Hello to all old and new PGRs!
I’m Kirsty, PGR Officer at Your Students Union. I represent all PhD and MRes students at Coventry, making sure your voices are heard.
You can find out more about me and my manifesto here
Over the summer, I worked with a fantastic group of Coventry PGRs to liaise with the national campaign to increase UKRI stipends. Campaigners wrote an open letter to the funding body to ask that stipends be increased in line with inflation – and a whopping 27% of Coventry PGRs signed. Thank you to everyone who got involved, signed, and shared the letter! On 2nd September, UKRI confirmed that stipends would go up by 10% (after previously raising it just 2.9%) from 1st October. This means that funded PGRs now receive a real living wage! Coventry Uni quickly confirmed that university funded PGRs would receive the same uplift – thank you to those in the Doctoral College who worked late into the night to ensure we got the good news as soon as possible!
However, I’m aware that there is still work to do. Self-funded PGRs are facing an increasingly dire financial situation, and inflation is set to rise more over the next year. I will continue fighting for more solutions to surviving this cost-of-living crisis, including talking to the Doctoral College about rolling over the £250 Researcher Support Allowance year-to-year to allow for bigger purchases like international travel.
This month, it’s been fantastic to meet new PGRs joining Coventry University! My top tip for your research journey is to keep in contact with other PGRs – they will be your lifeline when things get tough. There are a few ways you can do this:
1. Join PGR-wide networks like the WhatsApp and Facebook groups – you can find links in the PGR newsletter in your inbox.
2. If you live near campus, you can work in your Research Centre building to meet others working in your field.
3. Become a rep for your Research Centre to meet PGRs across the university and make change for your peers. Fill out the application form today
4. Join in with Students Union events and societies! SU activities and facilities are open to PGRs – find out more here. If you have any issues or ideas, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Until next month,