This blog post provides assurance that RIS staff will continue to be supporting you whilst we are working remotely. We will be aiming to offer a business as usual service for you. Communication will be best conducted via email with your normal contact (Grants Officers, Operations Team (email@example.com), Collaboration Manager – a full list of staff can be found here.
If you are unsure whom to contact, please use the RIS@port.ac.uk email address and we will be able to ensure your enquiry is dealt with appropriately. You will also be able to find specific information on the University’s main Coronavirus FAQs. This site will be maintained and continuously updated and should be the principal source of accurate and up-to-date information.
Contact by email for the duration is likely to be the most effective for the time being.
For new Ethics Review applications the online ethics screening tool will remain accessible, and new applications to faculty research ethics committees should be submitted (and will be reviewed) as normal.
External ethics review (from the HRA, MODREC etc.) continues to accept applications as usual.
Applying for Funding
For those submitting bids to external funders, we will be conducting business as usual where possible. If we have limited resources available, we will work with ADRs and Faculty Innovation Leads to prioritise individual bids if needed.
Please refer to funders’ websites for any changes to deadlines. For guidance on how to apply for funding please take a look at this blog post.
One of RIS’s functions is to help support networking activities and events. As events are now going on-line for the time being if at all possible to avoid them being cancelled, you may find the following links (originally circulated by Deborah Sugg-Ryan) useful sources of information. We will try and help you with these events if we can, contact us in the normal way.
A forthcoming example here:
We have put a new twitter feed on our RIS website to help you access the most up to date information from your funders. We have also pulled together information from our major funders for you below. You are advised to keep checking these sites as information is changing daily
If your funder is not listed, please check their website for any updates, and if needed contact the sponsor by email copying in firstname.lastname@example.org.
UKRI update 3/4
We recognise that almost everyone in research and innovation is either facing major interruptions to their work or a major transition to work on the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the fact that our community is showing real resilience in stepping up to find new and innovative ways of working, taking time to think or craft future proposals and collaborations, there will clearly be major impacts on all existing awards from UKRI.
We are listening carefully to the many questions and concerns we are hearing from both individuals and institutions and are working with the many institutions affected to understand the full extent of the issues. Finding immediate solutions for all of these matters is not something we can do acting alone, but we are discussing daily with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and other government departments and will work to offer further guidance as it is agreed.
Our current plan is for UKRI funding programmes to continue, but we will work to identify any impacts on specific calls or research disciplines. Funding opportunities that are open now will continue to be advertised. All our systems are operating as normal.
UKRI recognises that the current situation may present additional challenges to those intending to apply. To help with that, 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.
Please refer to the call guidance documentation or contact specific councils for more information. Calls already extended will be revised regularly and, if necessary, extended further. In exceptional circumstances, calls may be reopened.
Follow this link for a list of all open and coming calls with their current deadlines and their extensions:
Please click on the link above for the full updates.
UKRI office based staff are currently working from home. If you need to contact them then please email. UKRI will work with institutions affected to understand the full extent of the issues, discussing these with BEIS and other government departments. UKRI funding programmes will continue as planned, but they will work to identify any impacts on specific calls or research disciplines. Funding systems – Je-S, IFS and _connect – are operating as normal. They will review call deadlines and, if required, extend or reopen calls in light of the impact of coronavirus. This will be considered on a case-by-case basis by the appropriate Council or fund. They will continue to receive and decide quickly on grants relevant to the management and follow-up of the coronavirus pandemic. ‘No-cost’ extension requests to grants impacted by coronavirus will be allowed.
Extensive guidance for students on UKRI training grants is included in the update. For those travelling as part of a UKRI award, the advice is: 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.
MS Society update 3/4
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the MS Society won’t be launching any open Grant Round funding calls until further notice.
They will regularly review their position, making sure they open the next Grant Round funding call at a time that’s practical for everyone.
As ever, they are committed to funding the very best MS research and we’re working with current award holders to minimise the impact on their research activities wherever possible.
MS Society will publish revised timelines for our funding calls as soon as they can.
British Academy update 17/3
Specific advice to award holders is in this update. BA offices are currently closed but the BA remains open remotely. If you require a no-cost extension to your award, please contact Research Finance in the first instance (email@example.com priority will be given to grants that are due to finish in the next six months due to a high volume of requests). If you have been unable to recover costs from a travel operator or insurance, costs can be charged to grants. The expectation is that you will be able to absorb costs through the grant budget.
BA have cancelled public events and conferences up to the end of May. Members of the public who have bought a ticket for an event that is cancelled will receive a refund and will be contacted directly about this.
Leverhulme Trust Update 23/3
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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: email@example.com
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.
The Trust will allow reasonable changes to budget lines and/or no-cost extensions to grants, to enable grant holders to manage their research in the best way for their circumstances. Contact Research Finance at firstname.lastname@example.org to agree extensions and budgetary changes in advance to existing awards (priority will be given to grants that are due to finish in the next six months due to a high volume of requests).
Wellcome Trust update 23/3
All our funding schemes and calls remain open for applications.
We have extended the deadlines by one week for any schemes with an application deadline up to the end of April 2020. We won’t consider requests to extend these application deadlines further.
All other application, shortlisting, interview and decision dates will not change.
If you hold a Wellcome grant
To help minimise the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on their grantholders, Wellcome will provide the following support.
We will follow the policy of the employing organisation if any staff employed on a grant:
- are unwell
- need to self-isolate
- have caring responsibilities for someone affected.
We will supplement your grant for the costs your employing organisation incurs paying their salary while they’re away, less any recoverable statutory pay. See our sick leave policy for more information.
We will pay the following costs if you’re called away to work on the coronavirus response for one month or more (for example carrying out clinical duties):
- 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. We will only pay your salary if it’s not provided from elsewhere (for example, the NHS).
- Member of staff employed on a grant – your salary. We will only pay this if it’s not provided from elsewhere (for example, the NHS).
We will pay these costs and extend your grant for the period of time you’re away.
If you have paid costs for an event or travel which has been cancelled, and these costs cannot be reimbursed or claimed for under insurance, you can claim these against your grant.
We will extend your grant if you don’t need additional costs.
For other grants which may be affected (for example, if an organisation closes), we will look to minimise the impact on our funded research activities wherever possible. This might be a supplement to your grant, where it’s not covered by insurance.
Royal Society update 24/3
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.
The RS offices are shut and all staff are working remotely. You can continue to contact the team with any enquiries via email@example.com or 020 4751 2666. All funding programmes and calls currently remain open for applications in line with advertised dates. Some grant committee and panel meetings will take place remotely and you’ll be contacted if this affects you. They are aiming to minimise the impact on funded activities as far as possible.
Nuffield Foundation update 23/3
We understand that our grant-holders’ ability to deliver their Nuffield-funded projects as originally proposed is likely to be affected by the pandemic. We are advising anyone affected to get in touch with us at the earliest opportunity and we will work with you to determine the best way we can support you to achieve the objectives of your project. We will endeavour to be flexible wherever possible and to respond promptly to all enquiries.
Changes to our application timetable
We will continue our assessment process of all funding applications currently underway, including outline applications submitted by last week’s deadline. However, we are mindful that applicants may wish to reconsider their proposals in light of the pandemic and are encouraging them to adjust and resubmit should that be the case.
For future funding rounds, we are keen to give applicants the time they need to prepare proposals in light of the fundamental changes to our society. We will therefore extend some deadlines to give applicants more time and will publish an updated timetable shortly.
Royal Astronomical Society
Full Update 17/3
Staff are working from home and email contact is preferred.
Brain Tumour Research
A statement has been released, but no updates on the impact on any research grants as yet.
NIHR update 26/3
Prioritising funding and support for COVID-19 research across the UK
Working with partners across the health and care system, NIHR is leading, enabling and delivering world-class COVID-19 research, a key element of the Government’s overall response to the pandemic. Given the extraordinary pressures currently being faced by the health and care system, we must also ensure that we are making best use of the limited resources and capacity available to support research.
We will do this by establishing and implementing a single, national process that will allow the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) / Deputy Chief Medical Officer (DCMO) for England to draw on expert advice to prioritise the COVID-19 studies which hold the most potential for tackling the challenges we face.
This process will cover funded studies, irrespective of whether they are funded by the public sector, industry or charities and also, in partnership with UKRI, studies that require funding. It aims to prevent duplication of effort and to ensure that the capacity of the health and care system to support research is not exceeded.
Extensive advice and FAQs for awards are given here.
UKRO update 1/4
The European Commission has published a list of ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ and official responses regarding the effects of COVID-19 restrictions on Erasmus+ actions.
The list itself includes issues raised by Erasmus+ and European Solidarity Corps participants and covers issues such as student and staff mobility, how to approach suspension or postponement of activities and the eligibility of project costs during this period. The responses complement the advice provided by the UK’s national agency.
The Commission will continue to update the FAQ page, with the ambition to clarify and simplify the application or rules and procedures where necessary in cooperation with Erasmus+ National Agencies and the Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA).
Further general information on the effects of COVID-19 on EU funding programmes is available in a dedicated UKRO resource page.
All UoP academics can create an account to UKRO as we are a subscribing institution. Please use your port.ac.uk email address.
As a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, several research infrastructures have set up specific services, such as rapid or fast track access, to allow researchers to obtain results as soon as possible. The Association of European-Level Research Infrastructures is collecting relevant information on these services to facilitate their use by researchers. Research Infrastructures, which have adjusted their service offering to support the COVID-19 pandemic are invited to detail their services through a brief questionnaire.
The aim of the initiative is to help the research community find suitable support. A list of relevant research infrastructures, along with the resources available for researchers and labs working on COVID-19, is available on a dedicated webpage, which has been compiled with support from the ERIC Forum. This will be updated based on the questionnaire responses received.
The questionnaire itself was set up in the frame of the Central European Research Infrastructure Consortium (CERIC)-coordinated ACCELERATE project, funded by Horizon 2020.
UKRO are the European Office of UKRI and support UK participation in European funding.
UKRO has prepared a new section on the Portal to allow subscribers finding the latest announcements and advice on the COVID-19 outbreak easily. This new page is available in the ‘Resources’ tab and provides a useful overview of the main messages from the European Commission and other important information. It will be regularly updated with the latest information taken from UKRO’s daily news articles, which are now tagged with the ‘COVID-19’ hashtag for easier identification.
EU H2020 update 2/4
Reacting to the Covid-19 crisis, deadlines for some calls are extended to give more time for applicants to prepare their proposals. This concerns the following calls:
The recent escalation of restrictions related to the COVID-19 outbreak may hamper applicants’ ability to prepare and finalise high-quality proposals. For this reason, for Horizon 2020 calls with original deadlines between now and 15 April, extensions will be applied. The precise new deadlines for each call and topic will be published on the call and topic pages on the Funding and Tenders Portal. Check the ‘Topic Updates‘ section for your specific topic to see if your deadline has been extended. Further information on possible changes to H2020 call deadlines is expected to be available on the portal shortly. Follow the FAQs for the latest advice.
For award holders, Article 51 of the H2020 MGA sets out the conditions in which the force majeure clause can be used. Costs will be eligible, if they fulfil the general eligibility conditions set out in Article 6 H2020 MGA like any other costs incurred under the action. For example, if a meeting/ event cannot take place due to force majeure, travel and accommodation costs may still be charged to the H2020 action if they fulfil the cost eligibility conditions, even if the beneficiary did not travel and did not take part in the meeting/event. If force majeure entails extra costs for the implementation of the action, these costs may be eligible if necessary for the implementation for the action (e.g. a cancelled conference is reorganised at a later stage). However, the maximum grant amount cannot be increased.
ERC update 16/3
The ERC have issued a statement to say that panel evaluations are being organised remotely. They do not currently anticipate any delays to evaluations or application deadlines.
Our grant management activities are continuing as usual, although it is not excluded that certain technical and/or IT access constraints might affect our response timeline. The competent central services are doing their best to minimise the impact.
We are aware that many ERC funded research projects are facing disruption and delays that will require postponing the start date, for those which have not started yet, or extending the project duration, or other actions. We invite ERC grantees and their host institutions to flag any problems to their usual counterparts in the ERC’s scientific and granting departments. We are collecting and analysing these requests, and we invite ERC grantees to consult the FAQs for beneficiaries of the Horizon 2020 Programme to find adequate solutions using the flexibility provided by the grant agreement. Please note responses from the ERC to such requests may take a bit longer than usual due to current circumstances, but we will get back to you as soon as we can with further guidance on how to proceed.
MSCA update 16/3
The Research Executive agency have issued a statement advising grantees and fellows to follow the travel advice provided by national authorities and to cancel or postpone all non-essential travel where possible. REA will adopt a flexible approach towards projects, which fail to meet grant agreement obligations due to the COVID-19 containment measures, and may apply the rules on force majeure, or extend the duration of project. Projects will be assessed on a case-by-case basis and grantees and fellows should contact firstname.lastname@example.org if they require support.
Erasmus+ update 13/3
The EC has issued 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. A complete list of extended Erasmus+ deadlines is available on the European Commission website.
Other research activities advice:
Guidance for clinical researchers – amendments to existing projects
The Health Research Authority has released guidance for clinical researchers, sponsors and sites with regard to COVID-19.
An alternative representation of this information can be founded on The University of Oxford research support website here.