Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) funded studentship awards are governed by UK Research and Innovation (‘UKRI’) Terms and Conditions for training grants, available at: https://www.ukri.org/publications/terms-and-conditions-for-training-funding/.
For students in receipt of a Norwich Research Park Biosciences Doctoral Training Partnership (‘NRPDTP’) or Doctoral Training Partnership CASE (‘NRPDTP CASE’) studentship award, the following additional Terms and Conditions (‘Terms’) shall also apply.
In the event of a conflict between the UKRI Terms and Conditions and these Terms, the UKRI Terms and Conditions shall prevail.
NRPDTP and CASE Studentships will normally be held on a full-time, fees and maintenance basis, but may, under certain circumstances, be held on a part-time pro-rata basis. Some of these conditions will not apply to part-time awards. Where a condition does not apply to awards on one of these bases, this is indicated. The studentship awards are available to candidates admitted to study for a postgraduate research degree at the University of East Anglia (‘University’) who meet the UKRI eligibility criteria as described in the Terms and Conditions of Training Grants.
Studentships will normally be funded for a total period of up to 48 months on a full-time basis, subject to satisfactory progress monitored by the relevant institute or in the case of the University, the school of study, through the annual review of research student progress. Satisfactory progress and continuation of funding will be reviewed by the NRPDTP Management Board (‘Management Board’). The period of award may not exceed the period of study of the student.
The period of award will normally cease at the end of the calendar month of the date of first submission of a thesis for examination if this is before the end of the student’s period of study. The submission of the thesis is taken to mark the end of PhD studies.
In some cases, students may submit their thesis prior to the end of their award. Where the student continues to undertake work that is directly linked to their thesis, consideration may be given for the doctoral award to continue until the end of the quarter in which the thesis was submitted. If the student submits on or after the original end date then the funding must cease on the end date. Students wishing to extend their award in this way must apply to the DTP Director in writing to make a case for any continuation of the award under these circumstances.
Awards may be held part-time but will not be less than 50% of full time. A change in the mode of study may be permissible but normally only one change of study during a studentship will be approved and this change should not be in the final 6 months of a studentship.
Place of Tenure
The student must live within a reasonable travel-time of their place of study or collaborative organisation to ensure that they are able to maintain regular contact with their supervisor, the University and their institute (where a student is based at one of the research institutes). This is to ensure students are able to access the full support, training and facilities available to them. The only exceptions to this will apply during periods of absence that are an agreed and essential part of study, e.g. conference attendance, study visits or professional internships or placements.
Termination, Suspension or Continuation of Award
The NRPDTP expects students to complete their training in a single continuous period and does not encourage the suspension of awards. The award will normally be suspended during a period of interruption to period of study formally approved by the University. The process for the approval of interruption to period of study is set out in the University’s ‘Code of Practice for Research Degrees’.
Where suspensions are agreed, the total cumulative periods of suspension for any reason must not normally exceed 12 months over the period of the award.
The Management Board may also terminate or suspend this award with one month’s notice if the student’s behaviour, attendance, engagement or progress is deemed to be unsatisfactory (including where they fail to meet NRPDTP training or any other mandatory requirements of BBSRC and the Management Board) and/or they are in breach of the regulations of the University. Awards may also be terminated where the student is in breach of their institute’s or the University’s regulations or policies relating to professional conduct and the conduct of research.
Continuation of the award is dependent on the student successfully completing their probationary period.
Continuation of the award is dependent on the student’s project being within the BBSRC research remit and on approval by the Management Board. Students must apply to the Management Board in order to make any major change to their NRPDTP funded research project.
The student can terminate this award with one month’s written notice to their supervisor and the Management Board, detailing the reasons for termination.
Payments will be stopped during any unauthorised absence and those already made during a period of unauthorised absence will be recovered from the student.
Maternity, Paternity, Parental and Adoption Leave
Although individuals funded under these terms and conditions do not have a statutory entitlement to maternity, paternity or adoption leave, UKRI will provide funding for leave entitlements which mirror the statutory schemes in force at the time. UKRI also provides an unpaid parental leave scheme.
UKRI funded students are entitled to 52 weeks of maternity-equivalent leave if the expected week of childbirth will occur during the period of their award. The earliest maternity leave can commence is 11 weeks before the expected week of childbirth. The main adopter of a child placed during a studentship is also entitled to 52 weeks of leave.
Where a student takes a period of leave equivalent to maternity leave, or adoption leave taken by the main adopter only, students will have the right to the following payment terms:
- The first 26 weeks should be paid at full stipend rate, pro-rated as necessary for part time students.
- The following 13 weeks should be paid at a level commensurate with statutory maternity pay (https://www.gov.uk/employers-maternity-pay-leave).
- The final 13 weeks are not paid.
Students who would be entitled to paternity leave under the statutory scheme are entitled to up to two weeks paid Ordinary Paternity Leave on full stipend. Ordinary Paternity Leave cannot start before the birth and must end within 56 days of the birth.
Under the unpaid parental leave scheme, eligible students will be entitled to an extended period of unpaid parental leave, up to a maximum of 50 weeks, with their studentship extended accordingly.
Partners are also entitled to an extended period of unpaid parental leave, up to a maximum of 50 weeks, with their studentship extended accordingly. Unpaid parental leave must be completed within 12 months of the birth of the child. This leave may be taken in up to three blocks of leave or all at once.
In respect of birth parents, eligible students are those who will share primary responsibility for the child with its birth mother. In respect of adoptive parents, eligible students are those who are the spouse, partner or civil partner or the primary adopter. Students are only entitled to take one of either maternity/adoption-equivalent leave or unpaid parental leave per birth/placement of a child.
Unpaid parental leave must be completed within 12 months of the birth or placement of the child. This leave may be taken in up to three blocks of leave or all at once.
There is no qualifying period for maternity, paternity, parental or adoption leave. Additionally, their Studentship end date should be updated to reflect the period of leave.
Where a student is paid a maintenance stipend during their period of paid maternity, ordinary paternity or adoption leave and then decides not to return to study or returns for a period of less than 12 weeks, they will normally have to pay back the stipend payments received during the period of paid leave in full.
It is acceptable for a student to return to study on a part time basis as long as it is at least 50% full time equivalent.
Keeping-in-Touch (KiT) Days
Except during the first two weeks after childbirth, students can agree to work or attend training for up to 10 days without bringing the period of maternity leave to an end and without loss of Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP).
If a student attends for a KiT day whilst receiving a full maintenance stipend i.e., during the first 26 weeks of maternity leave, they will not be paid any extra for the hours they attend. If the student attends for a KiT day during an Additional Maternity Leave period i.e., from week 27 to 52, they will be paid the basic daily rate (regardless of the actual hours worked) less appropriate Maternity, Adoptive/Maternity Support Pay (SMP) they are receiving.
Any work you do as a KiT day, even as little as half an hour for example, will be counted as a whole day when considering the maximum 10 KiT days that can be attended.
KiT days can be taken as single days or in a block. Example KiT day: A student attends a training session during their Additional Maternity Leave (during weeks 27-52). The session lasts for 3 hours. The student will be paid the basic daily rate applicable at that time less the appropriate daily SMP rate, and will have used one KiT Day.
KiT days are not mandatory and is entirely a matter for agreement between the student and supervisory team. KiT days should be used for specific tasks and activities directly related to the student’s project. Any KiT days worked will not extend the period of maternity leave.
Medical Absence (Sick Leave)
Periods of illness of up to 7 days should be self-certified and longer periods supported by a medical certificate and reported to the supervisor and their Graduate School.
Payment of the studentship may continue for absences covered by a medical certificate for up to 13 weeks within a rolling 12-month period. An extension commensurate to the period of absence will be granted to the student’s period of funding on their return to study.
If the student’s illness lasts for more than thirteen weeks, they should apply for a suspension to their studentship award. The student should apply to the University and their school or institute for the period of interruption. Stipend payments will not be available from the award during a period of interruption.
Students returning from a long-term sickness absence may request a phased return to their studies if this is supported by a fit note confirming the student’s fitness to work. The student can receive a full stipend for this period. This arrangement is limited to a maximum of four weeks and must be part of a written plan to return to working full-time. If this arrangement is used, then the student’s funding end date and submission due date will be extended for the period of sick leave taken during the phased return. This arrangement should not be used where there is a clear need for the student to move to part-time on a longer-term basis.
International students should refer to the University’s policy on Attendance and Engagement. In all cases, advice should be sought from the International Student Life Advisors as early as possible to ensure UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) compliance is maintained.
A minimum of 30 days to a maximum of eight weeks annual leave (including public holidays and University closures) during any 12-month period may be taken subject to prior agreement with your supervisory team. Students undertaking work in collaboration with non-academic partners are expected to consider their obligations to those partners in planning leave.
Leave not taken in any annual leave year may not be carried over to the following annual leave year nor will it extend the studentship.
Requests for short-term time off for emergencies, e.g. to deal with crisis incidents affecting dependents, and/or compassionate leave, will be given due consideration. This can be either paid or unpaid leave, dependent on the individual circumstances. A maximum of 5 days paid leave will be granted per annum in total. Each case will be considered on its merits and alternatives such as taking holiday and unpaid leave may be explored where more appropriate.
At a minimum, a bereaved parent will be entitled to two weeks paid leave in the event of the death of a child under 18 years of age. For other emergencies and/or compassionate leave the exact number of paid days will depend on the individual circumstances but will not usually be more than 5 days.
Professional Internship (PIPS), CASE Placements and Other Training Requirements
In accordance with the requirements of the BBSRC and the Management Board, all NRPDTP students must participate in a three-month professional internship, normally during the 2nd or 3rd years of their study and submit within one month of completion a report to BBSRC in a required format as specified at the time. This internship will provide relevant training to enhance the student’s professional and career development and should not be directly related to the student’s research project. Students must pass their probationary review in year one before undertaking their internship.
For NRPDTP CASE students, the professional internship is replaced by an equivalent or longer CASE placement. The placement must be at least 3 months and no longer than 18 months in duration. Placements may be undertaken in blocks or spread out as appropriate with regard to the needs of the project. CASE students are also required by BBSRC to provide a written report to BBSRC after completion of their placement.
An appropriate risk assessment must be made prior to the professional internship/CASE placement which should be approved by the Director of the NRPDTP.
Students must also complete a programme of mandatory and elective training as specified by the Management Board and revised from time to time.
Satisfactory progress is dependent on timely completion of all required training (including PIPS and CASE placements) to the prescribed standard.
As part of their research plan Students may agree with their supervisors a programme of absence from their school or institute for fieldwork, data collection or other absence associated with their research. Approval must be obtained through completion of a Research/Fieldwork Absence Approval form and a risk assessment form. This should be approved by the primary supervisor and Institute PGR Director.
Undertaking of Paid Work during the Award (not applicable for part-time students)
Students in full-time employment are not eligible for a stipend of any kind from the NRPDTP or the Research Councils.
Students will be permitted to undertake small amounts of academic work as part of their training, subject to the approval of the student’s supervisor.
The time spent within the expected studentship hours of 37.5 hours per week for a full-time student (pro rata for a part-time student) carrying out teaching, demonstrating or research assistantship activities including preparation and marking should not normally exceed six hours per week for a full-time student (pro rata for a part-time student), and must not exceed 180 hours in total per year. The time spent should not interfere with the progress of the doctorate.
Students may undertake other work outside of the expected studentship hours, provided that any UKRI, legal or immigration restrictions are also complied with. The NRPDTP Management Board strongly recommends that students do not work more than 48 hours per week overall (including doctoral research).
Supervisors will advise the NRPDTP Director if they consider that employment is adversely affecting the studies of a student and the NRPDTP Director will consider whether the award will be continued.
Payment and Overpayment of Stipends
Stipends will normally be paid on a monthly basis, in advance. If a stipend is received for a period during which the student is not formally in study (for example, if a student intercalates for a reason other than paid maternity leave or takes full-time employment), or if other overpayment occurs, the Management Board will require the student to return the overpayment. The Management Board will take steps to recover any outstanding amounts that remain unpaid.
Where a studentship is terminated by the Management Board or by the student (for example where a student withdraws from a programme), the Management Board, institute or University will not seek repayment of any of the stipend received to that point, except in cases where there has been overpayment. For example, a student withdrawing from the University with a formal leave date of 1 November would be required to repay the proportion of any stipend already received in advance for the period of study following that date, but would not be expected to repay stipend for the period preceding that date.
Where a student is paid a stipend during a period of leave and then decides not to return to study, they will normally be required to pay back the stipend payments received during the period of leave.
University Degree Regulations
The University’s Regulations for the Degree of Master of Research, Master of Philosophy or Doctor of Philosophy (as appropriate) will continue to apply to students.
Data Protection and Use of Data
All UKRI funded students and researchers are required to report to UKRI certain information and data relevant to their research and training as specified by UKRI. Data collection may be via an online site and required within specified time limits. Timely completion of reporting requirements to UKRI will be considered during progress review meetings. Students should discuss with their supervisors to determine whether any of the information required may be commercially sensitive or restricted under confidentiality agreements.
Use of Student Data
No personal data will be shared between NRPDTP partners unless students have been informed in advance and the sharing can be justified under the General Data Protection Regulations, by consent or some other means.
The NRPDTP will retain student personal data for the periods specified in the University of East Anglia Postgraduate Research records retention schedule unless students have been informed in advance and the retention can be justified under the General Data Protection Regulations, by consent or some other means.
The terms and conditions of BBSRC training grants place a responsibility on universities to provide information about students and their projects. The BBSRC and the NRPDTP will use information provided about students in receipt of an award from the NRPDTP and their supervisors for monitoring purposes and policy studies in relation to the BBSRC’s involvement in postgraduate training, including statistical analyses in relation to the evaluation of research and the study of trends.
Information may also be used to contact BBSRC-funded students.
To meet BBSRC’s and UKRI’s obligations for public accountability and the dissemination of information, details of training and research grants may also be made available on their Gateway to Research, their web sites and other publicly available databases, and in reports, documents and mailing lists. Gateway to Research is a web-based portal that publishes information about funded research that can assist businesses and other interested parties to identify potential partners in research organisations to develop and commercialise knowledge, and thereby increase the impact of publicly funded research. It provides better access for the research community, business and the public to information on research funded by the seven Research Councils and Innovate UK.
The NRPDTP will provide on request to BBSRC and UKRI a description of a student’s area of study (updated abstract) and this may be included in any of the Research Council’s publications, such as Annual Reports or on their websites.
The following information about training grants and funded students will routinely be made publicly available:
- Student name
- Aggregated information regarding student numbers, stipend levels, qualifications, age at start, migration levels (from first degree university to another) etc.
- Name(s) of project partner organisations and supervisors
- Project titles and topics
- Project summaries
- Numbers of students in particular regions, universities or departments in context of the training grant funding announced
- Registration and expected submission dates.
Information will be retained, after completion of the Masters or PhD, for policy studies involving analyses of trends in postgraduate training and reporting on these to government bodies such as DSIT. The Management Board and the University will pass personal details on to BBSRC or UKRI for the above purposes and as detailed above.
Use of Training Proposal or Training Grant Data
The Research Councils will use information provided on the training grant proposal, or equivalent, for processing the proposal or in relation to the administration of the training grant, for the award of any subsequent grant, and for the payment, maintenance and review of the grant. This includes data submitted through the Je-S ‘Student Details Portal’ (SDP).
Use of submitted data may include:
- Registration and processing of proposals
- Operation of grants processing and management information systems
- Preparation of material for use by reviewers and peer review panels
- Administration, investigation and review of grant proposals
- Sharing proposal information on a strictly confidential basis with other funding organisations
- To seek contributions to the funding of proposals
- Statistical analysis in relation to the evaluation of postgraduate training trends
- Policy and strategy studies
- Meeting the Research Councils’ and UKRI’s obligations for public accountability and the dissemination of information
- Making it available on the Research Council’s web site and other publicly available databases, and in reports, documents and mailing lists.
It is the responsibility of the student and supervisors to actively communicate their research to the public at both local and national level, and to raise awareness of the role of science and research in any related issues of public interest.
Bullying and Harassment
The University, the Institutes and the NRPDTP have a zero tolerance in all instances of misconduct, bullying, harassment, discrimination, assault, sexual or domestic violence. All reports of inappropriate behaviour and conduct will be thoroughly investigated and recommendations and/or actions in line with the disciplinary policy, equality and diversity policies, contract of employment, and UEA student regulations will be implemented.
Changes to these Terms and Conditions
Subject to any conflict with the UKRI Terms and Conditions, these NRPDTP Terms may be amended from time to time at the discretion of the Management Board.