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UKRI COVID-19 Extension Allocation – University of Reading

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  • UKRI COVID-19 Extension Allocation

UKRI COVID-19 Extension Allocation

Page Updated 08 September 2020

The University received notification in August of our UKRI COVID-19 extension allocation (CoA).  We feel the fairest way to approach this is to survey ALL eligible UKRI grant holders to determine the amount of disruption they have faced and the potential need for additional funding to complete work as originally planned.

The survey was sent directly to all UKRI grant holders  (w/c 10th August) and we are asking all PIs to complete this survey for each of their UKRI grants, regardless of whether they might need a costed extension or not. This is so we can be sure we have heard from all grant holders so that we understand the demand for funding.

It's important to note that we only have limited funds and there are restrictions imposed on us by UKRI, such as adhering to certain disciplinary funding proportions and the split of funds to co-applicant organisations. As such, we might not be able to fund all requests but we are hoping to fund the additional costs (additional PDRA/technician/other project staff time, consumables and other directly incurred costs) for as many projects as possible.

Guidance on CoA

EXTENSIONS

Projects ending before 30th September 2021

UKRI published revised terms for CoA on the 25th August and these now state that non-ODA projects ending before 30th September 2021 will not be able to benefit from a no-cost extension and receive CoA support if UKRI did not approve the no-cost extension before the 31st July 2020 unless the no-cost extension requests are to accommodate parental leave or sickness.

Therefore, we are asking PIs of these non-ODA grants finishing before 30th September 2021 that may need additional funds, to hold off on submitting no-cost extension requests (unless they are only for parental leave or sickness) until the survey has been completed and we have determined whether or not funds will be needed and/or allocated to these projects.

ODA projects ending before 30th September 2021 will be able to benefit from a no-cost extension and receive CoA support if a no-cost extension has been accepted by 31st October 2020, or if the no-cost extension is to accommodate parental leave or sickness.

If a project doesn't need any additional funds then a no-cost extension can be sought but this will make it ineligible for CoA in the future.

Please note - No-cost extension requests approved by UKRI after 31st July 2020 can be revoked if required and Research Accounts will be in contact with those affected to check.

 

General principles

In order to ensure that the CoA funds go to those projects that have faced disruption:

PIs can vire between heading within their own grant i.e. to use savings on travel to pay for additional staff time etc.

If project progressed has not been impacted and an extension to the current end date is not needed, you should not request any additional funds from CoA via the survey (but please complete the survey!)

If staff employed in the grant have been furloughed, then there should be sufficient funds within the grant to extend the contracts of the affected staff by the length of their furlough period. CoA cannot be used to pay for or top up furloughed staff. We would normally expect grants with furloughed staff to seek no-cost extensions to spend existing grant funds and only apply for CoA funds in exceptional circumstances (for example if grants have to restart activities and therefore significantly more research staff time is required)

If you need a little extra time to complete your work but have sufficient funds within the grant remaining to cover all foreseeable expenditure, then you should not ask for any additional funds via the survey and a No-Cost Extension should be requested through Je-S. Please check with your research accountant.

ELIGIBILITY

Which projects are eligible to receive this funding?

All live UKRI grants including Innovate UK grants apart from:

  • Those subject to restricted or non-competitive renewals such as;

  • (i) block grants with automatic renewals

  • (ii) strategic funding for Institutes

  • (iii) facilities

  • (iv) NERC National Capability

  • (v) capital funding calls

  • (vi) services or activities that have been provided for separately such as studentships

  • Some Innovate grants:

  • (i) OLEV, ATI, APC and CCAV grants

  • (ii) KTPs

  • Projects finishing before 30th September 2021 that have been granted a no cost extension by UKRI after 31st July 2020 (see above).

Please note that we cannot extend projects that have already finished.

SURVEY

How will the survey responses be assessed?

All survey responses will be assessed by a Steering group consisting of Research Deans, members of RES, Research Accounts and HR based on the following criteria:

  • Eligibility of proposed spend

  • Eligibility of project to receive CoA funding

  • Disciplinary balance (to maintain the disciplinary splits as provided by UKRI)

  • Co-Investigator funding balance (only 10% variation allowed in balance between UoR and external organisation)

In the event of a greater call on the budget than the funds allow, prioritisation will be as follows:

  • Projects with an end date before 31st March 2021

  • Projects where the research outcomes have been severely compromised

  • Projects and staff working on grants that have seen the greatest degree of disruption and disadvantage incurred through the pandemic and its impacts

What happens if I am not able to resume the grant work and am unsure when I might be able to re-start work?

If survey responses indicate that there are ongoing levels of disruption and that the full effects on some projects may not be known for a while, then we will reserve a % of the budget for funding later tranche of funding to be awarded at the discretion of the steering group.

COLLABORATIVE GRANTS

Collaborative grants with other UK institutions

If the University of Reading is the lead organisation, the UoR PI should contact their co-investigators at other UK organisations to determine if additional funding is needed and how much that might be. If additional funding is required by the other UK organisations, we will amend collaboration agreements and provide funds to any affected organisations.

Please note we can only provide funds to other UK organisations in roughly the same proportions as the original budget split.

If we are co-investigators on collaborative grants where progress has been disrupted and additional funds are needed, the UoR PI should discuss this with the overall project PI and see if we can access funds via the lead organisations' CoA fund. In the (hopefully unlikely) event that the lead organisation does not have funding available, we will endeavour to cover this from our own allocation.

FUNDING

What funding will CoA provide?

In order to make the funding available to as many projects and staff working on grants who have faced disruption as possible, we intend to fund DI costs (staff, consumables) as a priority.

In the unlikely event that all of the CoA isn't allocated, we may award additional PI/CoI time (based on the extra hours researchers have spent) to the projects that have suffered the greatest level of disruption.

 

When does the CoA funding have to be spent by?

The end date for expenditure is the 30th September 2021. We are able to support grants ending after this date if necessary by moving expenditure to the CoA and then the grant picking up the later funding.

 

Are there any ineligible costs and activities under CoA?

The following are ineligible:

  • generic estates and infrastructure costs not associated with grants

  • permanent RO administrative staff

  • studentships or undergraduate activity

  • new research or gathering preliminary data for new research bids

  • costs usually categorised as 'exceptional' such as equipment

  • topping up the salary of furloughed staff

 

Can I provide costs to overseas organisations?

Unfortunately, not - the terms and conditions of the CoA grant only allow funds to be used for UK organisations.

 

How do I work out staff costs?

At this point, we only need estimates. We have provided below 3 month 100% staff costs (including on costs) for different grades and you can pro rate as needed to estimate the costs.

100%, 3 months

Grade 4

Low

5983

High

6950

Grade 5

Low

7615

High

8600

Grade 6

Low

10200

High

12250

Grade 7

Low

13750

High

15550

PRACTICALITIES

What happens if I am allocated funding from the CoA?

Once the funding has been allocated, all PIs will be informed and the research accounts team will set up sub-project codes for each project awarded so that expenditure can be tracked separately.

Monitoring and reporting

The Research Accounts (RA) team will provide reports to PIs of CoA sub-projects every month and highlight to the PI when projects have over or underspent. The RA team will also contact PIs with CoA projects at the end of their extension period to check projects have been completed and that no further funding is required.

 

FURTHER DETAILS

For further details on CoA please see the UKRI webpages.

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