Postgraduate Research (PGR) students
Information and guidance for PGR students.
Please note that, in light of the lockdown restrictions implemented by the UK and Scottish Governments on 23 March 2020, only ‘essential-services’ should be operating on campus. We will be updating these FAQs regularly with the latest guidance.
We understand the impact Covid-19 is having in dramatically increasing the time some research students need to spend caring for loved ones. You should talk to your supervisors about this and use the concessions process to ask your School to take account of the impact of exceptional caring responsibilities on your ability to continue with your research to your usual standard or at your usual pace.
We are not expecting students to be able to provide the usual levels of evidence in support of applications for extensions and interruptions, so the most useful thing is to explain how your work has been affected (and therefore it may be helpful to keep a log of any lost time).
If you feel unwell and think that you may have the symptoms of coronavirus (Covid-19), you should follow the latest advice from the NHS. PGRs should also inform their supervisor, and check here for further information.
No. In line with the UK Government’s latest advice about coronavirus (Covid-19), the University has closed all of our non-essential sites until further notice. This includes all teaching and research buildings both on campus and in associated clinical sites and the Library - although electronic library resources will still be accessible.
No. PGRs should continue working on their research remotely, if at all possible, until further notice. Please follow guidance issued by Information Services on supporting you to work remotely. Discuss with your supervisor tasks that can be reasonably completed whilst remote working. If your main supervisor is unavailable, please liaise with your supervisory team, contact your School’s postgraduate office, or look at the online training skills offered by IAD. You can also view the Research Data Management Policy for advice.
PGRs should work from home wherever possible. If you are unable to continue working, you should discuss an interruption or extension request with your supervisor, depending on the length of time you are impacted. Keeping a log of any lost time is strongly advised whether that be due for example, to lack of access to appropriate resource, a period of illness, a need to attend to caring responsibilities, or a return to clinical duties.
If your research is significantly affected, then please use extension or interruption as the means for managing impacts on progression (temporary suspension of studies may affect stipends). We will offer an unfunded interruption or extension, as appropriate, to all affected PhD, MPhil and MScR students to match the duration of closure of the University. This does not mean you must use this facility, but it is there in case you need it.
Please request extensions/interruptions through your College PGR committee. For those with Tier 4 visas, you should be able to interrupt for longer than 60 days in the current circumstances without the withdrawal of your CAS, however please check your situation first with the University’s Student Immigration Service.
For postgraduate students, continuation fees will be waived during the Covid-19 lockdown period. Matriculation fees will be postponed during the Covid-19 lockdown period and will become due once lockdown lifts. On your return to study in the 2020/21 session, your tuition fees will be re-calculated at the 2019/20 rate of fee for the remaining months of your current year of study.
Yes. All PGRs are required to submit their thesis electronically but the University will not require submission of either the softbound copy of the thesis for examination, or the final hard bound thesis during this period of remote working (in both cases electronic copies should be submitted).
Now that the University has moved to a position of remote working and until further notice, all vivas should either be conducted remotely or postponed to a later date. If vivas go ahead remotely, internal examiners should record that all participants are happy to proceed remotely. Given the current circumstances, please use the technology that most suits the participants of the viva (eg: Skype). If you have any questions about the examinations process please contact your local PGR support team.
Yes, the University’s support services (e.g. the Big White Wall; free online mental health and wellbeing support 24/7) are also available to all PGRs. For this and other support see the student support webpages.
We recognise that during this uncertain time remote working is not easy. It is important to keep in regular contact with your supervisor or supervisory team. In addition, many Schools or research groups have set up social networks to help with keeping in touch.
Here are some excellent ideas how to manage working from home and stay well.
- If you can, set up a dedicated workspace in your flat, it will help to differentiate between 'research' and 'off' time and create a boundary between relaxed, social space and workspace. There is some useful guidance from NHS Englandabout how to sit at your desk correctly - try adapting this to your at-home set up.
- Maintain a routine, this will look different depending on your circumstances, but can include things like getting up and ready as you usually would, taking a morning and afternoon walk, and taking regular breaks away from your workspace and screen.
- If you have caring responsibilities, speak to your supervisor about how to manage your research work around these. It is likely that this will be a changing situation and will require ongoing discussion.
- Try to define the hours you will be working on your research and resist the temptation to check-in outside of these hours.
- Even if you are isolating with symptoms, light exercise is recommended.
- The IAD (Institute for Academic Development) at the University has begun offering advice for researchers which may be helpful to you. They will also send out IAD newsletters w/c 30 March 2020 for PGRs and research staff, and are starting PGR virtual coffee breaks on 1 April.
- Students are also directed to “The Wellbeing Thesis” for support.
Fieldwork conducted by PGR students at their home location or overseas will be considered on an individual basis, taking into account eased restrictions in the country they are located. Decisions will reflect health and safety advice and whether the proposed fieldwork presents an opportunity to fulfil the academic outcomes intended.
No, all future-dated fieldwork and placement activity should be postponed until further notice. If you have any questions please contact your supervisor or local support team but you must follow government advice regarding travel and social distancing.
Provided that your supervisor is in good health and therefore working remotely, contact should be maintained during this period. If not, PGRs should liaise with other members of their supervisory team. All progression and supervisory meetings should be conducted remotely.
Please contact your supervisor / supervisory team / School PGR support team for advice. Further information can also be found on the Student Disability Service webpages. You should follow the most recent NHS advice at all times.
We expect visiting research placements to start in September 2020, and will confirm timing in line with government advice and travel restrictions. Until we are able to confirm an exact start date, we recommend that you do not book your travel or accommodation. We will contact you once we have confirmation of dates.
If you were due to start your placement before September 2020, we recommend that you postpone your start date until September and once travel restrictions have eased.
Data collection which does not require direct personal contact can continue during this period, such as via Skype, telephone or electronic surveys/questionnaires. Where possible, projects should be adjusted to be conducted remotely.
Research will only be permitted to continue face-to-face if there is an exceptional reason such as clinical need or a significant ethical rationale for non-immediate cessation. Any continuation of face-to-face research will require University approval. Taking clinical samples that are (or potentially are) positive for Covid-19 requires handling in labs of the appropriate category and should not be done without clearance from senior staff and thorough risk assessment.