UKRI opens postgraduate funding up to international students

The move will help the UK “attract talent from around the globe”, research funder says

August 24, 2020
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The UK’s main research funding body will allow international students to apply for postgraduate funding from the 2021-22 academic year.

UK Research and Innovation said it would limit the proportion of international students appointed each year through doctoral training programmes to 30 per cent of the total.

According to UKRI, as international PhD students “play a valuable part in the UK’s research system, contributing skills, ideas and networks”, the move will ensure that “the UK, which is a world leader in research and innovation, is able to attract talent from around the globe”.

All funded PhD students will be eligible for both the allowance to support living costs and fees at research organisations at the UK rate.

The funding will not cover the international fees set by universities, but students “will be given the flexibility to find international tuition fees from other sources”, UKRI said.

UKRI said the new eligibility criteria will come into effect from August 2021 and that they will not apply to students who started their degree in previous academic years. Further details will be set out later this year, it said.

European and Swiss nationals who are starting UKRI-funded programmes in 2020 will remain eligible for funding under the same terms, which were guaranteed by the UK government in July 2019.

Amanda Solloway, the science minister, said that international PhD students are “invaluable to supporting our world-leading research across a range of disciplines, providing new energy, ideas and creativity. I am delighted that they will now be eligible for UKRI-funded PhDs in the UK.”

“Through our ambitious R&D Roadmap, we want to make it easier for top global science, research and innovation talent to come to the country so we can cement the UK as a science superpower,” she said. “Today’s measure is a key part of that.”

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