Information for ESRC award holders

This information relates to all new and continuing ESRC award holders

For the full terms and conditions of your award and allowances, please download and keep a copy of the ESRC Postgraduate Funding Guide.

ESRC related payments are administered by the Financial Support Office (FSO), in accordance with guidance issued to all higher education institutions who have ESRC sponsored students.

Update for ESRC Students on MPhil/PhD programmes
From 2019/20 ESRC students who are on MPhil/PhD programmes, and whose award from MPhil onwards provided funding for three years, will now be given a fourth year of funding from LSE.

This will be at the same level as the ESRC stipend, and is subject to confirmation of progression into the final year of study.  This brings the total length of funding into line with LSE PhD Studentships scholars (four years).

This is not ESRC funding, it is LSE's decision to provide this additional support, so will not be included in any letters previously received relating to your ESRC award. However, if you are currently being funded for your MPhil/PhD by the ESRC, confirmation of the LSE funding for the fourth year will be given upon confirmation of your progression into the year - that is the only criterion you have to meet.

If you have any queries please contact FSO who run the School's scheme to support this funding. 

Maintenance stipend

The maintenance stipend is intended to cover all normal living expenses.

ESRC stipends are paid in three instalments, based on the number of months in each term. This also applies to the Research Training Support Grant and any other Enhanced Stipend held.

Any maintenance payments will be paid direct to your UK bank account saved in the Finance Hub. More information on Maintenance payments.

If you have been given a fees only award, you will not be eligible for a maintenance stipend from the ESRC, but you will receive an equivalent award from LSE. 

Renewal of awards

Please make sure that your Annual Progress Report form is returned to the PhD Academy before the end of July to ensure that your renewal for the next session can be processed.

Difficult language training (DLT)

If your research requires you to acquire or develop a working ability with a difficult language in order to carry out fieldwork or other parts of your research, you may be eligible for additional support.

Only available for students who have upgraded to PhD (NB apply for Overseas fieldwork at the same time).

Apply at least 3 months before travel is planned, and only one application can be made during the studentship.  DLT should be undertaken before overseas fieldwork. A maximum of twelve months can be applied on the grounds of the language required. Your supervisor will be asked to support your application. To apply, complete the DTP Difficult Language Training Form.

Further information can be found on Page 25 of the ESRC Postgraduate Funding Guide. 

UK & Overseas fieldwork expenses


UK Fieldwork

This support is only available for students who have upgraded to PhD. You must apply three months before first fieldwork is planned and only one application per studentship. It is for those spending time out of London you can apply for support for longer distance travel (short distances are to be covered by RTSG), temporary accomodation whilst undertaking the fieldwork visit, or any other costs relating to a fieldwork site. To apply, please contact the Financial Support Office.

Overseas Fieldwork

This support is only available for students who have upgraded to PhD. You must apply three months before first fieldwork is planned. (And should apply for Difficult language training at the same time if applicable). Only one application per studentship. The fieldwork may take place at more than one site, and if so the one application will cover your total fieldwork visit plans. Your supervisor will be asked to support your application. Students taking Difficult Language Training are advised to add fieldwork on immediately after, so no further airfare cost is considered.  To apply, complete the DTP Overseas Fieldwork Guidance and ApplicationForm.

You cannot apply if your ESRC award covers your fees only. 

Maintenance stipend payments whilst on fieldwork

The Financial Support Office and the PhD Academy must be informed of the period that you are away from the School due to your fieldwork. Any maintenance payments due while away on fieldwork can be paid direct to your UK bank account saved in the Finance Hub

Once you have returned from your fieldwork please let the Financial Support Office know as soon as possible. 

Disabled Students' Allowance

If you suffer from a health condition which affects your ability to work at a normal pace throughout your research, please contact the Financial Support Office and the LSE Disability and Well-being Service as you may be eligible for additional funding.


The ESRC expects at least 30% of DTP students to be involved in collaboration during their programme. This can include internships, placements and longer term collaborations with public, private or third sector organisations in order to collect data or develop new skills and insights.

The ESRC is not prescriptive about the type of collaboration, but the general principles are that:

  • Co-funding can be involved but is not essential
  • The collaboration must be with a non-academic organisation in the public, private or civil society sector
  • Collaborations must include substantive knowledge exchange and not just one way engagement (eg data collection) 

Additional funding is available from the DTP to assist periods of collaboration - please contact the Financial Support Office.

Overseas institutional/university visits

This scheme is now run by the LSE DTP. This additional funding is intended to provide applicants with the opportunity to establish research networks, to disseminate early research findings, to participate in seminars and other academic activities directly related to their research, or to undertake specialist research training that is not available in the UK. In the application, students are required to enter detailed costs of their visit, eg flights, accommodation and general living expenses, along with justification of these costs. The DTP will be looking at contributing to these expenses.

Please apply for this funding at least two months before the proposed date of your visit. It is a condition that all successful applicants must submit an end-of-award report to the Financial Suport Office within two weeks of the end of the visit.

To apply, please print out the Overseas Institutional/University Visits form, the guidance notes and application advice. It is important that your supervisor reads the notes before authorising the visit.

Once the form has been completed and you have the agreement of your supervisor, please submit the form to the Financial Support Office.

This scheme is designed to help you to make the most of the global opportunities offered by LSE, to enrich your research opportunities and to deepen and develop the important relationships between LSE and these institutions.

Research Training Support Grant

During the +3 element of your award, you will be eligible for a combined Research Training Support Grant (RTSG) and UK Fieldwork Allowance. This also applies to part-time and fees only award holders.

If you want to apply for the RTSG, you should contact the Department Manager of your academic department.

More information on the Research Training Support Grant

Changing your supervisor

If you intend to change your supervisor, you should notify the PhD Academy in writing.

Internship Scheme (formerly known as Government Placements)

If you wish to take up a public body/government placement you will need to request prior approval from the ESRC. Please can you contact the PhD Academy and inform them of your intentions.

Interruptions/Leave of absence

Studentships are intended to be held on a continuous basis. Sometimes you may need to interrupt studies, for example as a result of persistent health problems for yourself or a dependant; or to take up a temporary, short term job opportunity which can be justified if it is highly relevant to your thesis or research training.

Interruption requests on the grounds of financial hardship will not be considered.

Suspensions can be approved provided that:

(i) the period of suspension does not exceed one calendar year in any one instance. Total periods of suspension must not exceed one calendar year during the lifetime of the award;

(ii) your supervisor has given their permission for you to suspend your studies. For CASE awards the collaborative partner must also indicate their approval of any requested suspension period;

(iii) your supervisor certifies that the suspension of studies will not delay the submission of the final thesis by more than the length of the suspension;

(iv) the request is made in advance: retrospective requests cannot be accepted.

What happens if you interrupt retrospectively?

Periods of suspension are usually added to the standard calculation of the thesis submission date and thus taken into account when the ESRC thesis submission rates are calculated. 

If an award is suspended for any reason, you must repay any monies overpaid to you, including maintenance grant, fieldwork contribution, etc., back to LSE. All debts that arise as a result of overpayments, for whatever reason, must be actively pursued by LSE.

Furthermore, you must refund any amount paid, which is more than the amount due for whatever reason, and to which they are no longer entitled by virtue of a change in status of your studentship.  This includes any payment for a period after a suspension whether by your own decision or that of LSE.

Requests for a suspension to your ESRC award should be made in writing and should also include a supporting letter from your supervisor. These requests should be sent to the Financial Support Office and the PhD Academy.

Maternity leave

If you become pregnant during the period of your ESRC award, the ESRC will allow up to six months paid maternity leave without the level of your award being reduced. Further information can be found on Page 26 of the ESRC Postgradute Funding Guide

You will need to complete the form below and submit it to the Financial Support Office.

Maternity Leave Application

Mode of attendance

You should contact the PhD Academy regarding any changes to your mode of attendance such as interruptions to your study, changing between part time and full time study, and taking Leave of Absence.

Paternity leave

A total of 10 days paternity leave may be taken at any time during a partner's pregnancy or within three months following the birth. This period is regarded as additional leave of absence from studies and the award will not be extended. If the student needs to take any further time, this must be taken as a suspension to the award. Further information can be found on Page 27 of the ESRC Postgraduate Funding Guide.

If you wish to apply for additional paternity leave, the assessment will be done in conjunction with LSE Human Resources.

You need to contact the PhD Academy to confirm details about this. Please also inform the Financial Support Office.

Transferring your research

If you wish to transfer your research to a different institution you will need to request prior approval from LSE via the Financial Support Office.

Thesis submission dates

Students holding 1+3 awards should submit within five years of commencing the '1' (or four years from the commencement of the +3).  Students holding +3 awards must submit within four years of the commencement of their award.

Part-time students holding +3 awards must submit within seven years. Students holding part-time 1+3 studentships will be required to submit within nine years.

As such, students who have a fixed period at full-time - whatever the length - retain their seven or nine year submission date, depending on the status of the award.

All students should however aim to submit by the end of their funded period. 

Funding your writing up period

You are expected to submit your thesis by the submission deadline set out at the start of your award (usually one year after your funding period has ended). If you have not completed your thesis within the funded period of your studentship, you can apply to LSE's Final Year PhD Fund for additional support. Your supervisor will need to confirm your planned timetable through to submission - the Financial Support Office will contact them to ask for this information. Awards are made throughout the academic session. 

Extending your submission deadline

If you wish to extend your submission deadline you will need to request prior approval from LSE via the PhD Academy and the ESRC via the Financial Support Office (the ESRC do not accept direct requests), two to three months before the submission deadline date. The final decision will be made by the ESRC.

Finisher/Exit Questionnaire

Please note that all ESRC funded students need to submit the 'finisher/exit questionnaire' upon completion. If you fail to complete this questionnaire, any further applications for funding from the ESRC will not be accepted. A reminder will normally be sent from the PhD Academy with your Annual Progress Report. The original questionnaire should be returned to the ESRC; a copy of the questionnaire should be returned to the Financial Support Office.

Finisher/Exit Questionnaire (Word)