Falling Short: Response to UKRI’s Phase 1 and Phase 2 Support for PhD researchers During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Ellie Munro, Sean Heath

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned reportpeer-review


The Falling Short report published in early 2021 came out of the collective frustration Pandemic PGRs experienced due to a lack of support from government, funders, and universities, and is a direct response to this and UKRI’s Phase 2 Doctoral Funding Extension Policy. The report highlights how the UKRI’s Phase 2 Doctoral Funding Extension Policy in inadequate. First, it disregards the evidence of the plight of PGRs throughout the country, evidence that was gathered during research commissioned by UKRI itself. It disregards the needs PGRs have for funded extensions to be able to continue and complete their projects, and presents qualifying criteria for extensions which are unfair, inflexible, non-inclusive, and unsympathetic to the disruptions this pandemic has caused. Ultimately, the Phase 2 Policy provides no real action on equality from the Phase 1 evaluations, it ignores the voices of researchers which UKRI has a duty to support, and falls short on providing that support to Postgraduates hit by the global pandemic and crisis in higher education.

The Falling Short report provides a response to UKRI’s own commissioned and direct reports and policies since the beginning of the pandemic, and especially since the most recent announcement in December 2020. We have felt compelled to write a full report due to the extent of misrepresentations and failings we have identified in this material, and the number of issues that have not been explored. We have made a number of recommendations to UKRI about how they must improve practice. We accept, however, that UKRI is not the only relevant stakeholder in this process. As such, we have also made recommendations to government and to universities and ROs. In the interests of equality, and the future of the UK’s research landscape, these must be taken forward.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationUK
PublisherPandemic PGRs
Number of pages46
Publication statusPublished - 2021


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