Students in pandemic

UCL Phase 2 COVID extensions for UKRI students

Phase 2b. NOW CLOSED


Students can apply by invitation ONLY. Students should receive an invite to apply from their administrator or the grant holder for their studentship.

The reason for this requirement is because departments need to check the status of the home training grant underspend before the student applies. Departments should enquire with Programme managers or grant PIs if they are unsure regarding the underspend status of a grant.

Invitations to apply will be based on students meeting the following criteria:

  • UKRI funded students registered at UCL whose research has been impacted by COVID-19 and who are unable to mitigate the impact or adjust their projects to complete on time.
  • Students who do not have any genuine existing underspend [1] available on their home training grant.

Please also note the following regarding eligibility:

  • There are no longer any restrictions owing to start dates.
  • For students in exceptional circumstances who have previously received a Phase 1 or 2 extension but now require a further extension owing to their situation changing due to the third national lockdown or other personal circumstances, they are also eligible to apply.
  • For students who have underspend remaining on their home training grant, they should be considered in the ‘Phase 3’ process which is programme/grant-led (similar to Phase 1).


After students are invited to apply, they need to decide which stream to apply for given their current funding end date. If a student applies for the fast track stream and their funding end date is after 1 December, the application will be automatically moved to the standard stream.

Students should notify their department they plan to apply and should advise which stream they are applying for as departments will need to complete a departmental approval form. We will match the student application form and the departmental approval form based on the UCL student number. We will not review any application that does not have both forms completed. We are advising that departments complete the approval forms concurrently to students completing their applications as the deadlines are tight and when many are away on leave (we don’t want you beholden to each other’s schedules). If a departmental approval form is completed for a student who ends up not applying, we will simply discard it.

After the respective deadlines, applications will be reviewed by one central panel with representation across the Faculties. We will use the contact details provided in the departmental application form to notify the department of the outcome and collect any remaining information we require.


20 August at 12pm: Fast track stream deadline – only available for those whose funding end date is on or before 1 December 2021.

Outcomes by 30 September for fast track stream.

15 September at 12pm: Standard stream (final) deadline for all other applications.

Outcomes by 30 November for all remaining.

Application links

Additional information for departmental administrators

Phase 3

Underspend [1] created using the latest flexibilities announced by UKRI, e.g. reduction in recruitment 2021/22. This should be used in Phase 3 funding extensions AFTER we have used all the Phase 2 funds. We should not create additional underspend until we have used all the additional funding given to us from UKRI in Phase 1 and 2.

Useful links

_ _ _

[1] Definition of genuine existing underspend

This includes:

  • Funds released due to students finishing early or withdrawing; historical under recruitment
  • Funds released due to training activities becoming cheaper by running online (or being cancelled where necessary)

This does NOT include:

  • Delayed spend, e.g. training activities not done this year but might be run next year for same cohort
  • Predicted RTSG underspend, e.g. if there is ringfenced amount per student, this needs to stay available till student end date

Underspend created using the latest flexibilities announced by UKRI, e.g. reduction in recruitment 2021/22. This should be used in Phase 3 funding extensions AFTER we have used all the Phase 2 funds. We should not create additional underspend until we have used all the additional funding given to us from UKRI in Phase 1 and 2.

Last edited: Thu 15 July 2021

Phase 2a. NOW CLOSED



You must be:

  • a UKRI-funded doctoral student who started their doctoral studies before 1 March 2020
  • have a funding end date from 1 April 2021 onwards
  • have not submitted their doctoral thesis
  • have not already received a UKRI-funded extension under the initial UKRI policy (this will include if you have had an extension agreed to be funded through grant underspend)

UPDATE: UKRI have now confirmed that students who started their doctoral study before 1 March 2020 but whose doctoral funded period started later ARE eligible to apply, provided that no other COVID-19 financial mitigation had been applied at the point at which they were awarded UKRI studentship funding.

UKRI have identified those with additional support needs such as disabled students, those with long term illness, who are neurodivergent, or who have caring responsibilities as groups who may find it especially difficult to adapt their projects to complete within their funded period. However, all eligible students will have equal access and consideration in the decision-making process.

N.B. Non-UKRI funded students will be addressed in a separate process.

How to apply

Information to prepare for your application:

  1. Student number (this is on your UCL ID card and Portico)
  2. Research council you are funded by
  3. Date your studentship began (can be approximate)
  4. Current funding end date (you may need to ask your administrator to look this up in Je-S for you)
  5. Information about any prior interruptions or extensions
  6. Information about your stipend (I don't know is an option)
  7. Brief explanation of what factors have impacted progression of your doctoral study
  8. Brief explanation of how you have attempted to mitigate impact to your progression (attempts to mitigate are required by UKRI)
  9. New estimated submission date
  10. Justification of why funded extension is needed

Your application must be made using this ONLINE FORM. The application form is available as a PDF preview so that you can prepare your answers in advance.

You should discuss your answers with a member of staff, usually your supervisory team, before inputting into the online form to ensure you are supplying the review panel with accurate and appropriate information to make the best decision based on your needs.

Please note, if you do not wish to discuss your application with your supervisory team, please consider the following staff instead, in this order: Thesis committee (if you have one), Departmental Graduate Tutor, Faculty Graduate Tutor, Doctoral School.

Deadline 3pm, Wednesday 10th February, 2021

We understand that some students and/or their supervisors may have personal circumstances which may make it difficult to meet this deadline. If you are concerned about completing the application process by the deadline owing to extenuating circumstances, please email for advice or support.

How and when your application will be reviewed

Applications will be reviewed by two panels:

  • A local discipline/Council-specific panel: this will usually be chaired by your Programme Director if you are part of a Programme
  • An institution-wide review panel: this panel will be chaired by the Pro-Vice-Provost of the Doctoral School and will have representation from all academic areas of UCL as well as the Equality and Wellbeing teams

The local panel will initially review your application and score it based on the criteria listed below. They will also make a suggestion as to how long an extension they think you would benefit from. Please note, most extensions will not be longer than 3 months.

Your reviewed application will then be sent to the institution-wide panel for further review and prioritisation. All applications, regardless of their initial assessment, will be reviewed by this panel. The local panel is simply to ensure those who are more closely connected to your subject area, broadly speaking, have been involved in the process.

After the review panels meet, they will then need to work with the managers of the various grants (including grants held by other universities which are funding UCL registered students) to finalise the outcome. Students cannot be notified until after this has taken place.

We expect the majority of students to be notified by 31 March. However, if your current funding end date falls in April, we will endeavour to fast track your application and give you some indication of outcome more quickly.


  1. Impact on project – these impacts will be considered equally, irrespective of discipline; and on an equal basis as personal impacts.
  2. Impact on person – these impacts will be considered on an equal basis as impact on project.
  3. Effort made to mitigate – UKRI have specified that all students must try to mitigate; extensions will not be made simply to cover time lost owing to COVID.
  4. Barriers to mitigation – we recognise that despite trying to mitigate, some circumstances and projects will be easier to amend than others.

Appeals process

As all applications will be reviewed by two separate panels, made up of a wide range of academic and support staff across the institution, it will not be possible to request an appeal if you disagree with the outcome of your application.

However, if you think that the published institutional process has not been followed, you may contact to raise your concern. Please clearly mark your email PHASE 2 APPEAL in the subject line. Your application will then be reviewed again by the central review panel in light of this new information; in cases where the outcome remains unsuccessful, we will escalate this to an independent appeals panel to make a final decision.

Further information

For further information, please see the Frequently Asked Questions PDF document, available from the UKRI COVID impact web page.