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Warwick PhDs say stipend increase is not enough

Students seek “more support” as they face hardship caused by cost of living crisis

Post-graduate researchers at the University of Warwick have called for more support and branded a recent increase in their stipends “not enough” given surging bills in the UK.

After national funder UK Research and Innovation announced it would increase its minimum stipend by 10 percent, the University of Warwick followed suit and announced it would match the 10 per cent increase on stipends for internally funded students.

This will add £1,606 to the existing rate of £16,062.

But post-graduate researchers at the university have said that this increase does not go far enough, citing predictions that inflation rates could hit 18 per cent.

In a letter to vice-chancellor Stuart Croft, pro-vice-chancellor for research Caroline Meyer and academic director of doctoral college Daniel Branch, a group of 27 researchers from Warwick and other universities have asked for changes to stipends to be made in line with inflation.

“Post-graduate researchers will face the sharp end of the cost of living crisis and more support is needed,” they warn.

Self-funded support

The letter also criticised Warwick’s announcement on stipends for failing to address the financial hardship of international students and those who are self-funded, and calls for a fee waiver for these students this year.

Many post-graduate researchers have been left with “little choice” but to take up part-time work despite studying full-time to complete their PhDs, the authors said.

They pointed to other universities that are taking “additional steps” to support their PhD students and “implored” Warwick’s leadership to act in line with them.

These include Sheffield Hallam University, which has announced that it will adjust its minimum stipend amount as inflation increases. Newcastle University Doctoral College, they said, has opened up a Cost of Living Impact Fund for self-funded PhD students who will not benefit from an uplift in stipends.

Research Professional News has contacted the University of Warwick for comment.