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Updated PGR FAQs: Funded extensions, accessing campus, annual reviews

27 May 2020

Frequently asked questions are updated regularly

This advice is correct at the time of publication of this news article.

If you have health concerns then you should refer to the NHS website as recommended by Public Health England. For other queries regarding the current situation, email coronavirus-info@manchester.ac.uk.

We have made a number of updates to the coronavirus FAQ for postgraduate researchers.

New introduction to the FAQ

This is a very fraught and challenging time with many stresses and adjustments – we appreciate it must be incredibly difficult for all PGRs. As ever, we hugely value your work and contribution to the University and will do everything we can to inform and support you as this situation develops.

We're exploring every option to alleviate and mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on your research. The University’s Senior Leadership Team have allocated funds to support PGRs with a funding end date between 1 March 2020 and 31 March 2021 - further information about extensions can be found below. 

If you have specific questions that are not addressed below please feed these through to your supervisor and/or your PGR support team. Manchester Doctoral College (MDC), including the Students’ Union PGR officer, meets at least weekly to discuss PGR concerns. PGR reps from each Faculty join us for monthly briefings on the University’s position and provide input. The MDC will continue to work collaboratively with PGR reps to address your concerns - we welcome your feedback at mdc@manchester.ac.uk.

Additional information added under Can I apply for a funded extension to my research?

We are making a major financial commitment to supporting PGRs through this difficult time - the University will cover the cost of approved programme extensions up to six months if you meet the criteria outlined below. If the progress of your research has been impacted by COVID-19 you should contact your supervisor and local PGR support team to discuss whether an extension is needed. The funding of any extension will be dependent on the source of funding for your studentship and the stage you are at in your programme. 

Unfortunately we are unable to offer blanket funded extensions for all PGRs, as the pandemic has had (and will continue to have) a severe financial impact on the University. We're introducing a number of measures to try and mitigate the financial impact of this loss and are actively involved in discussions with the UK government to seek support for universities. However this loss of income is likely to have a significant impact for some time. Dealing with extension requests case-by-case will allow us to assess the complex situations facing individuals and ensure that our finite resources are distributed most effectively.

Updated answer - When will I be able to access campus?

The latest information is available on the campus reopening Staffnet site. Please be assured that planning work for the future reopening of campus is ongoing – detailed plans and guidance will be updated as soon as they are available. Information specific to your own return to campus will be communicated to you directly by your Faculty as plans progress. If you have any queries please contact your supervisor or local PGR support team directly.

Updated answer - Will I still need to do my annual review / continuation review?

Yes, you should continue with your review as scheduled, in order to consider your progress over the last year and enable you to raise any issues you have encountered or foresee over the next progression period. The University feels it is important to keep the scheduled reviews in place as it provides an opportunity for you to discuss any impact that COVID-19 has had on your research and discuss further support required. The review should be completed remotely using (for example) Zoom or Skype.

New question - Why must I wait until three months before my deadline to submit a request for an extension?

We want to give you the extension appropriate to your individual circumstances.  If your deadline is more than three months away, it won’t be possible to fully assess how big the impact has been upon your research and what remaining work is needed to complete your research to doctoral standard.

New question - Can I transfer to part time study if I can’t work remotely on my research full time at the moment?

It may be possible to transfer to a part-time programme of research, but this will be dependent on your programme, the terms and conditions of your funder (if you are funded) and government guidelines. You should therefore work together with your supervisors and local PGR support team to discuss your options.

New question - How do I get support with Research Data Management?

Two online resources which cover some of the content that face to face training sessions would normally go through are available via Research Data Management and Research Data Explained. Both can also be accessed through the MRE webpages. PGRs can also request support directly from the Research Services team

More general information is also available via the MRE blog in response to the challenges now being faced by researchers. Regular updates are posted via the Library twitter handles @UoMLibResearch and @mlemanchester.

More information