Anthropology students are asking supporters to sign an open letter in solidarity of our bid for funded extensions.

We are encouraged by the fact that 340 of you have decided to help push back against UKRI’s announcement that it will provide only limited funded extensions for non-final-year PhD students. This directly affects all anthropology PhD students whose fieldwork has been unavoidably postponed or interrupted by COVID-19.

In case you have not yet signed your name, we would be very grateful if you would consider doing so by Friday 4th December.

Convincing UKRI to grant 6-month funded extensions to all current PhD students will help us to complete our projects at the doctoral standard for which they have funded us. Without these extensions, many anthropology PhD students will not be able to complete their PhDs, or may have to apply for jobs to support themselves during the write-up phase. This will undoubtedly affect the quality of their final theses and their future job prospects.

Please read and sign the open letter here, and share with your networks (including on social media) if you have not already done so. If anyone has any contacts in the media, please direct them to this petition.

We also recognise that anthropologists are not the only researchers who are negatively impacted by UKRI’s decision. We welcome signatures from members of other disciplines and from those outside the UK. These will be included in the open letter when we send it to the UKRI.

Finally, if you are an anthropology PhD student, we want to hear how UKRI’s decision has impacted your research. Please share a summary of your specific case, of up to 300 words, with Alastair Lomas by 4th December ( These will be compiled and shared to the UKRI anonymously when we publish the letter.

A huge THANK YOU for all your continued support - we’re feeling the solidarity!

From UKRI-funded anthropology PhD researchers at the University of Manchester AND everyone who has signed the letter.