The Government is aware of the impact of COVID-19 on the ability of STEM PhD students to complete lab-based work.
I have written an open letter, encouraging the sector – where possible and fully in line with government advice – to continue with science- and research-related business. This sets out that universities and research institutes will be best-placed to make decisions themselves about what should be paused or stopped. The letter has been published on the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) website: https://www.ukri.org/files/news/science-minister-letter-covid19/.
UKRI is continuing to engage with the higher education sector, and confirmed on 9 April that it will offer a costed extension of up to six months for UKRI PhD students due to complete by 31 March 2021 whose study has been impacted by the pandemic.