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Research Operations Office

 

Research funders continue to update their guidance and advice for researchers. Here are some of the major sponsors with a summary of their current position regarding grant holders, grant applications and COVID-19 research. 

The Office for Translational Research (OTR) has a webpage dedicated to COVID-19 funding calls.

Alzheimer's Research UK (ARUK)
Current Award Holders Applications COVID-19 Research

They will support requests for no-cost extensions.

They will continue to be flexible with budget virements to ensure that any underspend can be fully utilised to cover unexpected costs caused by COVID-19.

They will consider requests to temporarily suspend grants for a period of up to 3 months.

ARUK have postponed their response - mode programme until the Autumn.  -
https://www.alzheimersresearchuk.org/

 

AMRC

The Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC) membership has grown to over 140 charities and supports them in saving and improving lives through research and innovation. Key organisations and sector bodies are publishing statements and guidance which the AMRC has collated on their website.

BHF

Current Award Holders

Applications COVID-19 Research
  • Continue to pay salaries for staff on grants and clinical studies for that duration
  • Will support requests for no-cost extensions
  • Will consider costed extensions on a case by case basis

Standard grant schemes remain open and applications to be submitted via normal process with flexibility for supporting documentation

The NIHR-BHF Cardiovascular Partnership,supported by the British Cardiovascular Society, has established a framework for rapid set-up and delivery of research projects that address high-priority questions on Covid-19 and cardiovascular health. Details of the new framework and guidance on submission of proposals are available at https://www.bhf.org.uk/for-professionals/information-for-researchers/new-framework-for-covid-19-research

Clinical researchers whose posts are directly funded by the BHF may devote their time and the time of any support staff in their award to Covid-19 research, until they are able to return to their normal research activity.

https://www.bhf.org.uk/for-professionals/information-for-researchers/bhf-research-position-statement-on-covid-19

 

CRUK
Current Award Holders Applications COVID-19 Research
Our institutes’ and existing response-mode funding will be cut by 5–10% and our centres and wider infrastructure by up to 20% this year. The Spring funding round of panel and committees has been deferred until the Autumn. If you submitted an application for the current Spring funding round it will considered alongside those in the Autumn funding round. Cancer Research UK (CRUK) institutes and laboratories are repurposing their resources to help the COVID-19 response.

https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/funding-for-researchers/research-features/2020-04-06-covid-19-open-letter-to-cancer-researchers

https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/funding-for-researchers/applying-for-funding/policies-that-affect-your-grant/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-grant-applicants-and-grantholders

 

European Funding

For Horizon 2020 and EU funded projects, in the absence of any instruction to the contrary from the EC, participants should continue to advise the Project Officer and/or (in the case of a collaborative project) the Coordinator in the case of any circumstance that is likely to affect the implementation of the project. 

 

Frequently Asked Questions on Horizon 2020 Projects

The European Commission has published answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) on COVID-19 and its impact on Horizon 2020 projects and calls for proposals. These pages are being updated on a regular basis so it is advised to re-visit guidance if in doubt.

In relation to the eligibility of costs beneficiaries must keep appropriate and sufficient evidence to prove the eligibility of all cost declared, proper implementation of the action and compliance with all the other obligations under the grant in accordance with Article 18 of the H2020 general model grant agreement. Given these exceptional circumstances, beneficiaries might have to depart from their usual records or supporting documents and it is important to keep all documents necessary to prove the eligibility of the costs incurred (like any other costs incurred under the action) as well as all documents proving that they have taken all necessary steps to limit any damage due to force majeure. For instance, emails aiming at cancelling the train/flight ticket, claiming the reimbursement from the cancellation insurance (if applicable), changing the flight/train ticket (if possible), etc.

Article 51 (Page 347) of the H2020 Model Grant Agreement (H2020 MGA) sets out the general framework and conditions in which the force majeure clause can be used. As a general rule under H2020, in case of force majeure, a party will be excused from not fulfilling its obligations (i.e. there will be no breach of obligations under the GA and none of the adverse measures for breach will be applied). Costs will be eligible, if they fulfil the general eligibility conditions like any other costs incurred under the action. The Research Office will monitor update this page as further guidance from the Commission emerges.

 

Call Deadlines

The recent escalation of restrictions related to the COVID-19 outbreak may impede applicants’ ability to prepare and finalise high-quality proposals. For this reason, some Horizon 2020 call deadlines are being postponed. The precise new deadlines for each call and topic will be published on the call and topic pages on the Funding and Tenders Portal, please also refer to their recently published FAQs for the latest updates.

 

Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA)

The Research Executive Agency (REA) has updated its pages on business continuity measures.

Evaluations of ongoing and upcoming proposals are being organised remotely. Grant management activities are continuing, however REA response time may be affected due to IT constraints. REA is applying a flexible approach to grant management, while assessing each request on a case-by-case basis. Beneficiaries should get in touch with their Project Officer and check the FAQs on the Funding and Tenders Portal;

Full MSCA guidance

 

ERC

Grant management activities are continuing as usual. Response times may be affected due to technical/IT constraints. They do not currently anticipate any delays to evaluations or application deadlines. ERC acknowledges that funded research projects are facing disruption and delays and have asked grantees and their host institutions to flag any problems to their usual counterparts in the ERC's scientific and granting departments. The agency will try to find solutions on a case-by-case basis, using the flexibility provided by the grant agreement.

Full ERC guidance

 

Erasmus

The Commission has released a statement explaining that it will apply maximum flexibility in the implementation of the programme, within the limits of the applicable legal framework. To deal with participants being unable to travel, or return home, due to COVID-19 restrictions, Erasmus+ National Agencies are now permitted to invoke ‘force majeure’ clauses whereby they may accept additional costs up to a maximum grant amount. Planned activities may also be postponed by up to 12 months per project. Following the Commission's statement, the UK National Agency has published dedicated travel advice for regions affected by the  COVID-19 outbreak.

 

Innovate UK
Current Award Holders Applications COVID-19 Research

Project Change Requests (PCR) - Innovate UK has created a fast track process to facilitate “no cost” time extension requests of up to three months for reasons relating to COVID-19, subject to a valid business case and normal legal and compliance requirements. Loans clients should contact their Credit Specialist in the first instance to understand how this change will be implemented. All other project change requests will follow our existing processes.

Some projects are currently not eligible to be considered for extensions, for example Smart programmes and those that have hard budget deadlines, such as the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF). These projects will now be able to submit PCRs for extensions of up to three months for reasons relating to COVID-19, in line with all other Innovate UK projects.

   
Link to Project Change Requests News Item

 

John Templeton Foundation
Current Award Holders Applications COVID-19 Research

For Grantees with Approved Proposals:

• For an approved proposal which is not yet signed, please contact your program team member if you would like to revise the start date or request a revised project timeline. If no contact is made they will continue to process grant agreements with what was requested in the proposal materials.

• Once you begin your project activities and spend grant funds, they will have much less flexibility to consider no-cost extensions.

For Current Grant Holders:

• They are willing to make adjustments to project timelines and stated outputs for the grant.

• They are willing to consider requests to revise budgets, change outputs and adjust project timelines

For Applicants Under Review

The review process will continue as planned and they are happy for applicants to get in touch with the program team about start dates and proposed project timelines.

 

https://www.templeton.org/news/a-message-to-our-grantees-and-applicants-on-covid-19

 

Leverhulme Trust

 

Current Grant Holders Applications COVID-19 Research
  • They will allow requests for no-cost extensions
  • Grant holders can also opt to delay the start of a new award or suspend a current award, if this would be a better option to manage their research. They do require an email requesting any of the changes: grants@leverhulme.ac.uk 
  • If there is the potential for research to be lost or severely compromised, then an application for a costed extension may be considered. Approach to the Trust should only be made once it is clear what the length of an extension is and the cost involved. 

All funding schemes and calls remain open for applications. Application deadlines, shortlisting, and decision dates will not change.

 -

https://www.leverhulme.ac.uk/news/covid-19-information-applicants-and-grant-holders

 

NIH

 

Current Award Holders Applications COVID-19 Research

The NIH has introduced flexibilities applicable to NIH applicants and recipients where the entity is conducting research activities related to or affected by COVID-19, relating to:

  • pre-award costs
  • extension of post-award financial and other reporting
  • prior approval requirement waivers
  • cost-related flexibilities/expenditure of award funds
  • extension of closeout
  • extension of single audit submission

Full details of flexibilities introduced by NIH

Full NIH policy on grant applications -
 

FAQs on proposal submission and award management related to COVID-19 are also available NIH COVID-19 FAQs 

 

NIHR
Current Award Holders Applications COVID-19 Research

Until further notice, the NIHR Clinical Research Network is pausing the site set up of any new or ongoing studies at NHS and social care sites that are not nationally prioritised COVID-19 studies. 

Q&A about if your research is paused: https://www.nihr.ac.uk/documents/qanda-on-the-impact-of-covid-19-on-research-funded-or-supported-by-nihr/24467

 -

High priority COVID-19 Urgent Public Health Research:

https://www.nihr.ac.uk/researchers/collaborations-services-and-support-for-your-research/run-your-study/government-support-for-research-related-to-covid-19.htm

 

New Research funding call COVID-19 and ethnicity: Deadline 9am on 11th May 2020 

https://www.nihr.ac.uk/news/nihr-and-ukri-launch-call-for-research-on-covid-19-and-ethnicity/24658

 

 

https://www.nihr.ac.uk/covid-19/

 

Parkinson's UK
Current Award Holders Applications COVID-19 Research
 

They are planning to continue with grant calls that are currently open. However, there may be some delay in the decision making process. 

The coronavirus will impact their ability to fundraise and this may affect the amount of research they can fund in 2020 and beyond. 

 

https://www.parkinsons.org.uk/research/impact-coronavirus-parkinsons-uk-funded-research

 

Royal Society

 

Current Award Holders Applications COVID-19 Research

They are committed to providing support where needed and to minimise the impact of COVID-19 on funded activities.

All funding programmes and calls currently remain open for applications in line with advertise dates. They will endeavour not to make any changes to application deadlines, interview dates or decision dates.

Extended deadline for Newton International Fellowship and International Collaboration Award open calls:

  • Newton International Fellowship extended deadline: Wednesday 8 April 3pm (BST)
  • International Collaboration Awards extended deadline: Tuesday 7 April 3pm (BST)

Call for modellers to support epidemic modelling

https://epcced.github.io/ramp/

https://royalsociety.org/grants-schemes-awards/grants/coronavirus-covid19-grants-information/

 

UKRI
Current Award Holders Applications New COVID-19 Research

For Response Mode grants the start of newly awarded grants may now be delayed by up to 6 months (instead of 3 months).

"No-cost" extension requests to grants impacted by Coronvirus will be allowed

UKRI funded doctoral students in their final year will receive an extension to their research with additional grants, known as a costed extension, of up to six months to complete their studies. FAQs for PhD students is available on the UKRI website.

 

Deadlines on all open funding opportunities will be extended to give applicants more time to submit their applications. Here is a list updated 7th May of all open and coming calls with their current deadlines and their extensions. Open call for research and innovationideas tackling COVID-19

https://www.ukri.org/news/coronavirus-impact-on-ukri-supported-research/

 

Wellcome Trust
 Current Award Holders Applications COVID-19 Research

Supplementary grant funding is available for

Salaries and stipends -

  • Grants ending 1 March to 31 December 2020, WT will provide an additional six month's funding to pay for salaries of staff employed on your grant stipends for PhD studentships.
  • If your grant is due to end in 2021, WT will provide an additional three month's funding to pay for salaries of staff employed on your grant and stipends for PhD studentships.

Where justified, additional funds for animal costs.

Where justified, additional fund for clinical trials if active and impacted during the pandemic.

In addition, no-cost extensions for grants that are due to end in 2020 or 2021 can be extended by up to six months.

 

If award holders are called away to work on the Coronvirus, WT will pay the following costs

  • Grantholder – the running costs and salaries of anyone employed on your grant.
  • Fellow – your salary, running costs and salaries of anyone employed on your grant. They will only pay salary if it’s not provided from elsewhere (for example, the NHS).

  • Member of staff employed on a grant – salary. They will only pay this if it’s not provided from elsewhere (for example, the NHS).

 

  • All funding schemes to remain open
  • Extended the deadlines by one week for any schemes with an application deadline up to the end of April 2020. 

The targeted funding call for COVID-19 related research has now closed. For any COVID-19 related research enquiries, email epidemics@wellcome.ac.uk

 

https://wellcome.ac.uk/grant-funding/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-information-grant-applicants-and-grantholders