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Issue 1843 (PDF)
The student newspaper of Imperial College London

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Union to push for more part-time work opportunities for students

Union reps will also lobby for an increase to PhD stipends.

Flx Part Time Work Photo: Daniel Norris - Unsplash


in Issue 1843

Imperial College Union (ICU) will lobby Imperial for more part-time work opportunities for students, and Union representatives will call on UK Research and Innovation to increase its London PhD stipends.

The decisions follow Tuesday’s Union Council meeting, where student representatives approved two motions aimed at addressing the impact of the cost-of-living crisis on Imperial students.

Part-time work

ICU resolved to facilitate more employment opportunities for students, and where possible, will try to find flexible part-time jobs at the Union that account for the commitments students must make towards their degrees.

Council members debated the merits of setting internal limits on part-time work, noting that it was a necessity for many, but that it could harm their university work.

Imperial discourages part-time work during term time, but recommends that if ‘unavoidable, [students] work no more than 10 to 15 hours per week’. International students cannot work more than 20 hours a week under UK law.

The Union will meet with students and the College for further discussions on the impact of part-time work.

PhD stipends

The second motion addressed PhD stipends, which support doctoral students with their living costs. Stipend rates are outlined by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), and generally matched by PhD funders across the country.

UKRI sets out two main rates that are updated each academic year: one for London, currently set at £20,622, and one for students outside London, set at £18,622. The £2,000 difference is a ‘London allowance’, to account for the additional costs of living in the capital.

At Tuesday’s Council session, students called for an increase to the London allowance, which has been fixed at the same level for the past 30 years.

They estimate that annual rents in London now exceed those in the next most expensive region by over £6,000 and argued that the current allowance does not adequately account for this.

The paper faced opposition from Silwood Chair Jack Arthur, who said that focusing on London alone did a ‘disservice’ to other UK universities, where students are also facing cost-of-living pressures. He instead called for an increase to the base rate paid to doctoral students across the country.

The paper was passed unanimously without the changes suggested by Arthur, and ICU’s student representatives will now attempt to form a working group with other London universities in order to lobby UKRI.

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