Frequently Asked Questions

How much is my Research Council funding award for?

Basic stipend amounts are confirmed each year for all the UK Research Councils by their governing body, Research Council UK (RCUK). Most awards will provide funding towards fees and an annual maintenance grant award.

How do I get paid?

Stipends are paid directly into your bank account in monthly in advance instalments.

To receive your stipend payment, you must have completed a FIN 41 form and submitted this to your School and the Finance Office. You should contact your School directly if you have not completed one of these forms.

I am disabled; will my Research Council support me?

UK Research Councils will support student with disabilities. In all cases relating to Disabled Students Allowance you should forward your query to the Disability Services team who will provide you with the relevant forms and can give you further advice about eligibility.

Can I take maternity, paternity and adoption leave?

Yes. The Research Councils can provide pay for maternity, paternity, shared paternity and adoption leave. The details of this leave are briefly outlined below.

You will need to apply for a leave of absence for the period you want to be on maternity/paternity leave and provide a copy of the appropriate evidence to accompany the application.

There is no limit to the number of periods of Maternity, Ordinary Paternity, Shared Parental Leave or Adoption Leave that can be taken during a studentship.

The full RCUK Guidance on Maternity, Paternity and Adoption Leave and Pay can be found within the Grant Terms and Conditions

Maternity Leave

Research Council funded students are entitled to 52 weeks of maternity leave, and may also be eligible to take a period of shared parental leave. The first 26 weeks are paid at the full stipend rate. The following 13 weeks are paid at a level commensurate with employee entitlements of statutory maternity pay. The final 13 weeks are unpaid leave.

Payments will be made at 6 months at full stipend rate, following by 3 months at the reduced rate.

Students are expected to return to study for a minimum of 12 consecutive weeks. If a student does not return to study for at least 12 weeks, the university will claim back the 26 weeks of full stipend. The student will not have to pay back any statutory maternity pay.

Parental Leave

Partners are entitled to up to 10 days paid Ordinary Paternity Leave on full stipend which may be taken at any time during a partner’s pregnancy or within the three months following the birth. The period of funding will be extended by 10 days accordingly.

Shared Parental Leave

If both parents are University of Birmingham Research Council funded students they may be entitled to 50 weeks Shared Parental Leave. This leave can be taken in up to three separate blocks between the baby’s birth and first birthday (or within 1 year of adoption).

Adoption leave

Adoption leave will be granted on the same basis as maternity leave. 

I need to take a leave of absence from my studies, what do I need to do?

RCUK does allow leave of absences to be taken from funded studies for medical and personal reasons, including maternity leave. 

Research Council students follow the same procedure as non Research Council funded students for applications for leave of absences.

Retrospective leave of absence requests will only be considered by UK Research Councils under exceptional circumstances.

I need an extension to the submission date of my thesis, what do I do?

Extensions to your normal period of registration should be discussed with your Supervisor as part of your annual progress review meeting. If you are in writing up status, an extension to the submission date of your thesis may be approved for personal or medical reasons. 

Research Council students follow the same procedure as non Research Council funded students for applications for extensions to their submission date. Notably, as RCUK funding only covers students when they are normally registered, you will not receive additional funding for an extension in your writing up period.

Retrospective extension requests will only be considered by the UK Research Councils under exceptional circumstances