School of Social and Political Science

ESRC funded students


This section includes specific information for Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), and Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) funded students.

  • ESRC Student Guidance - information for MSc by Research and PhD students funded by the ESRC.
  • Claiming RTSG funds (Research Training Support Grant) - including information on eligibility, allowable and non-allowable costs, and how to claim.

General ESRC Student Guidance

The ESRC has devolved administration of its postgraduate awards to the University, represented by the CAHSS College Postgraduate Office.

Lorna Shiels ( will handle payments to students and changes to awards.

ESRC funded students

The University of Edinburgh has around 160 ESRC funded students.

SGSSS and doctoral training centres

The ESRC fund postgraduate students via doctoral training centres (DTC).

The DTC for Scotland is based in the University of Edinburgh, with DTCs across 10 other universities in Scotland.

The Scottish Graduate School of Social Sciences (SGSSS) was set up in parallel with the DTC. The SGSSS is for all PG social science students in Scotland (15 Universities) and it runs events throughout the year, including a Summer School.

ESRC payments


If you are in receipt of a maintenance grant, it is paid quarterly by BACS directly into your UK bank account, on or around:

  • 1 October
  • 1 January
  • 1 April
  • 1 July


Fees will be paid automatically to the University.

If you receive an email regarding fees you should contact Lorna Shiels so she can remind the Fee Section of your funding.

Email Lorna Shiels

Research Training Support Grant (RTSG)

Each student is awarded £750 per year.

This is requested via the Scottish Graduate School of Social Science (SGSSS) website.

Please contact the HEI Admin Lead, Lorna Shiels with any RTSG queries.

Email Lorna Shiels

Interruptions of study

If at some point in your studies you require a break for a month or more - for example, due to illness, personal problems, maternity leave - you must request an interruption of studies both from the University and from the ESRC (via Lorna Shiels).

Interruptions of study can be requested via your supervisor. They cannot be granted retrospectively (by either the ESRC or the University) so please keep your Supervisor, the SPS Graduate School and Lorna Shiels informed.

Email Lorna Shiels

Extensions to your study

If you are approaching your maximum end date of your studies and require more time, you can request an extension to your studies.

As with interruptions, extensions require approval from both the University and the ESRC.

Please note that while the University may approve a certain extension request, the ESRC may not. For example, the ESRC will not approve requests for any extra time due to employment.

Overseas fieldwork and Difficult Language Training

You can apply for additional funds for overseas fieldwork.

You can also apply for additional funds and time for Difficult Language Training but this needs to have been mentioned in your original application.

You need to apply to the doctoral training centre (DTC) for both of these.

You will find further details on the Scottish Graduate School of Social Science website.

Monitoring progression

The ESRC will monitor your progress via the University's reporting mechanisms - first year review and annual reports.

It is important that these reports are submitted each year in order the studentship can continue. Stipend payments may be delayed if a satisfactory report is not received.

Any change of supervision and thesis title should also be noted during the annual reviews.

Submission rates

The University has to comply with the ESRC submission rate criteria.

The ESRC allow you 36 months (full-time) of prescribed study and you should then submit.

The ESRC do allow a further 12 months until final submission but as this is unfunded you should aim to complete study within the 36 months.

Communications from the ESRC

Any communications regarding opportunities for ESRC students will normally come in email via Lorna Shiels, for example:

  • American Library of Congress scheme
  • Scottish Government placement scheme
  • workshops
  • projects etc

There will be various calls throughout the year. All communications will be sent to your University email account.

ESRC Funding Guide (PDF)

Student category
PhD Students