Sussex Researcher School

Sussex (PGR) Scholarship Extension Scheme - second round, May 2021

Information about the second round of Sussex-funded scholarship extensions for doctoral researchers impacted by COVID-19

The University Executive Group have agreed two funding schemes in support of PhD students impacted by COVID-19.

  1. The PGR Hardship Fund is open to PhD students without access to funding extensions (e.g. UKRI or School scholarships).
  2. The Sussex Scholarship Extension Scheme is open for PhD students funded by Sussex to apply for scholarship extensions.

With regard to the hardship funding and the extension scheme, please note that:

  • any PhD student experiencing financial difficulties - regardless of their funding source - can apply to the pre-existing general Student Hardship Fund;
  • PhD students experiencing COVID-19 related financial difficulties - bar those with access to funded scholarship extensions - can apply to the PGR Hardship Fund;
  • PhD students who are applying to the Sussex Scholarship Extension Scheme can subsequently apply to the general Student Hardship Fund, following the outcome of the Extension Scheme.


How to apply

Applications must be submitted using this Extension Request Form [Word document, 47.96KB]

PhD students are responsible for the addition of supervisor comments to the application. After supervisor comments are added, the extension request form must be emailed to your Director of Doctoral Studies by Friday 11 June 2021.

Directors of Doctoral Studies should complete the extension form and send to by Friday 18 June 2021.

If there is information that you feel would support your case but you would prefer not to disclose to your supervisor, complete the separate Confidential Personal Circumstances Form [Word document, 45.80KB]  and email to by Friday 11 June 2021. You will also need to complete the Extension Request Form as above. The Confidential Personal Circumstances Form will go directly to Student Support Services, who will represent a redacted account of the severity of these circumstances to the panel without giving details.


Guidance for applicants

i)   A fund of circa £110k is available to support scholarship extensions for PhD students whose stipends are funded by the University of Sussex (e.g. School Studentships, CIRS, but not those funded by an external grant, charities or UKRI).

ii)   PhD students are eligible to apply to the fund if:

  1. they are funded via a Sussex scholarship, most normally a School-based scholarship or a Chancellors International Research Scholarship;
  2. the scholarship funding end date is before 31st March 2022 (full-time)* and 31st March 2023 (part-time)*, and the thesis has not been submitted;
  3. the ability to progress has been significantly impacted by COVID-19.

*PhD students who have taken intermission on Covid-related grounds, and whose funding end date is subsequently outside of this period, are eligible to apply.

iii)   PhD students awarded extensions in the first round of the scheme who have not submitted their thesis are eligible to apply only where the application relates to a different period of disruption than that cited in the first round. Applications citing the same period of disruption are not eligible.

iv)   An extension of 1, 2 or 3 full-time months (or part-time equivalent) can be applied for. Applications must be made using the form above. PhD students are responsible for the addition of supervisor comments before submitting the application to their Director of Doctoral Studies by Friday 11 June 2021.

v)   Directors of Doctoral Studies must submit forms to by Friday 18 June 2021.

vi)   A multidisciplinary panel will moderate and prioritise the applications. The panel will be chaired by the Director of the Doctoral School, and will include representatives from the Social Sciences, Sciences, and Media, Arts and Humanities, and also a representative from Student Services.

vii)   The panel will assess applications against the following criteria:

  1. the extent to which the PhD student's doctoral work has been disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic (see the application form for examples of the sorts of impact that can be considered);
  2. how efforts to mitigate and adjust the project have been undertaken;
  3. health or personal circumstances along with any registered disabilities;
  4. why the specific length of extension is requested; and
  5. proximity to funding end date.

viii)   Scholarship extensions can be awarded in full, in part, or declined. Awards would normally follow the existing monthly stipend rate, and will include an allocation to Schools of pre-submission fees.
NOTE: PhD students expecting to remain on full-fees or work in labs during an extension should contact their School's Director of Doctoral Studies regarding their fee status during an extension. Whether an applicant meets the threshold for pre-submission is not relevant to any scholarship extension.

ix)   Scholarship extensions are available for completing doctoral work and not for carrying out more research or writing papers beyond doctoral work, or for funding a 'writing up' period which was to be funded by other means.

x)   Outcome letters will be emailed to applicants during the week commencing 21 June 2021. Scholarship extension payments will be made by 1 July 2021 for all PhD students, regardless of the end date of funding.  

xi)   If an award of e.g. 2 months' additional funding is made, registration will be extended by Sussex without any additional extension request being required.

xii)   Appeals can be submitted on the grounds that this process has not been followed, rather than the professional or academic judgement of the panel. Appeals to decisions can be submitted via the University Student Complaints process, using the standard Investigation Request form.

Questions regarding the scheme can be sent to



Launch SSES round 2 28 May 2021
Closing date to work with Sv, and send applications to DDS 11 June 2021 (2 weeks)
Closing date for DDS to send applications to Doctoral School 18 June 2021 (1 week)
Panel meeting w/c 21 June 2021
Funding outcome letter to PGRs w/c 28 June 2021
Payment to PGRs By 9 July 2021

Sussex Researcher School