The University will increase the minimum stipend for PhD students to the take-home equivalent rate of the Real Living Wage, to encourage applications from a broader, inclusive range of people, and welcoming particularly those from underrepresented backgrounds.
Most university PhD stipends in the sector are aligned with the UKRI minimum. The uplift Sheffield Hallam is offering will help to lower some of the financial barriers to study at this level and open research careers to talented people from any background.
The new Real Living Wage rate meets the cost-of-living standard as set out independently by the Living Wage Foundation and is set to increase from its current level in September 2022.
Sheffield Hallam will use the level set by the RLW Foundation each year to ensure our support for postgraduate research students at least meets the cost-of-living, moving towards a standard minimum of three-and-a-half years of funding for new scholarships.
The financial support for PhD students is one of several measures Sheffield Hallam is taking to widen access to postgraduate research studentships.
The University is also extending its Vice-Chancellor’s doctoral scholarships scheme offer to up to 200 funded PhDs over the next 3 years. At least one quarter of these PhDs will be co-funded with businesses.
Sheffield Hallam is currently involved in three projects co-funded by Research England and the Office for Students, aimed at improving opportunities for Black, Asian and minority ethnic students to undertake postgraduate research.
First, the University is leading the ASPIRE (Accomplished Study Programme in Research Excellence) programme, a four-year project that will provide mentoring and support to Black students to undertake postgraduate research.
Secondly, it is also a partner in the Yorkshire Consortium for Equity in Doctoral Education, to help reform admissions criteria and practices to better assess applicants’ potential to undertake ground-breaking research.
Sheffield Hallam is also involved in Equity in Doctoral Education through Partnership and Innovation a project that will improve access and participation across three modern universities – alongside Nottingham Trent University and Liverpool John Moores University. It will target recruitment, admissions and transition as critical points of systemic inequality in doctoral education.
Professor Rory Duncan, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research and Innovation at Sheffield Hallam University, said: “As the cost-of-living is increasing, we are providing additional support to all our University-funded postgraduate research students. Together with other projects and interventions we lead or shape in this area, we are ensuring that talented people can enjoy research careers, irrespective of their background.”