What is the PIPS allowance and what can it be spent on?
You will still be paid your stipend (salary) whilst on PIPS. In addition, a PIPS allowance is available to reimburse you for reasonable travel and/or accommodation costs – up to a maximum of £2050 – to give you flexibility in choosing your PIPS. This is a generous allowance.
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.
What if my PIPS allowance is not enough?
It is anticipated that placements will be managed within the standard PIPS funding allowance. Requests for additional funding for PIPS will not be considered.
Other sources of funding
If your PIPS travel and accommodation costs are likely to exceed the standard PIPS allowance, you will need to consider other funding sources and/or amending your PIPS plans to make the placement cheaper:
In some cases, the host organisation will contribute towards travel and/or accommodation costs, so do not be shy about asking. In other cases, the PIPS host organisation may own, or know of, local accommodation that you can use. Otherwise, you could ask your supervisor if they are aware of any funding grants you could apply for.
You are allowed to use your Research Training Support Grant (RTSG) to support the travel and accommodation costs for your PIPS. However, please discuss this first with your supervisor, as you will have to balance this with ensuring that have you sufficient funds for your ‘bench fees’ / consumables over the remaining course of your PhD.
Whilst we appreciate that money may be tight and individual circumstances will vary, you may wish to consider using some of your own stipend to top-up your PIPS budget.
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. See the PIPS Funding page for more information.
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 undertaking your PIPS abroad, please be mindful of the following:
1/ 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.
2/ The expectation is that you will manage a PIPS abroad (as in the UK) within the standard PIPS allowance, or that you will top up this amount from other sources, if necessary. There is no additional funding from the DTP to support PIPS abroad.
How to claim PIPS expenses
It is vital that you keep all receipts and other evidence of expenditure for accommodation and travel 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 and petrol receipts. An additional piece of evidence useful for all types of expenditure is a scan of your bank statement – 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.
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.
Do I have to wait until the end of PIPS to claim?
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.
If it helps your cash-flow, you can submit your claims monthly, or even weekly, during your PIPS. In this case, ensure you collect the number of claim forms you will need before you go on your PIPS, particularly if you will be living away from your normal university base. Complete a claim form at the end of each week/month and post it back to your PIPS Contact, or Finance Officer as relevant, together with your receipts and other evidence of expenditure for that time period.
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.
For any other queries about claiming PIPS expenses, get in touch with your PIPS Contact.