[UPDATED – 16/04/2020] Information for LDoc students about Covid-19


Last week, the science minister announced that UKRI-funded PhD students whose studies have been disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic will be provided with additional support.


UKRI-funded doctoral students in their final year will receive an extension to their research with additional grants, known as a costed extension, of up to six months. The extension offer will apply to final year PhD awards and is in addition to the guidance already published by UKRI, including advising research organisations on how existing grants can be used to support their students.


The extension will be reviewed in four months’ time to ensure that any further impacts to doctoral training are accounted for.


Please refer to this FAQ for PhD students which has been produced by UKRI.


Previous guidance from 23/03/2020


UKRI is taking a pragmatic approach to supporting students during this time and below we cover what we expect will be the most common impacts on students.


Self-isolation (taken directly from UKRI guidance)


Where a student is ill, you should follow the standard T&Cs. For the purposes of the T&Cs, UKRI will accept any revised Government guidance regarding medical certification.


Where students are not ill, but self-isolating, you should not suspend their studentship.


In many cases students will be able to work from home even if the activities undertaken change. For short periods of self-isolation, even if they cannot work, many students will have sufficient time left that they can make this up over the remainder of their doctorate. In these cases, extensions to funded periods should not be applied.


Where self-isolating undermines a student’s ability to finish their doctorate within the funded period, an extension should be considered. In keeping with UKRI T&Cs, we would expect these to be costed extensions, funded in the first instance from any underspend on the grant. Where there is no underspend, UKRI will reconcile this at the FES stage and increase grant cash limits appropriately. Examples (not exhaustive) of when an extension may need to be applied include:


A significant period of self-isolation (we do not define significant as this is likely to be proportional to the time left in the funded period)


Postponement of critical activities where alternatives are not available. Examples could include: experiments due to take place at a national/international facility which will delay the research for a significant amount of time; access to critical archives being unavailable for a significant period


Further Guidance from LDoc:


Fieldwork / research disruptions

If you are able to continue with your research in some capacity for the time being, but are unable to undertake certain activities as a result of government restrictions, you should submit a research plan that sets out the delays and where any re-phasing of the research could be used to mitigate these. This will be used to ascertain any funding and submission date extension that may be appropriate. Please email to ldoc@rca.ac.uk


Existing SDF approvals

If you recently applied for SDF and had the request approved, but will no longer be using the funding due to the current restrictions, please email ldoc@rca.ac.uk so we can update your entitlement.

Likewise if you booked travel / accommodation for an SDF funded trip which had to be cancelled, LDoc will reimburse out of pocket expenses, but we would ask that you seek refunds from the travel providers in the first instance.


Childcare / other caring responsibilities

As with fieldwork restrictions, if your personal circumstances have changed as a result of the new restrictions, for example with increased caring or childcare responsibilities, and these are negatively impacting the time you have for research / writing, please email ldoc@rca.ac.uk with an outline of the situation and a revised research plan for the coming months so that any appropriate extension can be determined.


Suspension of Studies

If you are unable to continue with your studies at all during this time, and a suspension is needed, you should follow your HEI procedures and let the LDoc Administrator know as soon as possible so that the Je-S records can be updated.

Please note that students are not registered for this period and are not working on their research; they will therefore not be in receipt of stipend during a suspension. Where a student has already exhausted the maximum leave of absence allowance, we will need to make an exceptional request to the AHRC, so this should only be in very exceptional circumstances; we are waiting on further guidance from UKRI on this point.


Training Events/Keynotes

All in-person events are cancelled for the remainder of the academic year, but we will be looking into online training opportunities to continue to support students’ research.

If anyone has incurred travel expenses for these events, LDoc will reimburse out of pocket expenses, but we would ask that you seek refunds from the travel providers in the first instance.



Please check back over the coming days / weeks, as we will be updating this page as information from UKRI is further clarified, and the situation develops.


Useful links

Coronavirus Advice and Guidance from HEIs:

Royal College of Art

Kingston University

University of the Arts, London