Obtaining extra funding

posted
19-Sep-17, 12:38
edited about 14 seconds later
Avatar for SatsumaForEveryone
posted about 2 years ago
So I'm a year in to my PhD in materials science in the UK, but through various equipment problems I was only really able to start my experiments five months in to the first year. Consequently, my supervisor has told me that he expects me to overrun on the PhD (I have another two years worth of funding), by as much as six months! Obviously I will do everything I can to work my ass off and cut that time down, but I am very worried about what will happen if I still overrun - like everyone else I have bills to pay, and while he assures me my fees would still be paid I wouldn't have a salary for the extra time!

Has anyone else been in a similar position? I know it's common to overrun for thesis writing, but I have heard of many people getting thesis-only funding - my issue is that it's possible I will need extra lab time as well, plus living expenses for however long the whole process takes.

Any advice to put my mind at ease would be greatly appreciated!
posted
19-Sep-17, 15:31
edited about 27 seconds later
Avatar for TreeofLife
posted about 2 years ago
Your supervisor can't expect you to overrun without paying you. Tell him that you need funding in order to beyond the end of your funding period. Look at your student handbook - mine says that you should submit your thesis 3 months before the end of your funding period.

Are you funded for 3 or 4 years?

For my 4th year I wasn't funded, so I survived on £800 per month - £400 was savings and £400 was from money I earned from my department (demonstrating, teaching, tutoring etc).

I tried to apply for extra funding for my 4th year from various charities but I didn't get any. You can try this link: https://www.postgraduate-funding.com/ and also check out your university hardship fund.
It's actually easier to get funding for situations like yours (equipment problems) than it would be for people just generally overrunning.

But really I would tap up your supervisor because A) I bet he could pay you if he really wanted to and B) he shouldn't be asking you to do it anyway.
posted
19-Sep-17, 15:53
edited about 8 seconds later
Avatar for SatsumaForEveryone
posted about 2 years ago
My program is four years but the first year is like a taught Masters, so I only get three years to complete the entire PhD - it's a Centre for Doctoral Training if you've heard of those, we're the first year of this particular program so we've had to deal with a lot of growing pains, so I'm not surprised this is an issue as well.

I am going to try and save more to offset some of the problem, but as I'm sure you know saving a lot while on a PhD salary is not the easiest thing in the world...

My supervisor is the director of research for the department and has advised the board of directors of my program that it is likely all of us will overrun, as it's very common on three year PhD's - in fact, other students of his who are funded by the same body (EPSRC) get 3.5 years of funding for the PhD, and while we get 4 technically only 3 of that is for the PhD itself, including write-up.
posted
20-Sep-17, 08:07
Avatar for TreeofLife
posted about 2 years ago
You should think of yours as a 4 year PhD really - most PhD students I know with a set up like yours don't get extra funding beyond 4 years and aren't allowed to overrun. They have to submit at the end of 4 years, so I'm surprised if your supervisor is suggesting that you go beyond this.

At my uni, students on these DTPs start thinking about their projects during their masters year, preparing what they need and writing literature reviews so they can hit the ground running in the first year of their PhD. They all complete within 4 years total (1 year MSc plus 3 years PhD) so there's no reason why students in your department can't do the same I would think?
posted
21-Sep-17, 09:58
edited about 9 seconds later
Avatar for SatsumaForEveryone
posted about 2 years ago
Our main issue is that we've had equipment issues that have put a halt to experiments - I started my PhD in September of last year but it was February before I was able to do any experimental work. We're getting new equipment in the next few months to replace the old temperamental stuff but the damage is already done in that regard. So while we had planned out what I was to be doing in the PhD, the issue is I wasn't able to do it right away.
posted
21-Sep-17, 11:21
edited about 6 seconds later
Avatar for TreeofLife
posted about 2 years ago
I see, yes maybe if it's affecting all students they might do something. Actually, thinking about it, something similar did happen in my department and all students who had their research affected were offered extra time and extra money. Even I got some extra funding (even though I wasn't really affected), but no extra time as I didn't really need it. So, maybe push for this in yours?
posted
21-Sep-17, 12:57
Avatar for SatsumaForEveryone
posted about 2 years ago
The equipment issues will affect me and one other person most, so maybe they'll do something about it for us. In the meantime, we got notified about a studentship award that I'm eligible for which would give me a little extra cash that I can save to prepare for potential funding loss, and I'll save as much as possible myself. We have lab demonstrating opportunities and tutoring and things I can do as well, but competition is hot for them.

Thanks for the advice everyone, I needed some reassurance that this isn't the end of the world!

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