Has anyone been successful in applying to local charitable organisations or trusts for funding, or help with other costs, i.e. books purchases or other bits and bobs? I ask particularly those of you pursuing a doctoral research in arts & humanities since funding outside research council or faculty scholarship seems pretty scarce. Also, has it helped anyone secure funding later on? I'm in a situation where i'm trying to find any means of making my funding applications appear more attractive... Ho hum,
You're brave - I'm not trying anymore. I have just received the file and have already ticked the "unsure" boxes and stated it's the (unlikely) university stipend or nothing...
I assume finding sources of funding other than universities or AHRC largely depends on your topic. I don't know of any charity collecting funds for psotgrads (we would all be praising it right here right now, lol), so I guess most charities etc. would help IF your topic is related to their action - or if you have any (learning) disability that they address in particular.
Wish I could be more helpful...
Good luck anyway :)
If you not get the university studentship, have you thought about doing a year self-funded so that you increase your chances of being successful the next year? That's what i've been advised to do. It's gonna be hard - raiding my savings, loans, and handouts from family - but i think it is doable.
I guess what you've gotta ask yourself is how badly do you really want to do a PhD?
Anyway the best of luck to you
Well, I say "advised". What i mean is that after considering all the permutations of trying to fund a PhD - p/t, f/t, grants, self-funded etc., and following discussion with my supervisor, I think it is perhaps the best option (for me at least). Having been offered a place to do research, I've missed out on AHRC funding this year owing to the new 'quota' system and my only fallback option is the university studentship. What i am trying to do is put myself in the best possible position for funding next year - a self-funded year would definitely help in that regard. The alternative is to do it p/t, which lessens the 'window of opportunity', so to speak.
Obviously, if you have reservations, i'd be grateful if you shared them.
hi there, yes indeed, i was in a similar situation. i applied for my PhD when it was way too late for the standard funding pots, and i really wanted to come do my PhD here with this supervisor, and thought that once i had secured the PhD position, funding wouldn't be too hard to get by (due to my excellent grades, the good name/rating of my university, excellent recommendations, etc.). how wrong can you be?
so i gave myself a year of self-fundedness - i did not want to do my whole PhD self-funded (plenty of experience of that in the past) and decided if i hadn't managed to get funding by the end of that year, i'd quit.
my whole first year i was basically caught up with applying for funding. i managed to get into the ESRC open competition but was told that it is harder to get their grants when you've already started. and indeed, it didn't work out. in total, i got about 10 negative answers. that in itself was extremely demoralising. i still don't know which ones i hated more - those that gave reasons or those that didn't. every single application takes so much work - i'd better have done some regular work for a wage in that time ...
anyway, at the end of that year, i had nothing. and as some people here might recall, i was indeed very close to quitting. then i got a grant from my uni, which covers the 2nd year fees plus a little extra (but far from enough to live on, just about £150/month - and by now my savings had vanished). and that made it harder to quit... my partner, my family, all pitched in and didn't let me. so i started into my second year, same as first - writing funding applications. oh and behold - one of them worked out! ah, it's just 16 months that they are paying me, but hey, with the 1.5 years that i'd already done, that adds up to nearly the end. except that, as i put so much time into all those applications, my PhD didn't get as much time as it should have. so, there is still a big question mark about how i'm going to get by for the last 12 months or so. at least, the fees will be less.
so, from my experience:
- if you are going to be writing funding applications all year anyway, why don't you wait with starting your PhD until the funding is secured? you know that you can defer your place to next year? i'd really, really, consider this.
- but if you really want that PhD, and i mean THAT PhD and no other, and you are dog-headed and can take set-backs without being set back, and can live with insecurity - never knowing where the next money will be coming from, if there will be money coming in or not, if you are really going to finish this PhD or rather quit due to financial reasons... and you can bear working with other PhD students who might seem dumb and/or lazy but got these generous grants, several of them even, and who still complain about their lack of money... well, i guess it's doable. not easy, though.
as to your other question: yes, i have indeed heard that money attracts money. so even if you only got a little sum from A, that might increase your chances to get that big grant from B. BUT as every funding application is so much work and sometimes for so little money, it's questionable if it really pays. i am SO glad i don't have to grab at every little straw of hope anymore!
as to what kind of charities to approach: you could search http://www.educationuk.org/pls/hot_bc/page_pls_user_advice?x=&y=&a=0&d=4460
and indeed, once you are a registered student, some further options might turn up - for example hardship funding which at my uni is only available to second year students and higher, or your uni could have a good financial support office which might help you.
oh dear, turned out to be a long post. in brief:
- do you have a plan for what you will do if AHRC funding next year does not work out? will you quit? go part-time? are you ok with that?
it is, after all, highly competitive; and there is a significant element of chance. being a brilliant student is no guarantee.
- do you have a second opinion confirming that your chances will be higher after a self-funded year? with the ESRC it is def. the other way round.
- can you bear the insecurity? do you really want THAT PhD?
I'd say that basically, it's a risk. I suppose the question you have to ask yourself is that if you self fund for a year and don't get funding after that, would you have to give up your PhD or would you be able to find ways to self fund for a further year (or years!)?
I'm self funded with a full time job. It feels worthwhile to me but it's also a struggle - and just in case you're thinking of topping up your income by working at all - bear in mind that you have to be super organised and disciplined. For me it was a major lifestyle shift in that you simply don't get time to call your own any more.
Good luck. I hope you get some more useful comments from that other forum member - as mentioned above.
Has anyone of you ever considered doing a PhD abroad? There are countries (for example the Netherlands) where funded PhD positions are the norm and you get a contract with regular working hours etc and count as a member of staff. Not every PhD position abroad necessarily requires knowledge of the country's language. The Netherlands is very well endowed with funded PhD positions. You might just find your dream PhD position in another country, have a look outside the UK. I knew I would never be able to get funding in Germany so I only applied to funded positions in the Netherlands (and in the UK). I ended up getting one in England, but that was pure coincedence and I wasn't expecting that seeing as my chances in the Netherlands were a lot better due to the large amount of funded positions.
swantje, i turned down a funded position in switzerland. that was a really tough decision! the prospective supervisor approached me in the middle of my final master's exams - so i was a bit distracted, but flattered. but after a few meetings it became clear that what he wanted me to do was totally not what i wanted. and what i wanted to do had no space whatsoever in this position. so i decided to look for something else. in hindsight, sometimes i wonder if i should just have taken the job. it would have been good money. but it might very well have meant that i'd have been miserable all the time.
i would have loved to stay in switzerland. but my problem was that my field hardly exists there. so, had to look internationally if i was going to follow my interests. and had to take the risk of being unfunded.
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