I hope you have had a good week. I cannot believe that it is week three already - so much has happened. It seems like just yesterday we were meeting you all at Freshers’ Fair.
Today I am bringing some much-needed updates on postgraduate stipends and funding. As you may know, the UKRI increased their stipends by 10% last month. This prompted a whole host of good changes within the university.
With regards to internal funding, the major University funders – Cambridge Trust, Gates and Harding – have agreed to at least match the UKRI rate of stipend for 2022/3 for their scholars (Gates and Harding will continue to exceed it). Earlier this year there was a great proposal that was sent to and agreed upon at the General Board of Education Committee (GBEC for short) that was called the ‘Cambridge Doctoral Scholarship’ package. This package provides guidance for a minimum standard for doctoral scholarship, including setting the time frame for a PhD to 3.5 years, and to cover NHS and Visa costs. I had the pleasure of sitting on GBEC at the time and was thrilled when this guidance was passed. Because of this, other internal funders such as colleges and departments have been encouraged to also match the rate as agreed upon in the package. Whether other internal funders are able to match this rate is another issue, but we will be monitoring this closely.
Cambridge SU and the University are also very aware that a lot of postgraduates are funded by external funders. The University are not in control of the stipend used by External funders (e.g. foreign governments) but they are making a letter available to students that they can use in negotiations with their funders. This states that the majority of funders within Cambridge will meet the UKRI rate and it is an aspiration that all Cambridge funders will do so. It encourages external funders to take a similar approach. You can find this letter here and also on the postgraduate admissions website.
There is still much more to do and I encourage you to get in touch with Cambridge SU to share your experiences and suggestions. You should also be aware of the tools that the University already has, such as the funding search and camguides, that they developed in collaboration with Cambridge SU.
I hope the rest of your weeks go well and you’re getting into the swing of your postgraduate studies. I will be off next week on annual leave doing some of my own research!