The announcement comes after months of lobbying from the Cambridge SUJean-Luc Benazet/UNSPLASH

The University has launched a Covid-19 postgraduate hardship funding scheme, which will offer up to 3 months’ extension funding to final-year doctoral students.

The Postgraduate Research COVID-19 Assistance Scheme will award hardship funding totalling £1 million.

This comes after the Cambridge Student Union (SU) has lobbied for months for the University to tackle ongoing difficulties faced by postgraduate students trying to finish their research due to disruption caused by the pandemic.

Siyang Wei, Cambridge SU Postgraduate Access, Education and Participation Officer, described the establishment of the scheme as “a testament to the power of student voices”.

Fully or partially self-funded students whose research has been delayed by the pandemic will be able to apply for up to £3,700- the equivalent to three months of maintenance at the postgraduate admissions rate.

The Student Council voted in favour of a motion regarding extension funding for doctoral students in February this year.

In response to a survey of over 600 postgraduates, it was found that more than 60% of self-funded doctoral students have been prevented from completing their course due to disruption by the pandemic.


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While externally funded students may be able to claim extensions from their research council or private companies, self-funded students may lack funding beyond the period for which they originally budgeted, which has meant many students are “experiencing or in danger of severe financial difficulties that could further delay or even prevent them from completing their studies.”

Siyang Wei commented: “The pandemic has exposed the stark reality of the postgraduate funding crisis, and we’ve forced the University to start acknowledging their own responsibility to students in the face of this reality.”

“This scheme isn’t perfect,” they added, “but it’s a big step forward that we hope will go some way to alleviating the financial pressure on some of our most vulnerable research students. We welcome any feedback and will continue to lobby the University for more support for postgraduates over the summer.”