An increase in Stipend for PGRs.
Postgraduate researchers were told on Friday that their stipends would be increased in line with inflation, following an open letter signed by over 25% of Coventry PGRs.
UKRI, the main UK funding body for PhDs, responded to the letter by increasing stipends to 10% above the previously advertised rate. Coventry University raised their own stipends to match, meaning that PGRs now receive a proper living wage.
The open letter was supported by the University and College Union (UCU) and garnered over 10,000 signatures from PhD students with many other academics signing in support. 27.23% of all Coventry PGRs signed the letter – the second-highest percentage of PGR signatories in the country.
Your Student Union’s PGR Officer, Kirsty Harrod, said that this is a positive step and a huge win for student-led campaigning. “I am delighted that UKRI has listened to the voices of thousands of PGRs and increased stipends in line with inflation. I’m also grateful for the speed at which Coventry staff made the decision to match this rate for university-funded PGRs like me. The rate increase means that researchers are no longer living off stipends that were below minimum wage, and can worry less about the current cost-of-living crisis. However, with inflation set to rise yet again, the UKRI needs to commit to supporting PGRs by regularly reviewing stipend rates and to supporting self-funded PGRs.”