Frequently Asked Questions for CDTs

If you are looking for the answer to your question, you should start by checking the terms and conditions. The grant conditions on the offer letter provide UKRI’s policy for the majority of circumstances.

Funds

Q. Can I use underspent funds from my 2013 CDT in my 2018 CDT?

A. No, funds cannot be transferred between grants. The only exception is where a part time student would go beyond the end of the grant and the grant is unable to be extended. We will be extending the 2013 CDT grants to accommodate part time students as per the training grant terms and conditions.

Q. Can the UKRI studentships be rolled over to next year?

A. Yes, however the grant will not be reprofiled and payments will be made as stated in the offer letter. The CDT will need to cover the cost of inflation for the extra year(s). However, note that no extensions to the grants are anticipated on the basis of previous years’ under recruitment. This means that any differences between the projected number of students and those recruited is expected to be actively managed by the CDT so that these are levelled by the start of cohort five.

Q. What are the categories of students and what costs can be requested from UKRI for their support?

A. The number of UKRI CDT and incorporated students should reflect the total number of students being supported by the centre as indicated on the cost table.

  • CDT students - these are the students who receive at least 50% of their studentship funding from the UKRI CDT grant. Funding towards their studentship costs (up to equivalent of 40 students' costs), and the Centre delivery costs/core training package for these students can be requested.
  • Incorporated students - These are students who form part of the CDT cohort but don't receive any studentship funding from the UKRI grant (note that students must receive either no studentship funding from the grant or at least 50%). These studentships are nonetheless entirely dependent on the existence of the Centre. For example, a student fully funded by a CDT project partner as part of the additional support required for the call. Although incorporated students cannot receive studentship costs from the grant, funding to support their core training and involvement in the CDT cohort activities can be requested.
  • Aligned students - these are students funded from a non-CDT grant source whose studentship is not dependent upon the existence of the CDT. Examples could include a student supported on a foreign government scholarship, a charity funded studentship (Cancer Research UK, Wellcome Trust etc.), iCASE students, or a DTP student from any of the UKRI Councils. Aligned students may benefit from CDT activities and training. However, if these training courses or activities will incur additional costs from the inclusion of the aligned student (for example where costs are charged on a per student basis), these extra costs must be funded from the student's own award, not from the CDT grant. Where the activity/training cost is no different if these students attend, the full cost can be covered by the CDT grant.

Q. Can self-funded students be incorporated students?

A. Fully self-funded students do not count as incorporated students. Incorporated studentship awards are those funded by the leverage received from non UKRI funds. Self-funding does not count as leverage for UKRI. Self-funded students count as aligned students as their funding is not reliant on the CDT funding. Aligned students are able to benefit from CDT activities provided there is no additional cost to their participation. As they are not receiving any funding from UKRI, the UKRI terms and conditions do not apply.

Q. Can international incorporated students be supported?

A. Yes. Incorporated students are those CDT students who are not receiving some of their studentship money from the CDT grant. The residency-based eligibility for UKRI will not apply. International fees can be charged where associated with these students. However, students must not be charged any part of their fee, including the international 'top-up', nor should they bear any responsibility for finding a funder to pay the fee (including any international element) on their behalf.

Q. Do incorporated students have to meet the UKRI eligibility rules?

A. We expect that the experience and the opportunities available to incorporated students are the same as for the CDT students supported from the UKRI CDT grant. The terms and conditions for UKRI students apply to them (e.g. sickness, parental leave etc.) including all the eligibility criteria except the eligibility specifically based on residency.

Q. Can the basic studentship costs be covered 50-50 between the CDT grant and a partner, and the partner also pay a stipend enhancement?

A. No. The stipend enhancement forms part of the studentship costs so they would then be funded at less than 50% from the CDT grant.

Q. If a project partner is willing to fully fund a student for three years, is this allowed?

A. As students must undertake a four-year programme this would constitute 75% of the studentship costs. The student would not be able to receive the remaining 25% from UKRI. Institutions would need to provide this from another source.

Q. Can a student be supported equally between UKRI and two other partners, such as the university and a company?

A. No. UKRI must fund a minimum of 50% of the total studentship costs, equal support across three partners would be 33% each.

Q: Can a project partner cover the fee and stipend costs with the RTSG funding coming from the CDT grant?

A: Technically yes, though it is unlikely that RTSG on its own would constitute at 50% of the studentship funding for the student.

Q. If we have initial cohort funding for 60 and we expect to unlock more studentships in the future, can we get the companies to pay for the additional studentships and use centre delivery costs to support them?

A. Yes, if they do not fall under the 'aligned student' category (e.g. an iCASE student). If drawing down delivery costs from the CDT grant to support more students, the applicant team will need to ensure this is not detrimental to the 'original' (60) students, e.g. a reduced training experience from that originally proposed in the funding application.

Terms and conditions

Q. The UKRI training grant terms and conditions are different to the terms and conditions on my offer letter. Which should I follow?

A. The UKRI training grants are updated periodically to take into account new legislation and harmonisation. EPSRC expects all training grants to be following the current terms and conditions. Where the training grant incurs additional costs by upholding the terms and conditions in relation to absence, compensation may be given at our discretion at the end of the training grant. Please see TGC 8 for the full details.

Management and governance

Q. The CDT is no longer recruiting new students, do I still need an independent advisory board?

Yes, CDTs will still be supporting students until the end of the grant and therefore should continue to have independent advisory boards. The centre should work with the advisory board and EPSRC contact to review the content and format of the advisory boards to ensure they retain their usefulness.

Q. Will the mid-term review be paper based or an on-site evaluation?

It is expected this will be largely paper based with an interview process. There are no on-site evaluations planned due to the high resource needed for such an approach.

Project partners

Q. Can CDTs add in more partners during the lifetime?

A. Yes. CDTs need to ensure that they have appropriate expertise and partnership from the start, however it is reasonable that the team/partnerships may need to evolve over the lifetime of the Centre. Appropriate mechanisms should be in place to recognise and manage any changes.

Students

Q. What are EU and overseas student’s eligibility for the CDT?

A. Eligibility is based on residency, NOT nationality. Any student meeting the residency eligibility, regardless of nationality, may receive a full award. It is for the university to determine a student’s residency.

Where a student does not meet the residency eligibility there are a couple of options, which do depend on nationality:

  1. Across EPSRC training grants awarded to an institution (excluding NPIF), up to 10% of the student starts may be students who do not meet the residency eligibility criteria for UKRI grants.
    • This 10% is an average across academic years and training grants so small fluctuations are permissible.
    • Students supported as part of this 10% must receive a 'full' award. This is to say that the student must receive support for all of the studentship costs not a 'fees-only' award.
    • These studentship costs can be split between UKRI and the institution or a third party, providing that UKRI's support is not less than 50% of the total studentship (i.e. 50-50 matched funding).
    • No international fees can be charged in relation to these students. The fee must be discounted to the home fee. Students must not be charged any part of their fee. It is also not permissible for an international top-up to be charged to a third party (or the grant).
    • Details of the students funded through this flexibility must be reported through Je-S Studentship Details as 'International Doctoral Scholars (IDS grant)' and the student record linked to the CDT grant.
  2. EU nationals not funded under the 10% flexibility detailed immediately above may be awarded a fees-only award.

The 10% flexibility is across each individual institution. CDTs should work with the administrations of the relevant institution to determine how the 10% rule is applied in relation to their cohort.

Q. Are incorporated students able to access the EPSRC doctoral prize?

A. Yes, especially as often is an arbitrary decision by the Centre as to which students are incorporated. We expect incorporated students to be treated with the same training conditions (i.e. the UKRI training conditions and those additional to the CDT grant award) as the students receiving studentship funding from the CDT grant.

Q. Can students undertake a write-up period?

A. Projects should be planned in such a way that it is reasonable to anticipate that a student can submit their thesis within their funded period. We would expect that the majority of students would be able to submit within their funded period, taking individual circumstances into account. Centres are reminded that funding periods can be extended to account for a number of issues that may arise during a studentship (e.g. illness) and they should consult the UKRI training conditions. However, we recognise that research may not go as planned and students may write-up after the funded period as a last resort. No costs associated with activity after the end of the funded period (Studentship) may be drawn from the grant, e.g. matriculation fees.

Q. Can students submit before the end of their funded period?

A. Yes, but costs cannot be drawn from the grant beyond the quarter within which the submission takes place.

Q. A student from the last cohort wants to go part time/needs a period of absence. Can I extend the grant?

A. This is covered by the grant. Please read the conditions for the full details and process that should be followed. In principle, EPSRC will allow a no cost extension to CDT grants for the benefit of part time students, parental leave or sick leave.