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COVID-19 Research Grants Funder Statements

Statements from funders

This page was last updated on 17 March 2021

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


UKRI

Please see here for latest statement.

Extensions for fellowships and standard grants

You now have six months to start your project, instead of three, if you've been awarded a fellowship or standard grant.

All grant letters for new UKRI standard grant opportunities will provide six months to start.

Extensions for strategic and managed mode grants

You can make a request for an extension for a strategic or managed mode grant through Joint Electronic Submission system (Je-S).

Each request will be considered individually by your funder.

Submit your request as a Je-S enquiry.

COVID-19 grant extension allocation

UKRI is distributing funding of up to £180 million to support research and technical staff whose projects have been disrupted. Universities and organisations are receiving COVID-19 allocations.  See RES UKRI COVID-19 extension allocation pages for further details.

Support for Students

Adapting your project

The effects of COVID-19 might mean you need to adapt your original project.

If you haven't already, talk to your supervisor about ways to do this to make sure you can finish in your funding period.

Adapting could involve:

  • changing your research question
  • changing your approach to data collection
  • changing your analyses and the tools you use
  • rescheduling aspects of your research.

You should prioritise adapting your project before requesting a COVID-19-related extension.

Extension funding

If you are finding it difficult to adapt your project, you may be eligible for more UKRI funding.

You must apply for this funding through your research organisation. Contact your research organisation to find out how.

You can apply if:

  • your UKRI funding started before 1 March 2020
  • you have not already received a UKRI-funded COVID-19 extension
  • you have been unable to adapt your project to finish in your existing funding period.

UKRI is giving £19 million of funding to research organisations. Research organisations must base funding decisions on which students are most in need. They must not base decisions on research area or project merit.

Find out more about the funding available in the:

About our funding policy

UKRI published its policy on support for doctoral students on 11 November 2020.

Find out how UKRI set this funding policy.

Sick leave

We are asking research organisations to treat sick leave caused by the pandemic differently to our normal sick leave policy.

This means:

  • you may not need a medical certificate to prove sickness caused by the pandemic
  • sick leave extensions aren’t limited to 13 weeks in length.

Find out more in the ‘student health and well-being’ section of our guidance for doctoral students supported by UKRI (PDF, 80KB).

Shielding

If you are shielding, and are not able to work from home, you can use your shielding letter to claim sick pay.

UKRI is in the process of confirming this policy with training grant holders.

Change in mode of study

If the pandemic has caused a change in personal or household circumstances, you can change your mode of study.

Changing your mode of study could mean switching from full time to part time, or part time to full time.

You can change your mode of study because of the pandemic more than once. This means you have flexibility if your circumstances change again.

Before you change

There are other options available to help you adapt.

Before you switch, first consider:

  • getting support to adjust your project
  • applying for our doctoral extension funding.

Find out more in the ‘part-time students’ section of our guidance for doctoral students supported by UKRI (PDF, 80KB).

Redeployment

If you are supporting the government response to COVID-19, UKRI will agree to an extension.

Examples of this include:

  • returning to clinical service
  • working in an NHS Test and Trace laboratory.

More Guidance
Read more in our guidance for doctoral students supported by UKRI (PDF, 80KB).

This includes guidance on:

  • events, activities and placements
  • co-funding
  • additional costs.

 

 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. 

Supplementary grant funding

These are the costs we’ll pay if your grant is affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.

See support for those directly involved in delivery of the COVID-19 response for information on the costs we’ll cover if you're called away to work on the pandemic.

Sick leave

We will follow the policy of the employing organisation if any staff or students funded on a Wellcome grant has:

  • COVID-19
  • COVID-19 symptoms
  • someone in their household with (or the symptoms of) COVID-19
  • been told by a doctor, NHS Track and Trace or 111 to self-isolate.

We will supplement your grant for the costs the employing organisation incurs paying their salary or stipend while they're away, less any recoverable statutory pay. See our sick leave policy for more information.

Costs we will supplement

In the initial stages of the pandemic, we provided supplementary funding to grants which were:

Separate arrangements apply if:

We will pay the following costs if your grant is eligible for supplementary funding.

Salaries and stipends

We have supplemented eligible grants based on the budget awarded for salary and stipend support. In May 2020, we contacted all grantholders who were eligible for these supplements, to confirm the amount they would receive.

If your grant was due to end 01 March to 31 December 2020, we provided an additional six months' 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 was due to end in 2021, we provided an additional three months' 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.

Stipend support – February 2021

In February 2021, we agreed to provide an additional three months’ stipend for PhD students funded by Wellcome if:

  • you have a studentship that will end in 2021 or 2022 and you have already received a three-month COVID-19 stipend supplement.
  • you have a studentship that will end in 2022 and you have not received a COVID-19 stipend supplement.
  • you are employed on one of the following Wellcome grants and your PhD studentship is due to end 2021 or 2022:

This only applies to PhD students who are fully funded by the Wellcome grant, not to students who have taken a paid assistant position in the project where their PhD is not supported by the grant.

We contacted all eligible grantholders and programme directors about this supplement on 4 February 2021. We will process these supplements by the end of March 2021.

For other grants that are due to end in 2022 or later, we will only consider salary or stipend supplements for grantholders, staff employed on their grant and students if:

  • they are unable to return to work because they, or a member of their household, has a health condition that means they are at high or moderate risk from COVID-19, and
  • they are unable to work from home.

If this is the case, contact your grants adviser to discuss your situation.

We expect you to manage your existing funds to lessen the impact of the pandemic disruption. For example, you could:

  • adjust your research programme
  • use your grant funds flexibly (read our policy on transferring costs between budget headings)
  • ask for help from your organisation
  • use the government support available, including the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (in the UK), if your employer determines that this is appropriate.

We accept that you may not be able to achieve all the aims of your original grant.

Animals

If your grant finishes in 2020 or 2021, we will consider requests to cover the costs of animal models that need to be replaced due to the pandemic.

For example:

  • rederivation of transgenic lines
  • long-term disease models.

We won't consider requests to pay for animals that are only needed for colony maintenance, unless your grant involves:

  • transgenic animals
  • non-human primates
  • cats
  • dogs
  • equidae.

We will only consider requests to cover disruption for a maximum period of 12 months.

What you need to do
Contact us once the impact the pandemic has had on your animal costs is clear.

Clinical trials

We will consider requests for additional research costs for clinical trials that are affected by the pandemic.

What you need to do
Contact your grants adviser if:

  • your trial is due to finish on or before 31 October 2021, or
  • you are considering design changes due to the impact of the pandemic on your clinical trial.

Otherwise, contact us once the impact of the pandemic on your clinical trial costs is clear.

Costs we won't supplement

We won't supplement for:

  • materials and consumables
  • additional equipment
  • travel
  • overheads
  • access charges.

Extending a grant

All grants

We will consider an extension to your grant of up to 12 months due to disruption caused by the pandemic. This includes any COVID-19 related extension you may have already received, and is in addition to our normal no-cost extension policy.

What you need to do
You should:

  • discuss your grant balances with your research and finance offices before asking us for an extension
  • contact your grants adviser or email grantenquiries@wellcome.org to agree the revised end date.

You must do this at least one month before your original grant end date. Please make it clear in your email that your request is related to COVID-19.

Extensions to PhD submission deadlines

If your studentship was 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, we previously allowed you to extend your submission deadline by up to three months. You can now extend this by a further three months, giving you up to six months in total.

If your studentship is due to end in 2022, 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 or PhD supervisor.

Managing a grant

Starting your grant

Our usual policy is that you must start your grant within 12 months of the start date set out in your award letter. If you've reached this 12 month limit and you're still unable to start your grant due to the COVID-19 pandemic, you can defer your start date by a further six months. You must contact your grants adviser or email grantenquiries@wellcome.org if you want to do this.

 

British Heart Foundation

Current research grants guidance can be found here: https://www.bhf.org.uk/for-professionals/information-for-researchers/research-grant-extensions

We have established a process for considering no-cost or costed extension of grants that were active at the start of the disruption of research caused by the pandemic. 

What are no-cost and costed grant extensions?

Both no-cost and costed extensions will extend a research grant’s tenure beyond the original end date.

A no-cost extension will allow the use of existing grant funds flexibly but will not provide supplementary funding.

If awarded, a costed extension will provide supplementary funding. 

Protecting our funding is vital

The consequences of the pandemic include a very significant reduction in the BHF’s fundraising income, which is likely to require several years to recover. To maintain our capacity to fund new grant applications towards securing the long-term viability of the UK’s outstanding cardiovascular research base, we encourage our research community to use no-cost extension as the primary mechanism for mitigating the impact of the COVID-19 disruption wherever possible.

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 have been 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 1 April 2020 are eligible for a no-cost extension of up to 9 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 1 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 9 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).
  • 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 (see “Submission deadlines” in the Guidance for Applicants document).

If you have any questions please email research@bhf.org.uk

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 in 2021.

If you are applying for a Grant, Award or Fellowship

  • All our funding schemes and calls remain open for applications. Generally, application, shortlisting and decision dates will not change but if they do, changes will be notified on the Home page of the website, the relevant scheme page and via the Trust’s Twitter account @LeverhulmeTrust

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 do not need additional costs, but we do ask that you apply only when certain of the length of extension required.

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: grants@leverhulme.ac.uk

If you require a costed extension to your Trust Grant, Award or Fellowship

The Trust Board have agreed a contingency fund to provide costed extensions, where required, for grant holders impacted by COVID-19. We expect to be processing applications to the fund for some years, as this is a long-term issue and one that impacts schemes and disciplines in different ways. However, we do not want to process multiple applications for the same award so we ask grant holders to apply only when they are in the final six months of their award and are therefore certain of the support they require. The only exception to this is where there is a risk of losing staff because contracts cannot be extended, or posts cannot be advertised, without confirmed extensions and funding in place.

To apply for a costed extension please contact us on grants@leverhulme.ac.uk and we will advise you of the process to follow. Applications will be considered on a case by case basis.

Please note that we do expect grant holders to have explored making savings and managing their budget by using unspent funds before applying for a costed extension. While there is a high degree of flexibility in how funds can be used in Trust awards, changes to your budget should still be approved by us. Please email grants@leverhulme.ac.uk to request these changes.

If you hold an Academy Award

You may apply to the Trust for a costed extension if you hold a British Academy, Royal Society or Royal Academy of Engineering Senior Research Fellowship or an APEX Award that is funded by the Leverhulme Trust AND the delivery of your research has been compromised by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Applications for an extension of up to 3 months, or exceptionally up to 6 months where your research has been significantly affected, will be considered. Please email grants@leverhulme.ac.uk marked FAO Academy Awards, copying in the relevant Academy contact for your award, and we will then advise you of the process to follow. Applications will be considered on a case by case basis.

Applications for no-cost extensions will continue to be considered by the relevant Academy.

 

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's grants team are currently operating a normal service and are continuing to work 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.

At the end of June 2020, the UK Government, through the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), announced a package of financial support to ease the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on certain researchers funded through UKRI and the National Academies.

All researchers who are eligible for this funding have been contacted via email using the email address associated with the researcher's Flexi-Grant account. 

 

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 latest statement.

Applying for Cancer Research UK funding

How have panel and committee meetings been affected?
In normal circumstances, most of our funding committees would meet to award funds twice a year; in Spring and Autumn. In mid-March 2020 we made the difficult decision to defer all our Spring 2020 funding committees. Applications submitted for the Spring funding round were considered alongside those in the Autumn 2020 funding round. For future funding rounds, please continue to check the funding scheme pages.

In future funding arounds, how will reviewers take into account this period of disruption when assessing applications? 
We recognise the disruption period may have disproportionately affected certain groups of people, for example, researchers: with caring responsibilities; who were seconded into frontline service in the NHS in response to COVID-19; who have been furloughed; who are vulnerable due to health conditions and may therefore have additional barriers to returning to work. Any disruptions to research funding activities due to the COVID-19 pandemic will be taken into consideration by our panels and committees to consider making appropriate adjustments when assessing your record of outputs, research achievements, and career progression. Applicants will be asked to submit a statement about how the pandemic impacted research for you, your team and your application.
 

If you’re funded by Cancer Research UK

If you’re a researcher or student funded by us, we understand this continues to be a period of significant disruption and anxiety for you and your teams. Here we outline the ways we can help support you through this period of disruption and help to minimise the impact on your research activities by offering as much flexibility and support as we can.  


For all CRUK grantholders

What flexibility will CRUK offer me in managing my grant during subsequent second waves of COVID-19?
We will continue to offer you as much flexibility as we can in managing your award and we understand your research activities may have to be adapted in light of COVID-19. We’ll offer to delay your start date, offer you a no cost extension and to suspend your grant. 

We’ll be more flexible with the use of underspend and budget virements to cover exceptional and additional costs due to COVID-19 such as change in staffing costs, downscaling and upscaling of animal colonies, freezer storage costs etc or other costs in line with direct research costs allowable under our Costs Guidance

Will CRUK waive the current budget virement rules for vacant posts and equipment on my grant?
Our grant conditions usually stipulate you can’t ordinarily vire from a post vacant for 6 months or more. Given the present circumstances, we will waive that stipulation if a post is affected by delays due to COVID-19. We will also allow virement from unused equipment budgets. If you need to repurpose funds from a post vacant for 6 months or more or equipment to use for additional and exceptional costs due to COVID-19, you can do this. 

What should I do if I’m not able to conduct my research at the moment?
We understand your research may be disrupted and alternative research activities may need to be considered/implemented where feasible. You can propose any appropriate, alternative research activities and we’ll consider requests for no cost extensions (see below).  

Where my lab is closed, can research staff salaries be charged to the grant? 
Salaries funded by the grant can be charged to the grant throughout this period and you can apply for a no cost extension if needed (see below). Unfortunately, we are not in a position to fund costed extensions across the board. The government has announced a range of business continuity measures which are intended to mitigate the economic impact of the pandemic. We would of course encourage your institution to explore these options fully if and while you are unable to work (see next question).

We understand that staffing may need to change due to the disruption in activities and CRUK will be supportive and flexible so you can use any underspend on the award to cover additional staffing costs to cover this period of disruption. You can also repurpose funds from a post vacant for 6 months or more.

What is CRUK’s position on the UK Government’s job support schemes?
If your employer determines you/your team are eligible for tjob support schemes, you can take advantage of schemes if you feel it is the right approach in managing your grant. Your CRUK grant funding can be used to cover a shortfall in payments through job support schemes, provided that:
•    Any salary top up for a researcher whose salary is usually funded by CRUK should be in line with University/employer policy (i.e. CRUK grants aren’t the exception). 
•    As with all related policies, we reserve the right to change our position if the Government extends its scheme for a longer period.
As these are Government schemes, they can provide you further guidance on whether an employer can access them.
 

How can I delay my start date?
You can write to us to request delaying your start date by up to 6 months. Providing we have no concerns from a scientific perspective, we are prepared to waive the rule in our Grant Conditions that stipulates you must activate the Grant within 3 months of the start date. 

If, prior to COVID-19, you had already delayed your start date for several months and you now need a further delay of up to 6 months, we will also consider this, so please do contact us.

When and how can I request a no cost extension?
If you’re a grantholder, CRUK is supportive of no cost extension requests that can be made in writing to us. We understand that the period of time for research activities to get back up to speed again after the disruption may likely be longer than just the initial period of disruption.

We’re currently prioritising requests for no cost extensions to grants with less than 18 months left on the Grant Award Letter. If your grant has less than 18 months to run, you can either request a no cost extension now or wait until your research has resumed and a clearer understanding of disruption is known.

If you have more than 18 months left to run on your award, we’ll be supportive in the future of your request, but we ask that you come back to us when there’s less than 18 months left on the Grant Award Letter.

If your intended original start date is not yet in the past, you can request a delay your start date instead of a no cost extension. 

When and how can I request to suspend my award?
We’ll consider requests to suspend your grant if you want to pause payments and activities on the grant. Please let us know in writing the proposed suspension dates to your grant.

Can I apply for a costed extension?
We’re not in a position offer costed extensions due to the impact of COVID-19 on our fundraising income. If you’ve already approached us about a possible costed extension, unfortunately it won’t be considered.

CRUK will only consider further costed extensions where it is allowable under our existing policies (for example eg parental/sick leave and clinical trials). As above, whilst we’re not able to provide you additional funding, we are offering as much flexibility in managing your grant as we can.

How will CRUK take into account any period of inactivity on my grant?
We understand this period of inactivity on grants will be disruptive to your work. We'll take this into account when assessing research progress, outputs and career progression. We’ll work together with you to adjust expectations about whether the full research studies can be carried out, what can be delivered and achieved during the programme of work once we all understand more clearly the impact of the disruption on research.

 

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.