AHRC Scholarships – Information for Award Holders and Departments

This information is for all AHRC funded postgraduate research students: Doctoral, Research Preparation Masters (RPM) and Professional Preparation Masters (PPM) awards under the Block Grant Partnership (BGP) scheme, Collaborative Doctoral Awards (CDA) or scholarships attached to AHRC research grants. For the full terms and conditions of the award and allowances available, please refer to the WRoCAH website (or BGP guide for students starting before 2014).

You should read this in conjunction with the most recent Code of Practice for Research Degree Programmes which contains information common to all students on registration, fees, time limits, the Doctoral Development Programme, supervision, and thesis preparation and submission. As an AHRC funded student you are also subject to Research Council requirements, some of which are detailed here.

This page contains information on:

Award details and finances

Payment

  • Fully-funded full-time AHRC students receive a maintenance stipend at least equal to the AHRC minimum rate, tuition fees, and access to additional allowances as detailed below.
  • Fully-funded part-time AHRC students receive a pro-rata maintenance stipend at least equal to the AHRC minimum rate, part-time tuition fees, and access to additional allowances as detailed below.
  • Fees-only AHRC students receive tuition fees and access to additional allowances as detailed below.

Current AHRC fees and maintenance rates can be found on the RCUK website.

The AHRC will not pay continuation, extension or resubmission fees

The length of your scholarship will be stated in your award letter.

The AHRC pays tuition fees directly to the University. Maintenance is paid by the University, quarterly in advance, into your bank account. Payment dates for the current year and information on how to provide or change your bank details can be found on the main scholarships information page.

Undertaking paid work

The AHRC encourages research students to undertake a certain amount of paid teaching or demonstrating work. Such work can provide invaluable experience and is a useful extension to research training. You can undertake this work provided that:

  • it does not exceed six hours in any week
  • you are paid at the usual University rate and receive formal training
  • the work is compatible with your programme of study
  • your supervisor approves.

While it is not encouraged by the AHRC, full-time scholarship holders may undertake a small amount of other paid work provided that the supervisor is notified and the work does not exceed six hours per week. The AHRC will terminate an award if the holder of a full-time scholarship holds a full-time job or a part-time job that is incompatible with full-time study.

If you take up a salaried position at the University, the AHRC will not continue funding (even for part-time study) and will terminate the studentship. If it is a short term appointment it may be possible to take a leave of absence from your PhD and suspend your studentship for the relevant period.

Other income and awards

AHRC scholarships are not means-tested. Any income you receive from other sources during the tenure of a studentship will not normally affect your eligibility for an AHRC scholarship, or the level of award you receive.

Additional bursaries or grants that are intended to supplement the AHRC scholarship have no impact on the tenure of that scholarship. However, where an award is intended to provide all living expenses over a period of several months, this may have an impact on the tenure of the AHRC scholarship. You cannot hold two awards concurrently for the same purpose. If you gain an award such as a scholarship for study abroad for a year, your AHRC scholarship will normally be suspended for that period. Please contact pgr-scholarships@sheffield.ac.uk for guidance.


Additional allowances

Disabled Students Allowance (DSA)

If you have long–term disability which results in additional expenditure in connection with your studies, you may be eligible for an extra allowance. This can cover costs relating to additional daily expenses, special equipment or non-medical help. Requests for DSA must be made and agreed in advance of committing any expenditure. 

How to apply

  1. You should discuss additional support needs with the Disability & Dyslexia Support Service as soon as possible, to ensure access to appropriate support.
  2. The Disability & Dyslexia Support Service arranges a needs assessment to determine what support you require. Please let the Disability Officer know that you are funded by AHRC.
  3. The Disability & Dyslexia Support Service will confirm details of your DSA and the University will claim the funds back from AHRC.

Study visits and overseas conferences (RTSG fund)

The AHRC allocate funds to the University to support study visits, conference attendance and fieldwork for AHRC-funded doctoral students. Full details of how to apply for this funding can be found on the RTSG webpages.


Skills training

The AHRC expects funded doctoral students to receive appropriate training and support to complete a high-quality doctoral thesis and to develop the knowledge and skills necessary for future employment. The University provides this training via the Doctoral Development Programme (DDP).

GRADschools

The AHRC contributes to an annual programme of graduate schools which aim to enable research students to take control of their future and achieve their potential. The schools allow students to develop key generic and transferable skills by working in teams from a wide range of disciplines and institutions. All AHRC funded doctoral students from the second year onwards can apply to attend free of charge (travelling expenses have to be paid by the student), and the AHRC strongly encourages its students to do so.

There are three types of GRAD courses: National GRAD schools (residential courses, between three and five days in length); Local GRAD schools (run at regional level, between one and four days, residential and non-residential); and other GRAD courses (shorter sessions run at universities and at conferences designed to meet the individual needs of the institution). More details and online booking are available on the VITAE website.

Alternatively you may be able to attend an equivalent graduate school or courses organised by the University. The Doctoral Academy provides information on the courses available.


AHRC Expectations

Progress

AHRC scholarships are subject to satisfactory progress. If you do not meet the University's requirements for satisfactory progress, your scholarship may be suspended or terminated.

Location of study

You are expected to remain resident in the UK, and close to the University throughout your studentship. The AHRC expects you to attend and to maintain regular contact with your supervisor and other institutional authorities. The only exceptions are for periods of essential fieldwork or study visits, attendance at conferences, or for collaborative doctoral students, whilst working with a collaborating organisation. You should maintain regular contact with your supervisor during any extended period of fieldwork.

Submission date

Timely completion of the project is a requirement of the University and the AHRC. AHRC funded students are normally expected to submit by the end of the funded period. The maximum amount of time allowed for submission is one year following the end of the funded period for full-time students, or two years for part-time students, except where there has been a formally agreed suspension (e.g. for maternity or illness).

The AHRC submission deadline is entirely independent of any date set by the University or the Department, although these should coincide.

The AHRC will not accept a retrospective extension to a submission deadline, so it is important that you inform Research & Innovation Services at the time of any circumstance which has, or might have in the future, a bearing on your ability to meet the submission deadline.

Submission dates will normally be extended to take account of any period of suspension notified during a scholarship, but only in exceptional circumstances will they be extended on account of difficulties that arise during the writing up period. Such difficulties may relate to illness, accident, exceptional personal circumstances or maternity. Extensions will not be granted retrospectively for difficulties or periods of suspension that were not notified at the time.

Full-time students are not encouraged to take up employment until after submitting their thesis. You will find it much more difficult to finish writing your thesis whilst also in employment, and the AHRC will not accept extensions on the grounds that a student has taken up employment of any kind.

Students/ supervisors should contact pgr-scholarships@sheffield.ac.uk to inform us of any such circumstances or to discuss requesting an extension.

Final report

You are expected to complete a report at the end of your period of funding. The AHRC will contact you with details in early summer or the relevant year. Forms should be returned to the AHRC by the end of September.


Changes affecting AHRC funding

Suspensions

Scholarships are intended to be held on a continuous basis. However, if you need to interrupt your studies due to illness or personal reasons, a period of suspension may be requested.

Requests for suspension will not be approved for the purpose of employment, temporary lectureships, exchange visits, voluntary service overseas or expeditions/sport.

An award will normally be extended by the length of the suspension. Any period of suspension will also be taken into account when the AHRC calculates the submission date.

Suspensions can be approved, provided that:

  • the total period/s of suspension during the tenure of your scholarship does not exceed 12 months.
  • your supervisor has given their permission. For CDA awards, the collaborative partner must also indicate their approval of the suspension.
  • the supervisor certifies that the suspension of studies will not delay the submission of the thesis by more than the length of the suspension.
  • the request is made in advance: retrospective requests will not be accepted.

If you have already been paid maintenance for all or part of the period of suspension, the University may ask you to repay the amount that has been overpaid.

How to apply for a suspension

  1. You should discuss the need for a suspension with your supervisor. If you require further information on how this will affect your AHRC scholarship, please contact the Scholarships Team.
  2. Email the Scholarships Team to let us know you will be requesting a Leave of Absence and suspension of your scholarship.
  3. Follow the University's procedures for requesting a Leave of Absence. Make sure you enter AHRC as your funder. Providing you have emailed the Scholarships Team to let us know about your proposed Leave of Absence, you can tick the box to confirm that you have informed your sponsor.
  4. The Research Degree Support team will process the Leave of Absence and inform the Scholarships Officer who will ensure that AHRC is informed and arrange the suspension of payments.

At the end of an approved period of suspension, you should contact pgr-scholarships@sheffield.ac.uk to confirm that you have re-registered – we will inform the AHRC and your payments will resume.

Unauthorised Absence

Supervisors will report any periods of unauthorised absence must be reported to Research & Innovation Services, and scholarship payments may be suspended.

Short-term Illness

If you are prevented from working by illness for a continuous period of more than two weeks you must inform their supervisor immediately and send in a medical certificate.

Payment of your scholarship can continue for absences covered by a medical certificate for up to 13 weeks within any 12-month period. If the illness lasts, or is expected to last, for more than 13 weeks, your scholarship will be suspended and your expected submission date will be extended correspondingly. You should follow the procedures above for requesting a suspension. In these circumstances, you may wish to seek advice from SSID about other possible sources of financial support.

If you are prevented by illness from working on your thesis in the 'writing-up' year, the AHRC will consider a request for an extension to the submission date.

Maternity, Paternity and Adoption leave

If a student becomes pregnant with an expected date of childbirth that occurs during the period of the award, or adopts a child, they are entitled to take six months of maternity/adoption leave during which the AHRC will continue to pay maintenance grant and tuition fees, and the studentship will be extended accordingly. The student may also request a suspension of the award for a further six months after this period, during which no maintenance grant or tuition fees are payable. The paid period of absence and the suspension should be taken consecutively. Full details are available in the AHRC funding guide.

Students are entitled to a total of 10 days paternity leave, to be taken at any time during their partner's pregnancy or within three months following the birth. The AHRC will continue to pay maintenance grant and tuition fees during this period. This period is regarded as additional leave of absence and scholarships will not be extended. If further time is needed a request to suspend the scholarship should be made, during which the student will not be entitled to receive any maintenance grant or tuition fees.

To apply for maternity, paternity or adoption leave, you should follow the procedures above for requesting a suspension, ensuring that you include a copy of the MATB1 certificate.

Transferring between full-time and part-time study

You may, in exceptional circumstances, apply to transfer from a part-time to a full-time scholarship or vice-versa. Ideally any transfer will take effect at the beginning of a quarter (1 October, 1 January, 1 April or 1 July).

Reasons for a transfer may include changes domestic or employment circumstances. We will not normally approve a transfer for health reasons where a suspension is more appropriate, but will consider applications where medical evidence indicates that part-time study is suitable, while full-time study is not. Under AHRC regulations, any such transfer is permanent, and you may not transfer back to your original mode of attendance.

You cannot transfer in the final six-months of a scholarship award or in any writing-up period.

If you transfer status, you will be subject to the terms and conditions relating to that new status. The length of your scholarship and submission date will be recalculated accordingly. Please note that the AHRC regards 12 months full-time as equivalent to 20 months part-time. You will be asked to re-pay any overpayment of maintenance already received.

To request a transfer, you should first contact your supervisor, who must give their approval. You should follow the University's procedures for requesting a Change of Candidature – this will be processed by the Research Degree Support team who will inform the Scholarships Officer, who will then update the AHRC records and arrange any changes to payments.


Termination of awards

The AHRC will consider termination only as a last resort. However, you should be aware that the AHRC reserves the right to terminate a scholarship where a student or their University breaks any of the terms and conditions, if progress is unsatisfactory or if there is unauthorised absence.

Early submission of a doctoral thesis

If you submit your doctoral thesis before the end of your studentship the AHRC deem your studies, and funding, to have ended. They will allow you to retain the maintenance paid up to the end of the quarter in which you have submitted, but will not pay any further maintenance.

Withdrawal

If you are considering withdrawing from their studies, you should discuss this matter first with your supervisor/departmental Postgraduate Tutor/Head of Department. If, following careful consideration and discussion, you still wish to withdraw, you should follow the University's procedures for withdrawal ensuring that the date of withdrawal and brief reasons for the decision are included.

Entitlement to payments ends on the withdrawal date, and you will be expected to repay any maintenance or fieldwork contribution overpaid to you.


Who to contact

If you have any questions please contact the PGR Scholarships Team at pgr-scholarships@sheffield.ac.uk.