PPar Student Budgets

This section provides an overview of your individual budget, including important restrictions on its use.

Important - Updates to spending your budget due to COVID-19

What's unchanged?

The mechanisms for asking for spending permission are unchanged and can be found here.

They still involve asking **in advance** and getting support from your supervisor.

You can still fund travel, conference/workshop expenses (including virtual), specialist computing (or other) equipment, books, and so on, as directly needed for your research.

What's new?

Regarding research computing equipment, you could consider spending on experimental equipment where you are unable to access this online (or by permission in person, depending upon current Forum access rules). This would all be subject to sensible Health & Safety issues regarding power supply, cooling etc, as it would in a regular office.

Regarding "home office" equipment, including laptops and similar, monitors, and other office desk material, including furniture, this is now recognized as being a valid use of your funds, in principle, ultimately to be judged on each case.

Firstly, here is the School of Informatics current approach on this:

"Laptops and other equipment can be purchased, but our current preference is to try and get students to take their hardware home that they already have rather than buying more, especially as access to the Forum is increasing. Similarly, it may also be more prudent for us to ship their own chair (or similar items) to them than buy a new one. A lot of this comes down to where students currently are. Students who don't have space at home can speak to the School about getting priority access to the Forum, as an alternative to buying equipment. Note that even where we are able to buy laptops, the lead in time is currently excessive."

Secondly, here are some words from UKRI/EPSRC on this issue. Note that the remark about "high power equipment" is distinct from our existing decision to allow you to spend your own budget on specialist research equipment, with a sound research specific case, as we have always done. EPSRC are talking about general "office equipment" here. The list of bullet points is “an example” not a set of rules. (The complete UKRI document can be found here.)

"Students might not be set up for extended periods of working from home and additional costs may be incurred. Possible requests are covered below. As broadband is now considered a utility, UKRI will not cover the costs of providing broadband or enhancing it. Internet service providers have relaxed data caps at this time so we would not expect charges to be incurred for those breaching their plan’s data cap.

Office equipment - The purchase of equipment to support students’ homeworking may be considered by the training grant holder and the costs drawn from the grant should they wish to allow such support. We would not expect equipment specifically intended for research purposes to be purchased (e.g. high-power computing equipment). Principles for agreeing equipment purchases should be determined to ensure all students supported by the training grant are treated fairly. As an example, UKRI’s approach to supporting its own staff is that:

  •    Total purchases must not exceed £500 and should enable office-type work.
  •    Equipment may only be purchased where the individual does not have existing equipment (such as their own monitors) that can be utilised.
  •    All equipment purchases must be agreed in advance with the line manager. In the first instance, the individual is required to purchase the equipment and then claim this cost back, but alternative arrangements can be explored for staff unable to do so.
  •    Any equipment purchased remains the property of UKRI.

The costs specifically related to facilitating the studies of those with a disability should continue to be requested through the Disabled Student Allowance scheme. We would encourage students who have altered or new needs as a result of the pandemic response to contact the Disability Adviser or named contact on disability matters at their research organisation to discuss undertaking a new needs assessment. This includes students who may wish to access DSA for the first time."

Finally, example computing equipment available through our standard UoE suppliers, from which purchases have to be made, can be viewed here.

(End of Update to spending your budget due to COVID-19)

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***PLEASE NOTE*** - students whose budget is provided by EPSRC *must* spend their budget within their funded period - this period ends one month after the last stipend payment. This includes additional funding extensions provided by UKRI/EPSRC because of the COVID-19 pandemic. No travel or equipment can be paid for using EPSRC funds after this date. If you are unsure of when this occurs, please contact the PPar administratorppar-cdt@inf.ed.ac.uk

Each PPar student is alloted £6,400 which can be used to cover eligible programme-related expenses throughout the 4-year CDT programme.

You should manage this budget carefully, in consultation with your supervisory team. You should utilise it sparingly in your MScR year, in particular. 

From your second PhD year on, it is expected that you give presentations at conferences; approval for attendance without presentation at this stage will be rare, and will require specific justification from the supervisor. Trips to international conferences, often necessary to publish and present your work, can easily account for between £1000 and £2000 each, so think ahead. It is wise to set aside at least half of your budget for such future paper presentation costs.

Industry-Funded Students

Arrangements are made to ensure industry-funded students are also awarded a travel/materials budget comparable to the EPSRC allowance. 

The CDT Administrator does not handle the budgets of industry-funded students but may help you identify the portfolio manager and bookkeeper who do manage your funds. 

Unless otherwise instructed, (fully) industry-funded students should disregard the procedures outlined in this section and instead contact the appropriate administrator for travel approvals and reimbursements. 

Using Your Funds

Students wishing to use their individual budget for travel to conferences, purchase of equipment, materials and other study-related expenses must obtain approval before making any purchases/travel arrangements. Purchases made prior to obtaining approval will not be reimbursed, in compliance with the University policy.

Students will be reimbursed for approved expenses by submitting an Expense Claim along with eligible proof of payment, as explained on pages below.

The approval and reimburesment procedures are largely managed by the CDT Administrator. If you need assistance or clarification on the Funding Request form or Expense Claim, please consult the CDT Administrator in advance, to avoid having to pay for an expenditure out-of-pocket. 

► Details on the approval and reimbursement procedures - and associated forms - can be found in the sections below.◄

By submitting a Funds Request Form students agree that they have read all pertinent information on the procedures.

Travel - conferences and visits

Information on funding expenses for travel in relation to your studies. Read before before making any travel arrangements.

Equipment & Other Expenses

Information on making non-travel purchases associated with your studies. Read before submitting a Funds Request form.

Poster Printing

Information about funding options and reimbursement instructions for poster printing.

CDT Bookkeeper

Information about the CDT bookkeeper.

Additional Costs Not Payable

The CDTs are not permitted to pay for matriculation or continuation fees charged by the University after the 1+3 years of the programme. If you go beyond three years to complete your PhD, you will be responsible for covering all additional fees incurred beyond your prescribed end date. 

Additional costs and fees which students should be prepared to cover themselves include, but are not limited to: