COVID-19 23/03/2020 Update

We are all experiencing unprecedented times and having to adjust to the new working arrangements and implications of this with regards to Covid-19.

The SWDTP hub team are doing all we can to respond and answer your questions promptly to the best of our current knowledge and we will continue to do so with regards to your ESRC funded MRes and PhD.  The hub team are now all working from home but are in close and regular contact to continue to support core business.

UKRI have issued some guidance on their website, link below.  This is being updated regularly, so please use this as a source of information.  We hope that this can answer some concerns that you may have.

Please also, as a matter of priority, follow the advice of your home institution and keep in touch with your supervisor with regards to your work.

Advice from ESRC is

  • Where students are not ill, but self-isolating, your studentship should not be suspended.
  • In many cases students will be able to work from home even if the activities undertaken change.

We are working with partner colleagues and supervisors to support students that are currently abroad and have been advised to return home as soon as possible. The SWDTP will cover the cost of any airline ticket changes in this instance. In the coming weeks, we will liaise with these students as to how to support them following the disruption of their overseas work. 

We have on-going discussions with a number of students with regards to future overseas fieldwork, overseas institutional visits, placements and funding for collaboration events.  The hub can continue to support students in drafting their applications and consider requests, but travel and funding will be contingent on FCO advice.

ESRC has said that

  • DTPs can consider exceptional requests for OIVs or internships to take place during the final three months of funding where it’s clearly beneficial to do so.  The hub will consider these requests on a case by case basis.
  • If the impact is such that the student’s project is no longer feasible then they can consider whether they could re-adjust their project.

The SWDTP hub will continue to monitor the situation and forward any new guidance as it becomes available. We will also be in close contact with our Institutional Coordinator colleagues across the partnership with regards to local advice.

We understand you will have many questions and concerns during this uncertain period, and we ask you to direct those to your local administrators / institution in the first instance to ensure that the advice you receive it consistent with your University’s guidance. We are in regular contact with those administrators but if you do not feel your question can be answered locally then please feel free to contact us at

Bath: (Ana Bullock)

Bristol: (James Camp and Suzanne Jenkin)

Exeter: (Sarmi Ghosh)

Plymouth: (Sarah Kearns)

UWE: (Vicky Nash)

Also, we’ve set up a chat room/forum for students who are social distancing/self-isolating to chat with other PhD students, network and have some fun because social distancing doesn’t mean that socialisation has to stop! PhDs can feel unique and they come with unique challenges. Social distancing can, oftentimes, feel the same. We hope that forum will provide a space to give/gain support with people in the same position as you. The forum link, once signed up is ‘Social Distancing Cohort Support.’  However, it’s not all about support, there will be small, creative challenges on the forum as well. Today we’re asking you to post your favourite songs that keep you going, these will be made into a playist for all swdtp students!

Please take care and look after yourselves.

From all at the SWDTP Hub