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Guidance for EPSRC students

If you have a grievance with your supervisor

If you are having problems with your supervisor, your department is responsible for making sure that you have access to procedures for resolving them. You should be able to find out more about these procedures by looking at your departmental code of practice.

If you need longer to complete your research

Funding for PhDs normally lasts between three and four years if you are studying full-time. It is also possible to do a PhD part-time. Funding for masters depends on what type of course you are doing.

If you get EPSRC funding, you should talk to your supervisor if you are worried about the length of your funding. It may be possible to extend funding to compensate for time unavoidably lost through illness or absence for other reasons.

If you want to do paid or unpaid work

We are happy for you to do demonstration, teaching and other duties in your university department where they do not interfere with the progress of your PhD.

We recognise that you can gain valuable skills from these activities, but EPSRC stipends are training awards and do not cover payment for duties that would reasonably be considered to constitute employment.

If you do demonstration, teaching or other types of employment in an institution, you should be paid for this as well as receiving the minimum EPSRC stipend. Demonstration, teaching or other types of employment should not be compulsory, and your organisation should provide a range of development opportunities for students.

Any other work that you take on should not stop you finishing your PhD on time.

If you want to take leave or require maternity leave

Your university must make suitable arrangements for holidays and maternity leave, generally following their normal practice.

PhD students receiving a stipend from a doctoral training grant are entitled to receive a stipend during maternity leave in line with statutory maternity provision. They should also have their studentships extended by a corresponding length of time.

We expect universities to meet the costs of maternity leave from within the cash-limit of their training accounts. If a university has a very small doctoral training grant and no expectation of future funding from us, they can request additional funding above the cash-limit. The university will need to show that payment for maternity leave cannot be made from the doctoral training grant and that there are no other contingency funding or doctoral training grants to draw on.

If you receive industrial sponsorship, please bear in mind your obligation to your sponsor in planning holidays.

If you become ill

If you need to take time off from your studies due to illness, you should keep your supervisor informed. If you are away a long time, discuss the situation with your supervisor who can advise on the best course of action.

If you are not doing well

If you are not doing well and your conduct is considered unsatisfactory it is possible that you might be asked to withdraw from your studies (sometimes called termination) or perhaps you might choose to leave yourself.

If this did happen, you should be allowed a reasonable period of notice, which may or may not include any unused leave entitlement. However, you should bear in mind that you may be asked to repay money paid to you in advance for any period after the termination of your studies.

If you feel that you are not doing well, the best thing to do is to discuss it with your supervisor at an early stage.

More advice and guidance

Vitae, a national programme for supporting researcher development, provides information and advice on everything from managing yourself and your research to marketing yourself to potential employers. They run events, produce an online magazine and a monthly tips email. See postgraduate researchers on the Vitae website for details.