overseas fieldwork as this is supported through other mechanisms.
  • Visits can last for up to a maximum of 13 weeks, though LISS DTP can respond flexibly to the needs of the student.
  • Visits must involve visiting a Higher Education institution, or an organisation with a substantive research office outside of the UK.
  • Visits must not be undertaken if the Foreign and Commonwealth Office advises against visiting the country concerned.

If you wish to undertake an OIV, you must complete the application form available below and submit it to the LISS Deputy Director, Training & Cohort Development- linnaea.stockall@kcl.ac.uk

Applications must be approved at least 3 months BEFORE the start date of the OIV. OIV applications will be reviewed on the first working Monday of January, April, July and October each year.  (For 2020 this will be the 6th of January, 6th April and 6th July and the 5th October). Decisions may take up to 2 weeks to announce, depending on volume of applications and it may take a further 2 weeks to arrange payment or reimbursement. 

Note for Queen Mary students: The Queen Mary travel and expenses policy states that all travel and accommodation must be booked via KeyTravel. Please go to the KeyTravel website (https://www.keytravel.com/uk) for a quote to accompany your application and email it to the QMUL LISS Administrator a.kamara@qmul.ac.uk who will arrange the purchase of your travel/accommodation using the LISS budget code and raise a Purchase order number which you send to KeyTravel to confirm your booking.

If you have not received notification of outcomes within two weeks of the application review date, please contact liss-dtp@kcl.ac.uk .  Queen Mary and Imperial students should contact their institutional LISS administrators (see Key Contacts table) about delays to payments or reimbursements.  King’s students should contact liss-dtp@kcl.ac.uk  Students will be expected to submit a report outlining the achievements of their OIV at the end of the visit before the additional stipend payments that comprise the extension will be approved.

Overseas Institutional Visit application form

Students may either interrupt their stipends and studies in order to undertake a paid internship or receive a stipend extension of up to 13 weeks to undertake an unpaid internship. In both cases, the internship and hosting organisation must be vetted by LISS-DTP.

Internships: Internship extensions can be up to 13 weeks and are designed to allow LISS DTP-funded students to develop a sharper sense of the wider non-academic relevance of their research as well as professional and transferrable workplace skills in line with the Vitae Researcher Development Framework.  Placements may also build expertise in knowledge co-generation, where research questions, analytical frameworks and knowledge exchange processes are co-designed with academic and practitioner input.

Extensions are additional periods of funded time that are added to your studentship, extending your award end date but not your final submission deadline.  They recognise the fact that if you are undertaking activities such as an overseas institutional visits, difficult language training or an internship you will have less time during these periods to undertake your doctoral work.

As your stipend will continue to be paid while you undertake the internship, this also means that you will be able to develop collaborative and networking opportunities with employers who might not otherwise be able to pay for your time.  If you are offered a paid internship, you will most likely need to suspend your studentship for its duration.

Some of the Masters degrees that 1+3 students undertake have an in-built internship or similar collaboration with an external partner.  1+3 students and their supervisors may also develop such collaborations on an ad hoc basis, for example, in the summer period between Masters and doctoral degrees.  No extension is available for internships undertaken before the PhD portion of the studentship, but some financial support may be available.  If you are interested in undertaking an internship during your Masters degree programme that is not already in-built into your programme, please consult with your supervisor and the Deputy Director, Training & Cohort Development- linnaea.stockall@kcl.ac.uk 

LISS DTP is informed of internship opportunities, often within major UK government departments, once to twice a year through various ESRC schemes and will advertise these as they are sent to us.  You are also welcome to set-up your own internship, through your own initiative, supervisor or institutional support.

If your internship is not arranged by LISS DTP, your application should also contain a confirmation letter from the host organisation that they have agreed to the internship.

Some funding may be available to support travel costs incurred by overseas internships/collaborations.  Contact the Deputy Director, Training & Cohort Development, linnaea.stockall@kcl.ac.uk to discuss this in advance of submitting your internship extension application.  You will also be expected to make use of your stipend payments to cover costs.

Applications must be approved at least 3 months BEFORE the start date of the Internship. Internship applications will be reviewed on the first working Monday of January, April, July and October each year.  (For 2020 this will be the 6th of January, 6th April and 6th July and the 5th October). Decisions may take up to 2 weeks to announce, depending on volume of applications and it may take a further 2 weeks to arrange payment or reimbursement.  If you have not received notification of outcomes within two weeks of the application review date, contact liss-dtp@kcl.ac.uk .  It may take a further 2 weeks to arrange payments or reimbursement.  Queen Mary and Imperial students should contact their institutional LISS administrators (see Key Contacts table) about delays to payments or reimbursements.  King’s students should contact liss-dtp@kcl.ac.uk

You will be expected to submit a report at the end of your internship outlining how the experience has enhanced your understanding of wider significance of your research, your personal and professional skills and/or your understanding of knowledge co-generation.  Additional stipend payments will not be added to your award until this report is received.

Internship Application form

Extensions are additional periods of funded time that are added to your studentship, extending your award end date but not your final submission deadline.  They recognise the fact that if you are undertaking activities such as an overseas institutional visits, difficult language training or an internship you will have less time during these periods to undertake your doctoral work.

Quantitative Methods Teaching Preparation: It is an ESRC priority to help raise the quantitative skills of UK social science undergraduates and a need has been demonstrated to enthuse and train undergraduates in the use of quantitative methods.  A key part of this will be to develop and train academic staff to design and deliver innovative quantitative methods training across the undergraduate curriculum.  Providing doctoral students who are engaging with quantitative methods the opportunity to think, develop and deliver short training ‘courses’ around their particular interests will help build capacity in quantitative methods training and increase the employability of doctoral students if they enter the academic job market.  For example, students may prepare their work into a publicly available training dataset with associated lab-based exercises.  This would be particularly important in disciplines and subjects outside of economics and psychology where there is less availability of appropriately trained staff and good teaching examples and datasets.

To apply for this 3 month extension, students must be specialising in the application of advanced quantitative methods for their doctoral research and they must have completed the data analysis and/or data collection that is to form the basis of their proposal for the quantitative methods to extend their award.

An application for this extension can be found on the LISS DTP website below and should be submitted to the Deputy Director, Training & Cohort Development- linnaea.stockall@kcl.ac.uk  Proposals should be submitted by the student and their supervisor which outline how the extension will be used to either develop skills or experience in quantitative methods teaching, or how they will contribute to quantitative methods provision within the student’s institution.  The proposal should outline what hard output there will be at the end of the extension (eg. a new teaching dataset made publicly available, or a new short course), and should be accompanied by a supporting statement from the Director of the focal teaching programme.

Students will be expected to provide a short report at the end of their extension period to evidence how they have developed/implemented their quantitative teaching skills in order for the 3 additional months of funding to be granted.  

Quantitative Methods Teaching Preparation Extension application form

Funding end dates and submission dates

The end date of your ESRC award refers to the end of your funded period of study.  Your final submission deadline may be later than your funding end date, if your degree programme allows for unfunded ‘writing-up’ time.  However, the ESRC and LISS DTP advise that you submit your thesis as close to your funding end date as possible, as evidence suggests students often find it very difficult to complete their PhDs  whilst unfunded or while holding full-time jobs.

‘Writing up’ time

The ESRC  states that full-time students have a maximum of 12 months unfunded ‘writing-up’ time after your funding end date to submit your thesis, but your institutional/departmental rules may allow less time than this.  Whilst the ESRC guidelines state that part-time students must submit with 24 months of their funding end date, LISS DTP institutions allow part-time students only one year maximum of ‘writing up’.  You should always work to the earlier of your deadlines- institutional or ESRC- to ensure that you comply with both ESRC and institutional regulations.

If you have been granted an extension to your award such that your funded PhD period is longer than 3 years full-time (or part-time equivalent) (for example, if you receive a 3 month extension for an overseas institutional visit) then you would only have the balance of your final year- 9 months- as unfunded writing up time.

Duration of award

For 1+3 (Master’s and PhD) students at full-time: 4 years.  (For students who undertake their entire award at part-time status- this would be 8 years, 2 year Masters + 6 year PhD).

For +3 students at full-time: 3 years.  (For students who undertake their entire award at part-time status- 6 years).

Students  awarded +3 studentships after they have already commenced doctoral studies have the length of funding adjusted, such that they are funded until the end of the 3rd year as a full-time student, or the end of your 6th year as a part-time student.

The dates at which the funded period of your award starts and ends will have been listed in your studentship offer letter, which you should keep for reference.  If you change between part and full-time status or receive extensions or interruptions to your study period, the duration of your award payment period will be adjusted.

Holiday

Full-time students are allowed up to eight weeks’ holiday (including public holidays) each year as approved by their supervisor.  (Pro-rata calculations should be made for part-time students and periods less than a year).

A student may apply to transfer from full-time to part-time award status or vice versa.  Such transfers should be arranged in advance with the LISS DTP team to start from the beginning of a quarter (eg. 1 October, 1 January, 1 April or 1 July).  Your funding end date and submission date will be recalculated on the basis of funding already received and your time commitment.

Permanent transfers
  • Cannot be made in the last 6 months of your award period except in very exceptional circumstances.
  • Can only be made once in the lifetime of an award, barring 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 has taken up part-time employment.
Change of status for part-time students for fixed periods

Some funded activities such as overseas fieldwork can only be undertaken on a full-time basis.  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.

You should consult with your supervisors on any work (including teaching and additional research) taken outside of your studentship and obtain their agreement that such work will not delay your progress.  The UKRI recommendation is that you spend no more than six hours a week in employment, and the ESRC expects that you spend at least 1,800 ours in year (1,650 if holiday is taken into account) on your research.

Students are not obliged to undertake teaching or other work for their University, but if they do it must be paid at the usual rate and supported by appropriate training.

Those with full-time studentships  cannot hold either a full-time job, or permanent part-time job, during their award.  Those with part-time studentships cannot hold full-time jobs.

You can apply for an interruption for up to 12 months in order  to undertake paid work deemed beneficial to the quality of your doctoral research.  When your studentship is interrupted, your tuition fees and stipend are not paid, so you would return to your studies with the same time remaining on your award as when you left, and your submission deadline also shifts to reflect the time away from your studies.  Your supervisor must be consulted/approve such an interruption.  If you are a part-time student and the work you wish to undertake would also be part-time, then you may be entitled to more than 12 months’ interruption.

Please also see the information about Internships.

 

Any disabled student who, because of disability, is obliged to incur additional expenditure in connection with their studies, may be eligible for an allowance.  The Research Councils have adopted a harmonised approach to DSA.  Additional guidance and a claim form is available on the RCUK website- http://www.rcuk.ac.uk/skills/training  Requests for DSA must be undertaken in consultation with the Disability Office at the university where you are registered:

King’s College London- https://www.kcl.ac.uk/campuslife/services/disability/index.aspx

Queen Mary University of London- http://www.dds.qmul.ac.uk/

Imperial College- https://www.imperial.ac.uk/disability-advisory-service/

If you fall ill or have a planned medical procedure that you know will impact your ability to complete your PhD on schedule, please contact Dr Caitlin Patrick and Dr Linnaea Stockall from the LISS DTP team and inform your supervisor as soon as possible.  Dependent on the length of time you expect to be unable to work, we will help you decide on a course of action and whether it is appropriate to immediately suspend your studies/studentship.  Your stipend payments can continue during suspensions to study covered by medical certificates for up to 13 weeks, within any 12 month period.  (Please provide these certificates to the LISS DTP team.  They will be held confidentially and securely).  Please note: you will have up to 13 weeks of additional stipend payments, as covered by your certificate, added to your studentship award to cover this period of illness once you return to study and, if your studentship has been officially suspended, your official submission deadline will change to reflect this time away from study.

If your period of illness continues for longer than 13 weeks, your studentship must be suspended at this point and your stipend payments will stop.  When you return to study you will return to the same number of award months remaining as you had when you left and your final submission deadline will change to reflect the time you were suspended from study.  This type of suspension should be arranged in consultation with your supervisor, department/institution and with the LISS DTP team. Suspensions on account of illness will not normally be approved for periods in excess of 12 months.

1+3 students – please note that the 13 weeks’ paid sick leave rule would not normally apply in your Masters year.  If you are taken ill in your Masters year for more than a few weeks you would normally be expected to request a suspension of your LISS DTP award through the team.  Part-time students in this position should note the rules and regulations with regard to the payment of fees and notify their supervisor and the LISS DTP team in the case of long-term illness.

If you become pregnant such that the expected date of confinement will occur during the period of your award, you are entitled to 52 weeks of maternity or shared parental leave. In the case of maternity leave, the first 26 weeks will be paid at full stipend rate. The following 13 weeks will be paid at a level commensurate with employee entitlements to statutory maternity pay. This is c. 41% of the basic doctoral stipend. The final 13 weeks are not paid. When you return to your studies you will resume your studentship with the same amount of paid time remaining as when you left and your submission deadline will shift to reflect your leave period.

Due to the structured nature of most taught research training programmes (Masters programmes), students who take maternity leave during any research training programme are expected to re-join their course at the stage at which they left it, ie. in order to ensure that all elements of the training are successfully completed in advance of their doctoral study.  This may require taking a full 52 weeks of maternity leave but this would depend on the structure of the course and the frequency in which training is provided.  Applications for and queries about maternity leave should be directed to the LISS DTP team and your institutional/departmental administrators and your supervisor should be informed. Your maternity leave application must be supported by a MAT B1 form.

Partners are entitled to up to 10 days paid Ordinary Paternity Leave on full stipend.

Partners may be entitled to up to 50 weeks of Shared Parental Leave; this may include paid and unpaid leave (dependent on the amount of leave being claimed by your partner).  Any paid leave will be at full stipend.  Circumstances of shared parental leave should be discussed with the LISS DTP team.

There is no qualifying period for maternity, paternity, adoption or shared parental leave.

Terminations– 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. The termination date and reason should be submitted to ESRC by LISS DTP staff.

ESRC funding is provided to support students undertaking a PhD; therefore, if you complete your studies and submit a doctoral thesis before the end of your studentship, your funding will be terminated.  Subject to agreement of your supervisor in consultation with the LISS DTP team, you can give up to four weeks’ notice that you will be submitting your dissertation in order to complete domestic arrangements and take up to two weeks’ leave.  Exceptionally, agreement to a short period of continued funding is allowable if you have an agreed programme of work related to the publication of your research which you propose to pursue.

If you take up paid full-time employment before the end date of your award, the award will 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.

Suspensions– 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 which can be justified as being highly relevant to your thesis or research training.  Suspensions require supervisor and LISS DTP approval.  Please note that suspensions can only be considered during the funded period of the studentship.  If a student interrupts their registration after their ESRC funding has finished a 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 must not be accepted.

Suspension of studies requests must not 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.

Any significant changes to the focus of your research need to be approved in advance by your supervisor and the LISS DTP team. Only in exceptional circumstances will radical changes be approved after your PhD is underway.  Once changes are approved, LISS DTP will make the necessary changes to your records.

Any changes in supervision should be approved by your Head of Department (or equivalent).   The LISS DTP should be informed so that your records can be updated.

Please tell LISS DTP immediately if you receive an award from another body to support your research, especially if it is the form of payment of fees or maintenance. A student must not hold  two awards for the same purpose concurrently.  The ESRC however encourages students to participate in additional research work which adds to the quality of PhD study,  although such work would not be considered appropriate in the Master’s year.