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Here are a few of the frequently asked questions to help with any applications for the NIHR PhD Scholarship Awards 2020 

1. Who should apply for funding? 

The funding for PhDs is being awarded to researchers within ARC Wessex who would be a primary supervisor of a PhD project. 

2. How will the PhD students be appointed? 

Once the award has been given it is up to that primary supervisor as the recipient of the award to appoint their PhD student. 

3. Will existing students be considered by supervisors? 

Potential supervisors are able to apply for the funding with a ‘named’ student in mind for the award. They should make this information clear in the application form and include a 2 page CV for the student. 

4. Does the PhD student need to be employed within Wessex? 

If the student will be in a clinical academic role (models A and B) then they will need to be employed by, or appointed into, an ARC Wessex partner organisation. 

5. Who are the potential primary project supervisors? 

Potential supervisors will be found/ contactable through our ARC Wessex themes and projects list. 

6. Will there be other opportunities for NIHR ARC Wessex PhD Scholarship funding? 

This is a one off call for researchers/supervisors to plan PhDs within the lifecycle of this ARC Wessex funding period. 

7. Who should be listed as the clinical supervisor for my project? 

It is up to the primary supervisor to work with the clinical teams pan Wessex and decide who their clinical partners/supervisors will be. This does not necessarily need to be the line manager of a potential student, however the application should include a letter of support from the line manager stating that they agree to support the PhD research and academic career development for this person. 

8. Do the PhD Scholarship models include options for part-time and/or flexible working patterns? 

It is possible to adapt the three models outlined to part time working, however it will be up to the primary supervisor and supervisory team to justify this in the finance section of the application. 

9. Can supervisors use the funding to appoint international students? 

Not directly. The ARC funding will only cover UK ‘home’ student tuition fees. If supervisors wish to appoint an international student, they should secure funding from other partnership sources to bridge the gap between home student tuition fees and international student tuition fees. 

10. Does the funding cover other fees and expenses, e.g journal publications and travel? 

These fees should be included by the supervisor in the finance section of the application. It should be made clear if there is a case for the NIHR ARC Wessex to contribute to associated fees and costs for the project and the source(s) available to the supervisor to leverage additional funding. 

11. Is the response to COVID-19 likely to impact the PhD Scholarships projects and funding? 

The ARC Wessex research priorities are expected until the end of the funding period (September 2024) with NIHR. There is currently no conflicting agenda with the COVID-19 acute response team. 

12. Will you consider alternative PhD scholarship models to those suggested in the application pack? 

We accept there may be some model variance depending on each case for the projects, e.g 60-40% clinical academic role. The models suggested have been chosen because they follow the NIHR ARC cycle for metrics and reporting. Any differences to the models suggested in the application pack should be outlined in the finance section of the application and will need to be considered by the panel if they fit with the overall objectives of the collaboration. 

Note: The total amount of funding available cannot be increased. 

13. Is it necessary that the PhD scholarship starts in October 2020? 

The host organisations will have different timescales. There may be opportunity to start in Spring 2021 at organisations other than University of Southampton depending on agreement with the host. It is necessary however for all ARC Wessex PhD scholarships to finish by September 2024. 

14. Which organisations can co-fund the PhD scholarships? 

The co-funding can be from the Trusts, partner organisations or industry. The PhD scholarship application should include letters of support from co-funding organisations. 

15. When will the PhD student need to apply to the host organisation? 

If a supervisor is including a named researcher in their application, it is recommended that the student simultaneously apply to the host organisation so they can begin eligibility checks as necessary. 

16. Is it essential the PhD scholars apply for NIHR funding? 

Yes. NIHR ARC Wessex are committed to continuing research and applications to the NIHR Training Academy will enable sustainability for academic career planning. If a PhD Scholar is unsuccessful in their NIHR application, they will continue to be supported for the funding period. 

17. How many PhD scholarships are available? 

The funding will support a minimum of 4 (full time) and maximum of 8 (part time) PhD Scholarships with co-funding.