How to fund your PIPS
You will still be paid your stipend (salary) whilst on PIPS. Below are options for funding reasonable travel and accommodation expenses incurred during your PIPS:
a) DTP PIPS allowance
This is available from the DTP to reimburse you for reasonable travel and/or accommodation costs – up to a maximum of £1,000 for the total PIPS duration.
The PIPS allowance can be used only for travel and accommodation. It cannot be used for other items such as work clothing or equipment you need to purchase for your placement. If you are likely to incur any of these other costs, it is worth asking your PIPS host if they are willing to cover the costs, make a contribution or perhaps purchase the items on your behalf.
It is your responsibility to ensure that you follow the procurement rules in your home university when booking and paying for travel and accommodation. This is to ensure that you are covered by insurance during your placement. Be aware that there may be additional risk assessments that need to take place, e.g. for lone working, or that there may be specific health and safety or prohibition rules around the use of accommodation sites such as Airbnb. If in doubt, please check initially with your local PIPS contact.
b) Host organisations
Some host organisations will be able to contribute towards travel and/or accommodation costs, either in whole or in part, so do not be shy about asking. The following flyer can be downloaded and sent to prospective host organisations to explain the scheme and to support the request for help with costs:
Be aware that there are tax implications for an individual student accepting direct payment (e.g. in the form of a salary) from the PIPS host organisation. The advice from the BBSRC is that if you accept payment, you will stop being a student and this will change your HMRC tax status, meaning that you may become eligible to pay income tax. (As a PhD student, your stipend is paid tax-free). To avoid any complications, you should ask the host organisation to pay directly for the costs of accommodation and travel through their own procurement systems. In this way, the funding is not paid to you and you will not have any tax implications that we are aware of.
Some PIPS host organisations, such as those co-ordinated by the UKRI, are also aware of this situation and are set up to provide sufficient travel/accommodation expenses (often >£1000) through their procurement systems.
c) Funding grants
Ask your supervisor, and/or your local PIPS Contact, if they are aware of any funding grants you could apply for, and if they could help you put your application together.
d) PIPS additional funding request
In exceptional circumstances, the DTP Management Board may award additional PIPS funding up to £1,000 (in addition to the standard £1,000 allowance). The expectation is that the majority of PIPS will be undertaken within the £1,000 allowance.
You must provide a strong case for additional funding. Applications for additional funding will be assessed on the extent to which the PIPS offers an opportunity to learn and/or develop new transferable skills that are different from scientific research-related skills, and the extent to which these new skills are broadly applicable to future career paths.
We expect applications for travel expenses to be based on public transport costs where possible, in line with the Universities’ travel policies.
Note that, even if you make a strong case, there is no guarantee you will be awarded additional funding. This is because the DTP does not hold a pot of money for this purpose, as such. The only reason we can potentially offer additional funding is that some PGRs do not spend all or any of their PIPS allowance, so we can use this ‘spare’ funding. You can access the on-line request form here:
Clicking the link enables you to see the first page of the form without committing yourself to completing it. The page gives instructions on how to complete the form – including actions you need to take in advance – and explains the process.
How to make your PIPS cheaper
We appreciate that some parts of the country are more expensive than others in terms of temporary accommodation. We encourage you to think creatively about your PIPS and to seek a placement that will give you the new experience and skills you seek, within the funding parameters. This may mean, for example, seeking a placement closer to your home university that involves daily travel but no accommodation costs. Or perhaps consider a placement where you can stay with relatives or friends – although in this scenario, please be aware that you cannot claim accommodation costs through the DTP PIPS allowance. However, many PIPS hosts will cover accommodation and transport up to a limit, so look out for organisations that advertise this. If they do not state this, ask if they are willing to contribute to the costs.
We wish to support student ambition and exploration of the full range of PIPS opportunities and we understand that in some cases, students may wish to undertake their PIPS abroad. If you are thinking of this, please be mindful that the UKRI BBSRC expectation is that PIPS will be undertaken within the UK. If you wish to undertake your PIPS abroad, you will need to prove that there is no similar opportunity available in the UK.
How to claim PIPS expenses
It is vital that you keep all receipts and other evidence of expenditure for accommodation and travel that you have paid for in advance and whilst you are on your PIPS. Expenditure cannot be reimbursed without sufficient evidence. Evidence for accommodation will include things like a formal rental agreement with your landlord and receipts for payment, either monthly or in one lump sum. Evidence for travel includes things such as confirmation of payment of train fares and copies of tickets or car mileage. An additional piece of evidence useful for all types of expenditure is a screenshot or photo of your bank statement – For data protection purposes, make sure you only show us the items we need to see and that you cover up any information that is not relevant to your PIPS claim.
If you are undertaking your PIPS abroad, you will need to convert your expenses payments into pound sterling (£/GBP). In this case, you need to provide evidence of the exchange rate at the time of the financial transaction. This evidence could be, for example, a screenshot of a currency converter website, including the date.
b) Claim forms
Collect a claim form from your Finance Office or PIPS Contact. Complete the form and submit it to your Finance Officer or PIPS Contact , together with your receipts and other evidence. The exact process may vary depending on your University. If in doubt, check with your PIPS Contact.
c) When to claim
Please ensure you claim your PIPS expenses back as soon as possible, either during your PIPS or within 3 months of the end of your PIPS. Universities have financial regulations that mean expenses must be processed within certain time frames. It is therefore your responsibility to submit your claims in a timely manner.
If you are happy to pay all your expenses then claim them back at the end of your 3-month placement, you can complete a claim form when you return from PIPS. On the other hand, if it helps your cash flow, you can claim monthly, or even weekly, whilst you are on PIPS. In some instances, you may be required to pay a deposit for your accommodation upfront. Your university finance office may be able to support you with this by giving you an advance.
For any other queries about claiming PIPS expenses, please get in touch with your PIPS Contact.