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We provide a stream of funding that helps universities meet the costs of supervising research degree programmes, helping to encourage the next generation of researchers.

Research Degree Programme (RDP) supervision funding currently amounts to £240 million. We allocate it only to departments which will receive mainstream quality-related funding in the same academic year.

In 2011, HEFCE consulted on the method of RDP allocation and developed a funding method for 2012 onwards that links RDP supervision funding to the quality of research.

How does RDP funding work?

We calculate a quality score for each department based on research assessment outcomes. For 2016-17, the quality score for each department uses the quality profile from the REF 2014. The score is the amount of 3* and 4* activity as a proportion of total activity at 2* quality and above.

The relative cost of research is also taken into account, with one of three research subject cost weights applied to the rate of funding received per post-graduate research (PGR) student. 

We calculate final rates of funding per (London-weighted) PGR full-time equivalent student to ensure we allocate the full budget. To complete the calculation we multiply these final rates of funding by London-weighted PGR full-time equivalent students. 

We profile allocations (for the full programme) over a maximum period of three years for full-time study (or the part-time equivalent).

Sector impact assessment

In developing the allocation method for postgraduate research funding, we have formally assessed its impact on the higher education sector in terms of regulatory burden, equality and diversity and sustainable development. We have also formally assessed the impact of publishing research degree qualification rates on the higher education sector.

Sector impact assessment of QR research funding and RDP supervision funding

Download the Sector impact assessment of QR research funding and RDP supervision funding as PDF (81 KB) 

Sector impact assessment of publishing postgraduate research degree qualification rates

 Download the Sector impact assessment of publishing postgraduate research degree qualification rates as PDF (81 KB) | Download the Sector impact assessment of publishing postgraduate research degree qualification rates as MS Word (62 KB)

Page last updated 25 March 2015