Reserve for funding



I think I have seen a post about this at some point in the recent past so advance apologies for repeating.

I have been selected as a reserve candidate for full funding at my first choice institution to study for my PhD. Has anyone has been a reserve, and if so, did you end up getting the funding? I have been told a scholarship could become available (presumably if someone turns a scholarship offer down?!) any time between now and the start of the academic year. Of course I am hopeful and really pleased but I feel like my life will be in limbo while I wait and if one comes up at the last minute, I will have to move and sort out starting a new life in a new part of the country, apply for uni accommodation (which may be all gone!)... and have to do things very fast. If I wait until the last minute and am unsuccessful, I will then have to defer at the last minute as I can not self-fund. Any advice, experiences of this,would be very welcome!



Ah,I've just found some old posts in which the reserves were successful. Hmmmm, I am trying to remain hopeful but I want this so badly that it is tough... Also, I am worried that if I am unsuccessful, deferring at the last minute will be letting my supervisors down. Any thoughts and advice very welcome!!


I think if you have to defer at the last minute your supervisors will understand, so that should be the least of your worries. They know students rarely do a PhD if they don't have funding. Fingers crossed!


i was a reserve that was put forward for the esrc open competition and I was successful in that. its a similar experience. everyone inc sups told me it was highly unlikely as open comp is v competitive. I had another plan in the works, so id advise you to get one too. I got an email 2 weeks before course start date (!) and that was it. my advice is assume you haven't got it, fully deal with those feelings now and start working on another plan. at least start working on it.


Thanks so much for your replies, Treeoflife and keyboardplodder!

I am a humanities bod so the funding is (I have been told) horrendously competitive. What has slightly surprised me is that at different institutions I have been gives different advice. I have applied to four UK Russell Group institutions and one advised holding out until I get funding as then I am laying the foundations for winning funding, which will be a huge benefit post doc and beyond and another has told me to not rely on getting funding and have a plan to self fund because of the scarcity of the funding and the fierce competition..

My application was held back as reserve for research council funding and then I got the news that reserves above me had taken the rejected studentships so I was unsuccessful. This was a massive knock back. I am now a reserve for College funding. The reserve part, great (I am hugely grateful to have been selected as reserve) but unbelievably frustrated too. I am applying for partial scholarships externally but again, these are going to be even more competitive and I will have to get a couple to fund even the first year. I have prepared myself for a deferral of my places at the institutions I have not got funding from and am trying to prepare myself for my reserve status to be unchanged and deferral with the attached place. And then the possibility of beginning all the funding apps again in August so I can be considered in the next cycle!! I am very impatient and just want to get started on the research but unsure I'll cope with a part time PhD, it is purely personal issues with being a bit obsessive about the work I do and allowing it to be all encompassing etc.

Anyway, thanks so much again. Definitely fingers crossed -TreeofLife, and Keyboardplodder, I will endeavour to come to terms with the deferral and prepare to apply for next year and if unsuccessful again, prepare to work and self-fund part time!!!
L x


And huge congratulations in your scholarship success, keyboardplodder!! How did you manage to change everything and and begin in time (if you don't mind me asking)?
For me, although I would be absolutely prepared to, I would need to move and find accommodation, find my way around a new city and community and begin a new life in a new part of the country which I know fairly well but have never lived in... As I said, I would be totally willing to do this and it would be exciting but at the same time it is a slightly daunting prospect..!


Hi lizziejamescaroon!

I applied for two sets of 1+3 funding both at Russell Groups and was offered one outright and was a reserve for the other... I waited on the reserve and was successful.

It just depends on 1) whether a person who has been offered funding has an offer elsewhere that was their first choice, so they will reject their offer and 2) what number you are on the reserve list. I'd just say be optimistic but have a Plan B in place.

If you are offered one of your second choices, usually there is a date by which you must accept it by - so that should give time to see if you are offered your first choice. Also you can contact the funding team who have put you on the reserve list and ask by when you should know if you have been offered it - they will have a deadline for when the people who have been given offers must accept by. Finally, you can find out what number you are on the reserve list. Obviously if you are first on the list your chances are better. Hope this helps!

Oh and one more thing... if it doesn't work out this time - DON'T GIVE UP!


I am in the same cycle of waiting anxiously to know if the reserved list works out. Would you be able to tell me if you finally did get the funding? My own subject area is very uncommon within the broader subject of sociology, so I would say that perhaps the course is not that popular. The departmental funding that I've been reserved for has so far awarded many scholarships, but none to the specific course I applied for within Social Sciences. I called them up to ask the size of the reserved list pool, and got to know that there are 6 candidates along with me. Very recently, they made available 2 more awards, so I'm unsure if the reserved list size has decreased or not. I rang up to know where I stand on the reserved list, and for ethical reasons, they couldn't disclose that to me. So, now I just want to hear a third person perspective on whether I stand a chance in getting this funding, or should I give up all hope. The reserved list waiting game is full of anxiety, so insights from all of you would be much appreciated.