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The Staff Award scheme exists to provide University staff with financial support for University courses that will help them to develop within their current role and be of broader benefit to their department; or enable them to acquire new skills and deal with changes in role and responsibility within the University. The majority of recipients over the last five years have been University employees undertaking a DPhil course within their own department, having received an offer through the normal admissions process


  • RAs that have been in post at least 12 months before commencing a DPhil/MSc (Res) with us, who can demonstrate how completing a DPhil or MSc (Res) will support their development within their current role and be of benefit to their department (as outlined above in ‘context’).

    NB. This means the RA contract should therefore not have been set up specifically with a view to applying to this scheme, though the department (the DGSes in discussion with the HAF and the Academic Administration Manager) are happy to consider exceptional cases on an individual basis.
  • The RA contract must be for a minimum of 0.5FTE, since employees wishing to be considered under the scheme must be able to show that their primary role is as a member of staff of the University.
  • MSc (Res) or DPhil, part-time only (*), in Clinical Neurosciences only. Courses at any other department or faculty within the University cannot be sponsored by NDCN under this scheme.
  • The applicant can apply via the University online graduate entry application system in either the December round or the Open Field; this will not affect the granting of the departmental subsidy.
  • Applicants must meet the standard graduate entry requirements, and must be successful at being made an academic offer from the department.

*The part-time restriction is to guard against student burnout and conflict of interest, especially if the RA work is different in nature and has a different line manager to the supervisor for the DPhil project.

What the award covers

  • 30% of part-time Home fees for the duration of the RA employment contract or until the awardee reaches the end of fee liability (whichever comes first). Where a contract finishes in the period October-September (= the three full Oxford terms) the fee contribution will be made for the entirety of the academic year in question.

To clarify by means of an example: RA contracts that end February 2024 would be entitled to have the fee contribution for the entirety of the academic year 23-24. Contracts that finish in September 2024 would not qualify to have the fee contribution applied for the academic year 24-25.

  • Contributions for RAs with Overseas fee status who fulfill eligibility conditions will be subject to the Home fees cap as outlined in the bullet point above.

A student can start receiving the subsidy partway through a research degree once they have been in post long enough, but no retrospective fees support will be given.