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Covid-19 Research Grants Funder Statements – University of Reading

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  • Covid-19 Funder Statements

Covid-19 Research Grants Funder Statements

Statements from funders

This page was last updated on 07 July 2020.

The following funders have provided updates and statements with regard to the funding and progress of current and future projects:

 

UKRI

Update 27th June 2020

The ongoing situation regarding coronavirus has significantly impacted the research and innovation community. The nature of these impacts is evolving. Wherever we can we are taking quick decisions, identifying new issues as they emerge and providing answers and support wherever possible.

 

Applications for funding

UKRI funding programmes continue and all our systems are operating as normal.

The deadlines on all open funding opportunities will be extended to give applicants more time to submit their applications. These extensions will be managed on a case-by-case basis. 'No-cost' extension requests to grants impacted by coronavirus will be allowed.

Any extensions or other changes to call details are published with the call information on the relevant council web pages.

 

If you have been awarded a responsive-mode grant or fellowship

You can delay starting your project. You now have six months to start, instead of three.  An additional clause will be added to newly offered grant letters for all UKRI responsive mode calls.

 

If you have been awarded other grants

For grants funded through strategic and managed mode funding calls the current starting policy will apply. Any extension requests for these calls will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Requests should be submitted via a Je-S enquiry to be reviewed by the appropriate funder.

If you have any other grant specific queries please feed them back to us using the standard grant enquiry communication route via Je-S. For any other questions please contact us using your normal communication channels.

In addition, UK Research and Innovation has announced it will deploy £180 million of funding for organisations to sustain UKRI grant-funded research and fellowships affected by the COVID-19 pandemic i.e costed extensions for certain projects. Please see news story.

 

If you are a student or receiving a training grant

Many students are unable to complete essential tasks or experiments they need to carry out to complete their thesis. For instance, your library or lab may be closed or you may be part of a particularly vulnerable group, or have additional caring duties.

We have produced detailed guidance for doctoral students supported by UKRI research council programmes. The guidance is for training grant holders, research organisations, doctoral students, and co-funding partners.

Guidance for students and training grants (PDF, 155KB)

 

If you are a researcher or partner working internationally, or need to travel

To ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of research participants and partners, we expect UK and in-country teams to follow the guidance from national and regional governments and adjust to virtual, remote working if possible.

Where travel is impacted, if researchers or students cannot travel due to government/official advice, or it poses a risk to the individual (due to an underlying medical condition etc.), this can be charged to the grant in line with any other cost.

If that cost cannot be absorbed by any overall underspend on the grant, then UKRI will cover that small addition.

EU - Horizon 2020

The most up to date information regarding projects funded through the European Union can be found on the dedicated EU Statements page.  This includes further information and Frequently Asked Questions.

 

Wellcome Trust

Wellcome have detailed guidance on how to deal with disruptuion caused by COVID-19.

No-cost extensions for grants that are due to end in 2020 or 2021

We will extend all grants by up to six months, to allow for any disruption caused by the pandemic.

We will consider longer extensions, but only if your grant includes:

  • clinical trials

  • fieldwork

  • critical animal studies such as:

  • i) rederivation of transgenic lines

  • ii) long-term disease models.

What you need to do: You don't have to do anything yet. We are working on the extension process and will update this section as soon as information is available. We want the process to be as efficient as possible for grantholders, research offices and our staff.

 

No-cost extensions for grants that are due to end 1 January 2022 onwards

We expect grantholders to be flexible in how they manage their programmes of work, to minimise the impact of the disruption. We will only consider requests for extensions where there has been significant disruption to your research that you cannot otherwise manage.

What you need to do: You should follow our normal no-cost extension policy and process.

 

Extensions to PhD submission deadlines

If your studentship is due to end in 2020, you can extend your submission deadline by up to six months.

If your studentship is due to end in 2021, you can extend your submission deadline by up to three months.

What you need to do: You don't need to ask us to confirm your extension. You must discuss it with your Programme Director.

Salaries and stipends

If your grant is due to end 1 March to 31 December 2020, we will provide an additional six month's funding to pay for:

  • your salary if you're the lead applicant and you currently receive a salary from Wellcome
  • salaries of staff employed on your grant
  • stipends for PhD studentships.

If your grant is due to end in 2021, we will provide an additional three month's funding to pay for:

  • your salary if you're the lead applicant and you currently receive a salary from Wellcome
  • salaries of staff employed on your grant
  • stipends for PhD studentships.

If your grant is due to end in 2022 or later, we expect you to manage your existing funds to lessen the impact of the pandemic disruption. Please follow our usual policies on:

What you need to do
You don't need to do anything. If your grant finishes in 2020 or 2021, and is eligible for a supplement, we will calculate the value of the supplement based on the budget awarded for salary and stipend support. We will write to let you know if you're eligible for a supplement. We will do this as soon as we're able to.

 

Furloughing of staff.

We cannot provide advice on whether an employer can furlough their staff as this is a government scheme. If your employer determines that you can make use of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (opens in a new tab) (CJRS), we encourage you to do so. If staff salaried on our grants are furloughed, they must be paid a full salary. Grant funds can be used to cover any shortfall in payments through the CJRS.

If we give you a salary or stipend supplement and you also receive funds from the CJRS to support salaries during the disruption, you must deduct the CJRS amount when submitting your Final Expenditure Report. You will not be permitted to extend your grant further by using both sources of funding, and unspent funds will be written back to Wellcome. We will contact grantholders soon about any supplement and will update this page when we have new information.

If you do not receive a salary or stipend supplement from Wellcome, you can use the following to enable an extension:

  • any funds received to support the grant from the CJRS, and
  • the remaining funds on your grant.

 

British Heart Foundation

Current research grants guidance

If research institutions shut down for a period of time, our current position is that we will continue to pay the salaries of staff funded on grants. Likewise, if clinical studies pause for a period of time, for example due to redeployment of staff or interruption of patient recruitment, our current position is that we will continue to pay salaries, including those supported in CTUs.

Where appropriate, we encourage employing institutions to use the government's Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme for staff funded on our grants. We will pay the unrecoverable portion of the salary. Please keep a record and inform us of any affected staff member(s) and the duration of the furlough period (start/end dates).

We are prepared to support requests for no-cost extensions to eligible grants to cover any delays caused by suspension of research. If a costed extension to an eligible grant is required, we will consider requests on a case by case basis.

 

General principles of grant extensions:

  • Any extension to a currently active research grant through this emergency scheme is intended to mitigate the impact of the Covid-19 disruption on the delivery of critical component(s) of the funded project. It is not an opportunity to undertake additional work.
  • The scheme applies only to standard grants awarded by our Chairs and Programme Grants, Fellowships and Project Grants Committees. Mitigation for PhD studentships and grants awarded by our Clinical Studies and Translational Awards Committees will be considered through bespoke mechanisms.
  • Holders of grants funded jointly with another organisation should contact the lead funder regarding grant extension.
  • All grants that were active on 01 April 2020 are eligible for a no-cost extension of up to 6 months, applications for which will be approved subject to internal assessment (see "How to apply for a no-cost extension" in the Guidance for Applicants document).
  • Grants that were active on 01 April 2020 and have a current end date in July 2020 to December 2021 are eligible for a costed extension of up to 3 months, which may be combined with a no-cost extension provided the total extension period does not exceed 6 months. Applications for costed extension will be assessed through peer review by the Committee that made the original award (see "How to apply for a costed extension" in the Guidance for Applicants document).
  • Grants that were active on 01 April 2020 and expire(d) by June 2020 are not eligible for a costed extension and can only be considered for a no-cost extension.
  • The same grant may not be submitted through both the no-cost and the costed extension schemes.
  • All applications should be submitted online through the BHF Grants Management System

Please refer to the Covid-19 disruption grant extension scheme for details.

 

Leverhulme Trust

The Leverhulme Trust updated its position regarding  COVID-19 and how it affects grants and grant holders on 23 March.

 

If you are applying for a Grant, Award or Fellowship

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

If your organisation is closed and unable to approve and submit an application, we can do this on their behalf, but we will need agreement from an appropriate person in your organisation to do this. Please contact us at grants@leverhulme.ac.uk

 

If you hold a Trust Grant, Award or Fellowship

If you have paid costs for an event, fieldwork or travel which has been cancelled, and these costs cannot be reimbursed or claimed for under insurance, you can claim these against your grant.

If you will need to rebook an event, fieldwork or travel at a later date, then these costs can be charged to your grant. In the first instance we would expect these costs to be managed within the existing budget.

We will generally allow requests to extend your grant if you don't need additional costs.

You 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 your research.

We do however, require you to email and request any of the changes above to:

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. You should approach the Trust only when you are in a position to be clear about the length of an extension and the cost involved. We will then advise you of the process to follow. Applications will be considered on a case by case basis.

 

British Academy

British Academy award-holders should follow the advice of their institution and that of the government.

We encourage award-holders to investigate, where necessary, all possible alternative ways of continuing to progress their research. However, we understand that the outbreak may impact on the activities associated with some awards and will treat all requests for no-cost extensions to awards and requests for virement of funding between cost headings sympathetically. These should be requested in the usual way, by contacting the British Academy at the email contacts given below and by completing a change request form in the British Academy / FlexiGrant system. If you have been unable to recover costs from a travel operator or insurance, costs can be charged to grants. Grants often end with an underspend and we expect award-holders to be able to absorb these costs through this and other re-arrangements in their budgets.

If you have specific issues or concerns then do contact the Research Funding team at grants@thebritishacademy.ac.uk or the International team at international@thebritishacademy.ac.uk.

 

Royal Society

The Royal Society is aiming to minimise the impact of the global health situation on our award holders.  The Society will provide as pragmatic support as possible, recognising the impact of the coronavirus on research is significant and evolving.

The Society is working with award holders and their organisations as well as the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to ensure that fair and appropriate support is in place.

We will be aiming to minimise the impact of the coronavirus on funded activities as far as possible.

If your organisation (Reading) is closed and unable to approve and submit an application, the Society can do this on their behalf but will require agreement from your organisation to do so. The relevant individuals should email grants@royalsociety.org, quoting the application reference, to confirm their agreement.

 

MRC

The MRC are aware that some researchers may need to prioritise other activities, for example deployment in the NHS, and they are very happy to consider requests that grants are held in abeyance or have a no-cost extension. If you have any queries about these matters please e-mail the grants team (rfpd@mrc.ukri.org). We will do our best to keep our funding panels operational over the next few months and would really appreciate it if you can rally round to help make this happen by helping with our review processes if asked.

 

Cancer Research UK

CRUK has made the difficult decision to defer all panels and committees.  All applications submitted for the current funding round will be considered in the autumn.  Where an application has been made for the renewal of an existing grant, bridge-funding will be provided.

If your Host Institution is closed and unable to approve and submit a funding application as usual, we can do this on their behalf.  Please ask your usual Host Institution approver to confirm their agreement for us to submit the application on their behalf to grants.helpline@cancer.org.uk.

We plan to open for applications to the autumn funding round as normal, but this is a rapidly developing situation and we will communicate any changes as soon as we can.

Any disruptions to research funding activities due to the COVID-19 pandemic will be taken into consideration by our panels and committees to make appropriate adjustments when assessing your record of outputs, research achievements, and career progression.

If you're funded by Cancer Research UK

If you're a researcher or student funded by us, to help minimise the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, we'll provide the following support.

We'll follow the policy of your Host Institution if any staff on a grant or students:

  • are unwell
  • need to self-isolate
  • have caring responsibilities for someone affected.

For research staff, we mandate, as a condition of its funding, that your Host Institution bear the costs of your paid leave entitlements consistently with its own employment policies.

As the situation progresses, we are aware that clinical academics and research nurses may be seconded back to the NHS to support front line service delivery. CRUK will fully support this request; the urgent patient care comes first and you can return to clinical practice if required. The exceptions would be in those situations where there would be a duty of care for cancer patients on certain clinical trials. Such decisions must be made locally.

For clinical academics seconded back to the NHS, our expectation is that the NHS will cover your salary whilst working on the COVID-19 response. We're continuing these discussions across the sector. You can also request a no cost extension to your grant.

For other grants which may be affected (for example, if your institution closes), we will look to minimise the impact on our funded research activities wherever possible.

We will offer increased flexibility across our grants to enable you to manage your award.

You can delay the start date of your grant by delaying the activation of the grant by up to 6 months.

We will be flexible on the use of underspend and budget virements to cover any exceptional and additional costs incurred by the COVID-19 pandemic to keep your research activities going.

Our default position will be to offer you a no-cost extension if needed. No-cost extension requests should be made in writing to us.

We'll consider requests to put your grant into abeyance, where we suspend your grant if you want to pause payments and activities on the grant.

If you're a researcher or student funded by us and you now cannot travel due to government/official advice, or it poses a risk to you (due to an underlying medical condition, etc) you can use underspend to cover reasonable incurred costs, where it's not covered by insurance.

 

National Institute for Health Research

 NIHR will allow organisations that need to pause NIHR funded research to continue to be paid in line with their existing payment schedules. This will be reviewed and payment schedules will be updated as usual following the annual statement of expenditure exercise, if contractors indicate that profiles need to change to reflect revised spending plans.  NIHR will be sympathetic to extending contracts so that research paused because of COVID-19 has longer to deliver.  Applications for funding to cover additional research costs due to contract extensions will be considered.

Organisations that pause research will continue to receive funding from DHSC/NIHR in line with processes which support existing payment schedules.  If COVID-19 pressures continue for an extended period, the mechanisms of funding flows to organisations who are re-deploying staff may be revisited after further discussion between DHSC and NHSE/I.

 

COST Actions

Information regarding funding through COST Actions can be found on the EU Research Grants Statements page.

 

Met Office

CSSP China projects

As you are aware, we are entering an unprecedented phase due to COVID-19 which is impacting on us all. With regard to your obligations under CSSP China, we appreciate that this will be a challenging time as many organisations move to homeworking, restricted travel remains in place and personal circumstances may limit working hours. This, in addition to advice around limiting social contact means that there may be delays in certain aspects of your project delivery.

The Met Office are currently seeking advice from BEIS on how we can accommodate delays and slippage. From a contractual point of view, please be reassured that we see this as a Force Majeure event, meaning there will be flexibility in deadlines where it is unavoidable. In the meantime we need to assess the current situation and continue to monitor developments to understand what contract changes may be needed. Please could you take the following actions:

1. Summary of Current Situation

Please advise any impacts that you are aware of on the following:

  • Milestones and Deliverables

  • Travel outlined in your research plan, including conference attendance (UK and in-country)

  • Visiting Scientists

  • Impacts on recruitment of new project team members

  • Impacts on current named project team members (e.g. availability for work)

  • Any other feedback

It is recognised that personal impacts on individuals may not be fully clear yet while we are all still finding our feet with new ways of working.  If you don't yet have details or need time to discuss changes to plans with your work package lead please provide an initial indication of the likely scale of impact on your project, with more detailed response as agreed with your WPL by 22nd April.

2. Ongoing Monitoring

Please can you:

  • Continue to report monthly on all milestones/deliverables, giving a short status update on the usual Checkpoint report dates (it is understood that reports may be briefer than normal)

  • Include brief details of mitigating actions being taken

  • Please make every effort to avoid slippage if possible, if that is not possible we will need to formalise contract amendments. To put contract amendments in place I would need a revised version of your Research Plan, with track changes, highlighting any changes made to the Activity Plan, Resource Plan and Financial Breakdown. This is particularly important for:

  • i) Any deliverable that you expect to move from one financial year to the next

  • ii) Any adjustment expected to impact a payment milestone.

 

Alzheimer's Society

A message from our Chief Policy and Research Officer, Fiona Carragher:

'A number of you have contacted the Society about the impact of the coronavirus on your grants. We do not wish for you or your team to be exposed to any unnecessary risk and we are acutely aware that many of your projects involve working directly with people affected by dementia, a particularly vulnerable group. We ask that you follow any local or national guidance about how to manage the virus and safeguard those that you're working with.

'We are aware that your work may therefore be suspended or delayed and you may not be able to complete your projects within the agreed timescales. We'd like to reassure you that we want to support the delivery of the research we have funded and are putting in place contingency plans so your research can be completed.

'We're supportive of mitigations you may need to put in place to minimize the impact where possible. For example reordering work packages, delaying recruitment and remote working. We will be flexible with abeyance or no-cost extensions, underspend and virements, but will require notification to formerly confirm the agreement. If clinicians are called back to front line services the NHS will cover salary costs for this time.

'We will consider cost extensions resulting from the coronavirus on a case-by-case basis, to review the overall costs with host institutions and minimise the financial impacts of the shut down where they are not covered by insurance. Any requests for cost extensions will be considered at the current end date of the project. This will enable us to assess the actual impact of delays and allow us to review the full costs with you and your host institution.

'We will be monitoring the impact of the virus through your progress reports and may seek additional information from you at a later date about any potential impact on your grant.

'If you have any specific concerns about your grant please contact grantenquiries@alzheimers.org.uk'

 

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