Page updated 19 May 2020
Coronavirus information messages sent to the Royal Holloway email address of all current postgraduate researchers:
- During step one, through to 1 June, students should not be on campus unless they are currently living in Halls or have individual permission to use study space on campus
- There will be limited opportunities for students who are unable to study at home to access study space on campus, but the Davison Building currently remains closed. Students should contact firstname.lastname@example.org to make arrangements for access
- We will be re-opening some specific scientific research laboratories for research staff and students with prior approval. Your Head of Department will be in contact with you with further details about this. You should not come on to campus to access laboratories unless you have been given the go ahead by your Head of Department.
Supervision should move online e.g. via MS Teams, Skype, Facetime etc.
If your supervisor is not available for periods of time due to the coronavirus, remember that you have your second supervisor or advisor whom you can also contact for support
Intranet / email: Ensure you keep updated on official College advice and guidance by checking back on this page regularly and checking your College email account regularly.
Supervisory team: Discuss any concerns you may have with your supervisor(s). Your supervisory team is there to support you and they should help you come up with a contingency plan to ensure you are able to re-prioritise and continue to be productive in the event of various types of disruption.
Wellbeing: If you have specific coronavirus concerns, please contact email@example.com. The Student Advisory and Wellbeing team is there to support you with other well-being concerns, for example coping with increased feelings of isolation:
Doctoral School: For support and advice on PGR regulations, policy and procedures, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have one of the following deadlines coming up before the end of June 2020, it has been agreed that you can be granted a blanket 12 week extension:
- Annual review meeting
- Upgrade meeting
- Thesis submission
- Thesis resubmission
- Thesis corrections
The Doctoral School will have been in contact with you if you fall into this category to clarify the new deadline.
Please note that this extension does not prevent you from being able to attend your review meeting / submit your thesis or corrections as originally scheduled, if you so wish.
If the Coronavirus pandemic affects your ability to continue with your research, the important thing for you to do at this stage is to ensure you document everything, so that everything is in place if you subsequently request to extend your thesis submission deadline because of this. The College will look at requests sympathetically where clear impact has been demonstrated and you are able to provide supporting evidence. Reasons may include for example:
- Lack of experimental data
- Caring responsibilities
- Disruption to fieldwork
- Cancellation of conferences
- Disruption to lab work
- Closure of libraries / archives
Please do not submit an extension request until June at the earliest, once you have a clearer picture of how you are being impacted and how long this impact may last for. The forms and process for requesting an extension to your submission deadline due to the impact of coronavirus will be published at the end of May.
The College is concentrating its financial support for College funded researchers in the first instance on those who are most immediately affected by the disruption caused by coronavirus i.e. those who are in the last year of their funding. For those of you who are College-funded but do not fit into these categories and are at an earlier stage of your thesis, we will be considering possible options to support you at a later date.
Are you eligible?
You are eligible if:
- You are a partially or fully College funded (fees and/or stipend) postgraduate researcher and your funding end date is between 1 March 2020 and 31 March 2021
- The progress with your research has been significantly disrupted by coronavirus (i.e.it needs to amount to two months or longer). Valid reasons for this disruption would include:
- loss of access to vital resources such as laboratories, archives and libraries
- the absence of the main supervisor in cases of prolonged illness or care for dependants
- loss of environment conducive to study
- Care of dependants:
- single parents, parents/guardians having children home from school for long periods
- care of elderly or vulnerable dependants.
- Ill health:
- Coronavirus itself and the resulting side effects
- High level of anxiety and stress/depression caused by the situation
What support is available?
- You can apply for a funding extension of between 2 – 6 months
- The extension will be calculated pro rata based on the College’s contribution to the stipend you are currently receiving
How do you apply?
- The Doctoral School will publish a Coronavirus funding extension request form at the end of May, which will allow you to request both an extension to your submission deadline and to your funding deadline
- You will be asked to provide supporting evidence where possible, although we are aware that this may not be feasible in all cases
- The request will need to be approved by your supervisor before it is sent to the Doctoral School for final approval and processing
UKRI has recently published its guidance and FAQs for the implementation of a funding extension scheme for those in the final year of their funding, who have not submitted and whose research has been impacted the coronavirus pandemic.
Am I eligible?
You are eligible if:
- You are a partially or fully UKRI funded (fees and/or stipend) postgraduate researcher and your funding period ends between 1 March 2020 and 31 March 2021
- The progress with your research has been significantly disrupted by coronavirus. You are clearly able to show how your research has been impacted and your supervisor supports your request
What support is available?
- You can apply for a funding extension of up to 6 months
- The extension will apply to your fees and/or stipend (depending on the conditions of your studentships) but not your RTSG (Research Training Support Grant)
- If you are a fees-only student, you are will only be able to apply for an extension to your fees
How do I apply?
- Your DTP/CDT will be in contact with you, if they haven’t already, to explain their application process
- All UKRI funding extension requests must be sent directly to your DTP/CDT. The deadline UKRI has set for the extension request has been extended to 9 June 2020. Your DTP/CDT will have set an earlier one so that they can process your application and submit the information before the UKRI deadline.
- Once your DTP/CDT has approved the funding extension, Royal Holloway will be informed so that your record can be updated.
- If you have any queries regarding the application process, please contact your DTP/CDT directly.
Will I also get an extension to my submission deadline?
- The DTP/CDT can only grant the funding extension. A similar extension to your submission deadline could only be granted by Royal Holloway.
- If you are granted a funding extension, the Doctoral School will contact you and your supervisor to check whether a submission deadline extension in line with this is also required.
- If you submit during the period of the funding extension, your funding will continue to the end of the quarter in which you were paid and it will then cease.
- Your supervisor will be in contact with you, if they haven’t already, to discuss whether you appropriate grounds to request an extension to your funding deadline due to the impact of coronavirus.
- If you do wish to make a request, your supervisor should take the lead in contacting your funder to find out what is possible.
- Where the scheme is part-funded by Royal Holloway, the College will offer a pro rata extension if your funding end date is between 1 March 2020 and 31 March 2021 (see College funding section above)
If you are self-funding, you may decide to interrupt instead of requesting an extension. Details on how to interrupt can be found here. We recommend that you do not submit any such request until June, as by that time, we should hopefully have a clearer idea of the duration of the impact. The exception is if you are a Tier 4 student who think you need to interrupt your studies due to the impact of coronavirus. If you are in this position, please contact the Doctoral School as soon as possible to discuss your options
It is recommended that if you are a funded student, you do not interrupt as your stipend payments may be paused during your period of interruption.
If your annual review deadline falls before the end of June 2020, you will be granted a blanket 12 week extension to this deadline.
If decide to go ahead with your annual review meeting as originally planned, your meeting can be held remotely, using for example MS Teams, Skype or Zoom. All the necessary paperwork can be submitted remotely.
If your upgrade deadline falls before the end of June 2020, you will be granted a blanket 12 week extension to this deadline.
If decide to go ahead with your upgrade meeting as originally planned, your meeting can be held remotely, using for example MS Teams, Skype or Zoom. All parties involved must agree to this course of action and the written agreement should forwarded to email@example.com for their records. All the necessary paperwork can be submitted remotely.
If your thesis submission deadline falls before the end of June 2020, you will be granted a blanket 12 week extension to this deadline.
This does not prevent you from submitting as originally planned, if wished. The requirement to submit two hard copies is being waived. You therefore only need to submit your electronic copy to firstname.lastname@example.org by your submission deadline, together with the declaration of number of words form.
Given the current restrictions, you have the option for your viva to go ahead remotely via video conference rather than having to wait until it is safe to hold face-to-face vivas again. For further details, please read:
Conducting online vivas - guide for candidates
If you are a full-time Masters by Research student, due to submit this autumn, your College submission deadline will be extended by 12 weeks, in the first instance, without you having to submit an extension request. Confirmation of your submission deadline will be emailed to you separately. This extension is also granted to part-time Masters by Research students who are in their second year. Please note that this does not prevent you from submitting earlier if ou wish.
If you are a part-time Masters by Research student in your first year, your deadline will not be extended automatically. If your research is impacted by the coronavirus, please keep a log of the impact, with supporting evidence if possible, so that you have everything in place if you subsequently need to request an extension to your submission deadline.
To prevent undue delays, if you are planning to continue at Royal Holloway on a PhD, you will be permitted to start on the PhD programme in September even if you have not submitted by then, on the condition that your department agrees with this and on the understanding that you would have to withdraw if you did not subsequently pass your Masters by Research.
If you are planning to continue on a PhD in September at different institution, please contact the institution in question for their policy on this.
Tthe College has taken the difficult decision to postpone the formal Summer Graduation Ceremonies that would normally be held on campus in July. As I’m sure you can appreciate, the current situation makes it impossible for us to plan with any certainty graduation ceremonies in the summer as no-one can predict how the pandemic will affect the UK or indeed the world.
We are currently preparing for the Winter Graduation Ceremonies to go ahead as planned, and are looking at alternatives for the summer graduation.