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International PhD students now eligible for UK Research and Innovation scholarships

International students will be eligible for all postgraduate scholarships funded by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) from the start of the 2021/22 academic year. In a press statement, the organisation said the updated eligibility criteria for its “postgraduate studentships” will ensure that the UK is able to attract talent from around the globe. 

Postgraduate studentships are a form of funding assistance provided to full-time postgraduate students. UKRI said all UKRI-funded PhD students will be eligible for “both the stipend to support living costs, and fees at research organisations UK rate.”

Further details will only be laid out later this year and communicated to universities and research organisations, allowing the change to come into effect for the August 2021 academic year. PhD students should note that the UKRI funding will not cover international fees set by universities, but they will be given the flexibility to find international tuition fees from other sources. 

UKRI students who started their degree in previous academic years are not affected by this announcement, said the organisation. “EU, EEA and Swiss Nationals starting UKRI-funded programmes in the 2020 academic year will remain eligible for funding under the same terms as guaranteed by the government in July 2019,” it said.


Science Minister Amanda Solloway expressed her delight that international PhD students are now eligible for UKRI-funded PhDs in the UK. “International PhD students are invaluable to supporting our world-leading research across a range of disciplines, providing new energy, ideas, and creativity,” she said. 

“Through our ambitious R&D Roadmap, we want to make it easier for top global science, research and innovation talent to come to the country so we can cement the UK as a science superpower. Today’s measure is a key part of that.”

Formed in 2018, UKRI is responsible for developing both domestic research and innovation talent alongside opening recruitment to attract the best international talent into the UK. “UKRI will normally limit the proportion of international students appointed each year through individual doctoral training programmes to 30% of the total,” it said. They operate across the UK with a combined budget of more than eight billion pounds, and bring together the seven research councils, Innovate UK, and Research England.

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