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Doctoral College

FAQs for Current PGR Students

**22nd September 2021 **

We are very aware that the Covid-19 global situation is affecting all our research students in different ways.  Please be assured that we hear your concerns, and we are working to ensure our research students feel supported in the current situation. The below FAQs cover a number of issues, however if you feel your question has not been answered please do not hesitate to contact doctoralcollege@qmul.ac.uk

Please see below list of FAQs relating to the current Covid-19 situation, which contains information for Current PGR Students.

Further information is available in the Queen Mary FAQ section: https://www.qmul.ac.uk/coronavirus/students/ 

This FAQ applies to research students who applied for an extension of funding and to their registration period in the Covid-19 PGR funding phase 2 process (application deadline 2nd March 2021), and whose request was either unsuccessful or partially funded.

If you wish to request a review of the Funding Panel’s decision on your application for an extension of funding and to the registration period, please complete the request form [DOC 52KB].

You can only request a review of a decision:

  • if your application was unsuccessful or has not been funded in full;
    and
  • if you consider that there may have been a procedural error in the process: for example in the Panel’s implementation of the application guidance; in any supplementary guidance given to you in the application process; in the Panel’s comments about your application.

A review cannot be requested on the grounds that your situation has changed since the original application was submitted, or of your lack of awareness of the relevant procedure, guidance and deadlines.

If you wish to please seek advice from your supervisory team and School/Institute Director of Graduate Studies before completing the form.

The request for a review of the Funding Panel’s decision on your application will be considered by an independent review panel, chaired by Professor Adrian Armstrong, the HSS Dean for Research and former chair of the Research Degrees Programmes and Examinations Board. The other members of the panel are one member of academic staff from each of the three faculties, usually a Director of Graduate Studies. Also attending will be a Students' Union VP Sabbatical Officer and a member of staff from the Disability and Dyslexia Team (DDS) in the Advice and Counselling Service (ACS). 

No members of the Review Panel were members of the original Funding Panel.

If you wish to request a review of the decision, please send the completed form to Anderson Santos, Research Degrees Office. Email anderson.santos@qmul.ac.uk  The deadline for requests is either by 9.00 a.m. on Monday, 14th June 2021 or on Thursday, 17th June 2021. The appropriate deadline has been included in the message to each student.

The Review Panel will meet on 29th June 2021.

This information will be sent to all students whose applications were unsuccessful or are partially funded.

This unsettling time due to the impact of the coronavirus, can be an emotionally and mentally challenging period for PhD students. For guidance and support around mental health and wellbeing at this time, please consult the following services.

The campus at QMUL is open and it is expected that students who need to attend campus to undertake research make appropriate arrangements to do so. Our labotories remain open to enable our students to carry out their world-leading research, with laboratory space now operating across all three faculties.

The safety of staff working in our laboratories is paramount, and this has only been made possible by following guidance to ensure that each facility is Covid-19 secure. 

Library spaces are open for study space in Mile End Library, the Graduate Centre and West Smithfield library. Additionally we have to ensure that as many materials as possible are available online. This includes not only journals and databases, but also e-books.

You are required to maintain regular contact with your supervisory team, and completing Supervision Logs on MySIS. Your supervisory team will be able to advise you on what kind of activities you should be carrying out and if there are any current barriers to this. 

If you are on a placement or internship at an external organisation, or due to start a placement or internship, you should discuss attendance with your mentor/line manager and Queen Mary supervisor, and follow the guidance about attendance issued by that organisation.

Queen Mary have guidance published on the central coronavirus web pages outlining what staff and PGR students should do if they are experiencing untenable circumstances at home and they need to return to campus.

The guidance is available on the Queen Mary Coronavirus webpages Please read this carefully and discuss your needs with your supervisor. 

We have already reopened our laboratories to enable our academics to carry out their world-leading research, with laboratory space now operating across all three faculties. The safety of staff working in our laboratories is paramount, and this has only been made possible by following guidance to ensure that each facility is Covid-19 secure. Our training activities for researchers have moved entirely online. Our libraries are open and we have worked to ensure that as many materials as possible are available online. This includes not only journals and databases, but also e-books. 

 

Researcher Development, Careers and the Library are offering all their workshops as webinars and have introduced new webinars on topics that specifically aim to address some your concerns during this time (eg sustaining connectedness with colleagues, maintaining productivity, professional development, online access to research materials and changes to the recruitment landscape).

The most up-to-date list of webinars is available on www.cpdbookings.qmul.ac.uk (search by type: Research Student). Instructions on how to join the webinars are given under the description for each individual workshop.

The QMUL campus is open and we are following UK government coronavirus guidelines.    https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus  It is expected that you are available to attend campus unless it is otherwise agreed that you should not.  please disucss this with your supervisor should you need more guidance.  

If you wish to travel internationally, for example to take annual leave or attend a conference, you must follow the coronavirus guidelines of both the UK and the country you wish to travel to, including quarrentine arrangements.

If you return to the UK from aborad you need to follow UK government travel quarrentine information here, this includes guidelines on how and when you should self isolate at home for 14 days.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-how-to-self-isolate-when-you-travel-to-the-uk/coronavirus-covid-19-how-to-self-isolate-when-you-travel-to-the-uk

Visit gov.uk/coronavirus for the latest UK government information and guidance.

For further advice, the Department for Education (DfE) has launched a new helpline to answer questions about COVID-19 related to education on 0800 046 8687. The helpline is open from 8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday. 

Queen Mary's Advice and Counselling Service have published information for current Queen Mary students with Tier 4 immigration permission. Further information can be found on the dedicated Advice and Counselling Covid-19 website

If you have concerns about your own immigration status in the UK, or that of a family member, please contact the Advice and Counselling Service for confidential advice.

Research student stipend payments that are co-ordinated by Queen Mary are paid quarterly in advance for the three month period starting on 1 October, 1 January, 1 April and 1 July, this will continue as normal in 2021/22

 

If you have any questions please contact the Research Degrees Office researchdegrees@qmul.ac.uk  

 

If you continue to work from home you and your supervisory team can continue to discuss research by telephone and online meetings. These should be recorded in your Supervision Log on MySIS in the usual way.

All research trips should be undertaken in line with QMUL Health and Safety Guidance.

If it is essential for you to do fieldwork for research continuation now, then you can do so provided you comply with the following:

You must ensure you complete the risk assessment, and give specific consideration to local Covid-19 related policies of your institution, any institutions you will be working with and the governments of any countries outside the UK if the research is to be carried out overseas. Contact your line manager or supervisor for further information.

Risk assessments need to be signed off by your Head of School or Institute and your PhD supervisor, and you must be aware that insurance cover will only remain valid if you can demonstrate to your Head of School or Institute that travel is necessary at this time and you can practice social distancing throughout the trip. Risk assessment templates for fieldwork are available on the HSD website.

UK Travel:

Research travel may be undertaken at this time, and should be done in line with government Coronavirus guidelines in the local areas you are travelling to.

International travel:

It is acknowledged that not all countries are progressing through the COVID19 pandemic at the same rate, and that local government guidance in other countries may be different from that the UK.

To travel to undertake research you must comply with the UK coronavirus guidelines as well as the guidelines of the country you are travelling to. This includes guidelines on quarrentine and vaccinations.  

Queen Mary's Ethics Committee has issued a temporary procedure in light of the Covid-19 situation which should be followed. The guidance can be found on the JRMO Website's Covid-19 Information section

http://jrmo.org.uk/media/jrmo/docs/news-and-training/QMERC-COVID-19-Guidance-for-Researchers-v3-140820.pdf

Standard annual progression processes usually will be followed. 

If you are working remotely, alternative arrangements may be made by your school/institute. For example  to hold  the progression meeting online. 

If the progression panel raises concerns about your academic progress and considers that your progress is not satisfactory, a formal assessment meeting will be held online  or in person . After that meeting, if the outcome is referral for a second attempt you will be given advice on what you need to do and a deadline for submission of material.     

If appropriate and in exceptional circumstances the conclusion of first year progression may be delayed beyond the usual deadline.

If you are working remotely or access to research facilities and fieldwork is restricted due to Covid-19 you should try to keep up with your studies as far as possible and keep in touch with your supervisory team. We recognise that students may find themselves unable to complete essential tasks and/or experiments and fieldwork in order to make progress with their research studies for a number of reasons, for example due to illness, caring responsibilities or travel restrictions. Please discuss with your supervisory team whether it would be helpful to apply for an interruption of studies.

Please see http://www.arcs.qmul.ac.uk/research-degrees/research-degree-students/interrupt/ 

Current interruptions may be rolled forward until Queen Mary re-opens. Please complete the interruption of study form to confirm that you wish your interruption of study to continue and send this to your school/institute. If you wish to re-enrol before then, for example to resume funding or because you can work on your studies from home, please contact your school/institute or the Research Degrees Office researchdegrees@qmul.ac.uk

 

Students in their final 12 months of study or who have writing up status can apply for an extension to the period of registration and the thesis submission deadline.

Please keep a good record of how much time has been lost due to the closure of the university and external resources to support your research. Keeping good records will enable you to explain the disruption to your studies and help you to plan your timetable for completing the thesis and estimating the new thesis submission date.

Information about the process for applications for extensions is available at 
http://www.arcs.qmul.ac.uk/research-degrees/research-degree-students/extension/ 

The extensions webpage and the extensions application form are being updated for changes being made during the Covid-19 situation. The webpage and the new form will be updated by 10 July 2020.

The following arrangements are in place for submission of the thesis for examination. 

The thesis may be submitted by email to researchdegrees@qmul.ac.uk or you may use the QMUL File Exchange Service at https://collect.qmul.ac.uk/ 
If the File Exchange Service is used an email must be sent to researchdegrees@qmul.ac.uk including the collect weblink on or before your thesis submission deadline. The email must be sent before 23:59 hours on the thesis submission deadline. Please copy all emails to your supervisor and school/institute research degrees manager. Please download and complete the thesis submission form at http://www.arcs.qmul.ac.uk/research-degrees/research-degree-students/thesis-submission/#Howtosubmityourthesis2 and attach this to your email to RDO. 

The two bound copies of the thesis will not be required. The thesis must be submitted as a single combined document, preferably PDF. Appendices must not be submitted as separate documents except for digital/video material. If you have any questions or need to submit additional material with your thesis, e.g. digital material, please contact  researchdegrees@qmul.ac.uk   

The date of thesis submission recorded on MySIS is the date on which the electronic copy of the thesis is submitted to RDO.

The oral examination of research degree candidates may be conducted face to face at Queen Mary or by video-link and several or all participants may attend online.

Your supervisor is responsible for arranging your viva. For further information please see the full policy on video link vivas here: Policy on remote vivas [PDF 550KB] This policy is being updated shortly to indicate that examinations can be held face to face or online, following the Covid-19 guidance in place at the time of the examination viva.

 

 

 

Requests for online vivas will be managed within your school/institute via your supervisor. There must be a Viva Convenor to arrange the viva and oversee the arrangements on the day. This should be a member of academic staff, for example a member of your supervisory team.

Online enrolment September 2021

Enrolment on your research studies programme will be completed online through the Queen Mary student portal MySIS. Once your offer of study conditions have been cleared you will be sent an email inviting you to complete enrolment online. Staff will then review your enrolment information and update your enrolment status to fully enrolled when all the data checks are complete.  If there are any outstanding checks you will be assigned temporary enrolment.

The Research Degrees Office will complete the enrolment process remotely. RDO will start to complete new student enrolment with effect from Monday 20 September.  

New students must complete their part of online enrolment on their programme by Friday 8 October 2021.   

The deadline for students with temporary enrolment status to become fully enrolled is Friday 15 October 2021.  

ID card collection 

For information about collecting your ID card please see

https://www.qmul.ac.uk/newstudents/enrolment/student-id/

More information

There is lots of information for new students here

 https://www.qmul.ac.uk/newstudents/

For more information about enrolment please see https://www.qmul.ac.uk/newstudents/enrolment/

 If you have any questions please contact the school/institute that you will be working in or pgrenrolment@qmul.ac.uk  

We know that covid-19 has impacted the studies, working and personal lives of many of our students. Queen Mary wants to support you during this challenging time. We will consider all requests for extensions fairly and will be flexible and supportive wherever we can. 

  • What is the process for allocating funded extensions?

Funded extensions (time + additional stipend payments) can be applied for at this time by PhD students whose funding ends 1st March 2020 to 31st March 2021.  This is in line with current UKRI funding extensions.  Students whose funding ends outside of these dates can currently apply for an un-funded (time only) extension. We are discussing how we support PhD students with finishing dates outside of these dates.  

Applications for funding extensions will be considered and decisions made by a specially convened Research Degrees, Programmes and Examinations Board (RDPEB). We have also asked that applications for additional funding be submitted ‘blind’ so that applications are anonymous and do not indicate applicants’ gender, age, or ethnicity. This is to allow the committee to consider applications for additional funding on the basis of the need alone, to make the process as fair as possible.  In addition to this we have undertaken an Equality Impact Assessment, and have recruited additional staff onto the RDPEB, which will assess the applications, to improve the diversity of representation.  

The Doctoral College will write directly to those who are eligible to apply for funding who do not do so to ensure that they are supported in this process.  

It is our hope to fund all applications we consider fundable.

Our criteria for funding applications as laid out in the extension form ( COVID-19 Funding Extension Request Application form [DOC 45KB] ) are as follows:

  1. Extent of disruption to studies (e.g. restriction of access to research facilities and resources) as indicated by student, supervisor, and DGS
  2. Supervision and support provided by the school/institute during this period
  3. Access by supervisor/student to other funds to support extension of stipend. Queen Mary funding for extensions should only be accessed if no other funding source is available to the student/supervisory team. 

Please also see FAQ "Am I able to apply for additional funding?" 

A response to students asking about this from Queen Mary: PhD student response [PDF 130KB]

Queen Mary has granted all PhD students a three month unfunded extension to mitigate for some of the implications of the Covid-19 pandemic.  The 3 month extensions should be updated on MySIS by Friday, 16th July 2021.  If your MySis submission date remains unchanged after 19th July 2021 please contact the Research Degrees Office (researchdegrees@qmul.ac.uk) who will look into it for you. 

Should you require a longer time extension due to Covid-19: Students in their final 12 months of study or who have writing-up status can apply for an extension to the period of registration and the thesis submission deadline. Applications are considered on an individual basis by the Research Degrees Programmes and Examinations Board. This is to allow each student to apply for the additional period they require and recognises the diversity of experiences of our research student  community. The Board meets once a month. Please keep a good record of how much time has been lost due to the closure of the university and external resources to support your research. Keeping good records will enable you to explain the disruption to your studies and help you to plan your timetable for completing the thesis and estimating the new thesis submission date.

We have revised the extension request form and application requirements to take into account the disruption caused by the Covid-19 situation.

Information about the process for applications for extensions is available at

http://www.arcs.qmul.ac.uk/research-degrees/research-degree-students/extension/

The university will arrange for a specific communication to be sent to all PGR students with a registered disability recorded  on their MySIS student portal which outlines existing support mechanisms and services for students who may require an extension to their studies.  We will also liaise with DDS colleagues to ensure that this messaging goes to all PGRs who are undergoing a disability diagnosis process through QMUL. This email will go to all disabled students with a PGR status, whether or not they are entitled to a Disabled Student’s Allowance (DSA) or registered with the university’s Disability and Dyslexia Service (DDS). Not all PhD students’ DSAs are administered by Student Finance England or its regional equivalents; some are funded by individual Research Councils. As such, students are best advised to liaise with staff in DDS as they may need bespoke advocacy to address any support issues they may face as a consequence of having to extend their programme, (this will apply equally to any students not in receipt of a DSA).

If you are applying for a funding extension, and a disability and/or physical or mental health condition has impacted on your ability to work during the period of Covid-19 disruption, please mention this in your application.

For queries regarding PhD submission and examination please contact the Research Degrees Office:

researchdegrees@qmul.ac.uk

For any other queries please contact the Doctoral College:

doctoralcollege@qmul.ac.uk

If you need to speak with someone directly, please do not hesitate to contact us via email we can arrange skype/phone meetings if needed. 

Queen Mary recognises that medically qualified research students may be asked to return to duties within the NHS to support the current Covid-19 efforts. We are aware that this will mean interrupting your research studies at short notice. 

Should you need to interrupt your research studies to return to clinical NHS duties please follow the guidance outlined below:

  1. Please inform your research supervisor and your Institute PGR research degrees administrator immediately. A list of research degrees administrators can be found in Key Faculty Contacts
  2. Please keep copies of any documentation you are sent by the NHS to confirm your recall – this should be either by letter or by email, this should confirm the date your recall starts. If you have not received any written documentation please ask for something in writing confirming the date your recall starts.
  3. Research degrees administrators can complete the Queen Mary interruption of studies application form on your behalf and obtain the approval of the institute Director of Graduate Studies. They should send the interruption form and the document confirming your return to clinical duties (with work dates if possible) to the Research Degrees Office email account researchdegrees@qmul.ac.uk with the email title ‘CLINICAL WORK INTERRUPTION’ –
  4. Research degrees administrators must keep a log of all students who have returned to NHS duties locally.
  5. Queen Mary will interrupt your research studies initially for a period of 6 months. This will extend your thesis submission date by 6 months. Should you require a longer or shorter interruption than this we will update your student record on your return to studies.  
  6. When you are able to return to study you should contact your supervisor and institute research degrees administrator two weeks before your return, who will inform the Research Degrees Office. Queen Mary will prepare your student record for you to complete re-enrolment to recommence your research studies – your thesis submission date will be updated if necessary.

If you have any questions please contact researchdegrees@qmul.ac.uk 

Queen Mary will continue to pay your stipend for the time being to ensure that you are not without pay.  Please ensure that you keep a record of time spent in clinical work so that payments made to you by Queen Mary and the NHS can be reconciled at the end of this period.