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Updated PGR FAQs: training, progression and assessment, IT, funding

07 Apr 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, however to make other queries regarding the current situation you can email coronavirus-info@manchester.ac.uk.

We will be updating the questions on a regular basis.

The latest questions are:

Training and development

What is happening with training and development workshops for PGR students? 

Faculty training teams and the Library My Research Essentials team are moving to online delivery where possible and there may be some disruption to delivery while these arrangements are being put into place. PGRs who are still interested in participating in upcoming training and development courses are advised not to cancel face-to-face sessions but wait to be contacted by the training organisers with details of how to access course materials / online webinars. If you have any further questions please contact the appropriate training provider: 

We are hosting a PGR led event. Should we cancel it? 

All PGR-led events or seminars scheduled for the current academic year should be cancelled, postponed or if possible converted to an online equivalent. If you would like to reach out to other researchers, or promote online materials, please contact your local PGR support team. 

Progression and assessment

I have completed my viva remotely and additional research / lab based work is required, however I cannot access my lab, what should I do? 

Please contact your supervisor and your local PGR support team for further guidance. 

Is a hardship fund available to PGRs? 

We want as many PGRs as possible to be able to continue with their research and we are widening access to our student hardship fund and making it easier to make an application. The fund, which can award both small grants and loans, is now open to all students, regardless of mode of study or nationality. Further details can be found on Student Support or by emailing funding@manchester.ac.uk.

I am currently on an approved interruption from study but am due to return. Can I still return? 

Due to the current position of remote working a return from interruption should be discussed with your supervisor and local PGR support team for further guidance. 

My supervisor is returning or is involved in clinical duties due to COVID-19 and this may impact on their ability to provide me with supervision/guidance?  What should I do? 

We understand some supervisors are returning to clinical duties which may impact on their ability to provide the usual level of supervision/support.  In these cases please liaise with your co-supervisor where possible and also contact your local PGR support team if this is likely to impact on any upcoming deadlines.

I’m having problems accessing online learning?  Where can I get support?

If you are having difficulties accessing the University network, or need advice and support with accessing online services we are introducing a single email address that you can contact for accessing online learning and assessment: helpmegetonline@manchester.ac.uk

IT and equipment

I don’t have a laptop or desktop PC at home.  Is any support available to help me work remotely? 

Please liaise with your Faculty PGR Manager about your support needs:

I need additional software / equipment specific to my research area 

Please liaise with your supervisor about your requirements so they can assess what options are available and formally put forward a request for additional support where appropriate.  Further information on the process.

Returning home

I have returned home and have taken my data overseas.  Do I need to consider export control requirements? 

Yes.  Further training and guidance is available on the University’s export control website.

PGR funding

What about funding of my project? 

Many postgraduate researchers (PGRs) are understandably concerned about their research and funding.  We are actively involved in sector-wide discussions with government and other funders about ensuring a consistent approach to mitigating research disruptions for all PGRs regardless of how they are funded. We are also lobbying the UKRI to lead discussions with other funders on your behalf. 

The Russell Group are also calling on UKRI to launch an emergency fund to cover the salaries of staff, stipends and other research costs during this period. For more information, please see the letter from the Russell Group calling on UKRI to launch an emergency fund to cover the salaries of staff, stipends and other research costs during this period. We will contact you as soon as we are able to provide a more detailed update.

Remote working 

Will my research be stopped? / Am I expected to take unpaid annual leave? 

We have not told any staff or PGRs that they should take unpaid leave. Please continue your research where feasible, and stay in touch with supervisors, line managers and PGR teams to discuss with them possible adjustments to your research work plan. PGRs have been asked to keep a log of any lost time due to, for example, lack of access to an appropriate resource, a period of illness, needing to attend to caring responsibilities, or returning to clinical duties. 

Can I get a laptop? 

We are exploring how to safely deliver resources such as laptops to our most disadvantaged students and PGRs. This is being coordinated through the University’s Widening Participation Group to ensure that we are prioritising needs. Please discuss your needs with your supervisor or line manager in the first instance. PGRs that need support with additional needs are encouraged to contact the Disability Advisory and Support Service.

More information