Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Management of Studentships
NINE DTP funding is governed in accordance with rules established by the ESRC and UKRI, in conjunction with institutional policies and procedures. We expect all students to familiarise themselves with the ESRC and UKRI guidance, in order to best manage their studentship experience.
Please note: the ESRC and UKRI guidance is subject to change, based upon policy decisions, new government legislation, etc. Policy challenges will never act retrospectively; however, studentships will always be managed in accordance with the most recent terms and conditions.
Links to ESRC and UKRI funding and training terms and conditions guidance can be found on this page.
Absences, Ill-Health and Sick Leave
For periods of ill-health lasting more than four-days, it is possible for award-holders to seek funded sick-leave.
For students in the North East, absences covered by a medical certificate will be supported for up to 13 weeks within any 12-month period; additionally, the studentship will be extended by a commensurate period.
For periods of sick leave over 13 weeks (excepting in the case of specific circumstances related to the coronavirus), award-holders should suspend their studies until they are fit to return to work.
For award-holders in Northern Ireland, you should discuss your sick leave requirements with the DTP Administrator or Director within your institution to confirm arrangements in relation to DfENI terms and conditions.
(Please note: candidates may only suspend for a year during their period of funded study).
Award-holders should notify the research organisation and NINE DTP as soon as possible around the period of sick leave, and should keep us informed of potential return-to-study dates.
Students who are taken ill in their Master’s year for more than a few weeks would normally be expected to request a suspension of their award. Due to the structured nature of the programme of training, students in their research training/Master’s year would be expected to re-join their course at the same point that they left it.
Part-time students in this position should note the rules and regulations with regard to the payment of fees and notify their supervisor in the case of long-term illness.
The NINE DTP Training Grant Number for students entering between 2017-2023 is:
The NINE DTP Training Grant Number for students entering between 2024-2028 is:
The UKRI provides funding for Ariticle Processing Fees, and to support Open Access, to Universities via a block-grant.
All award-holders should seek to apply to their institution in the first instance to access fund to support open access/article processing changes.
Should all other avenues for funding be exhausted, award-holders may seek to use RTSG to support open access; however, funds should be available via the institution in almost every case.
As you progress through your PhD, it may become necessary to change the course, methodology or nature of your PhD proposal; indeed, many candidates slightly amend or adapt their project during their studies.
If the changes to the project are minor, reflecting slight shifts in focus or project title, then you need not inform the DTP.
However, if the changes proposed are substantive, or evidence a clear shift in the methodologies, structure, focus and/or project title, you will need to seek permission from the DTP for these changes or potentially risk losing your funding.
To submit your case to the DTP, please provide your intended project title together with the 200 word abstract initially submitted as part of your application for funding, with any details around significant changes in methodologies provided as a supplement.
The DTP will always seek to be supportive of these changes; however, we do ask that you recognise that we need to ensure your project remains aligned to ESRC disciplinary areas, maintains a focus on addressing significant social or economic issues, and is both a suitable and achievable study for the submission of a Doctoral thesis.
In sum, yes – you should inform the DTP.
If the changes are minor, no further action will need to be taken beyond the DTP notifying the ESRC of the changes.
However, more substantive changes will need to be reviewed with the DTP to ensure that the project is still appropriate in relation to the initial application, alignment to ESRC disciplinary areas, feasibility and quality.
If you wish to submit changes to your project title only, this may be sent via email to the DTP at [email protected]
If you wish to make more substantive changes, you should submit an updated abstract for your proposal (as per your initial application for funding from the DTP). The DTP Directors will review the new proposal and, should this be approved, the new abstract will be logged in the Je-S system and officially logged with the ESRC.
During the course of the PhD, it is likely that some award-holders’ supervisors may no longer be able to provide supervision – whether through ill-health, retirement, or leaving the institution.
In the event of a supervisor leaving, the candidate should discuss their supervisory arrangements with their supervisor(s) and look to ensure that they have adequate supervision moving forward. This may involve seeking additional supervision from within the Department, or even multiple supervisors to ensure an appropriate blend of knowledge and expertise to allow the project to develop and conclude appropriately.
The DTP should be notified of all changes to the supervisory team, via the administrative contacts in candidates’ institutions.
As your project and situation evolves, it may be that candidates wish to try to recruit additional supervisors to their project. This may be, for instance, if the project evolves in a new direction or requires a different methodological approach.
Supervisors may be added to the project at any time; however, the DTP needs to be informed of any additions / changes to supervisory arrangements.
These should be communicated to the local DTP contact in your institution.
Yes – absolutely. This could be from another institution from the universities within the training partnership, or a supervisor from any other university.
However, your Primary and Secondary Supervisors should always be from your host institution.
Early Thesis Submission
Candidates may wish to submit their theses early, to allow them to take up permanent employment.
Any award-holder wishing to submit early should ensure they familiarise themselves with institutional policies relating to early submission.
Upon the submission of the thesis, the studentship will be terminated (unless there are exceptional circumstances). Please read the ESRC Postgraduate Funding Guidelines for more information.
Where a candidate has received payments in advance beyond the submission date, any overpaid funds must be repaid to the DTP.
We encourage candidates to plan the date of their submission with full awareness of these policies.
Can I apply for additional funds for…
All award-holders may seek to apply for funds to cover fieldwork costs.
For UK-based fieldwork, funds are drawn from the Research Training Support Grant monies, and should be applied for via the RTSG process (further information related to which can be found on this website).
Yes – all candidates can seek funds to attend conferences. Award-holders will need to apply for RTSG monies to support conference attendance.
It is generally the case that candidates should only apply for international conferences when they are actively participating in the conference via presentation of a paper, poster, or other engagement.
No; DTP funds cannot be used solely for the purposes of joining a professional body.
However, there are some exceptions as outlined below:
i. Membership may be bought if membership is necessary for the attendance of a conference, or if attendance at a conference or training event would be less expensive overall with membership; &
ii. Membership may be supported if that membership is necessary to gain access to materials/data sets/resources which are required for the completion of the PhD studies.
Yes – DTP students can seek monies for equipment in some circumstances.
This does not include laptops for general use; however, the DTP can make a contribution to the cost of a higher-specification computer should the candidate be able to demonstrate additional need in relation to their computer processing/graphics requirements.
The DTP will not generally purchase any items where there is a reasonable expectation that the Department should be able to provide equipment/materials.
The DTP can provide funds for equipment for fieldwork e.g., dictaphones, go-pro cameras etc. where there is clear and sufficient justification. The DTP can also provide funds for equipment and software to transcribe interviews/recordings.
Please note, however, that all equipment over £200 will need to be returned to the DTP when no longer required for the studentship as the items remain property of the DTP.
No, unless there are exceptional circumstances.
This is because the DTP encourages all students to transcribe their own data, which allows for a far greater knowledge, understanding and appreciation of the data collected.
However, in some cases, students may apply for funds for equipment to facilitate transcription where necessary e.g., pedals etc.