ReDS advice to academics during COVID-19

This page is to give up-to-date advice on research activity affected during COVID-19. The date of the latest updates from the funders will be shown against each funder name. This will only show the major funders the University applies to.

Funder news

UKRI update 19/3

Please click on the link above for the full update. In short,

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 19/3 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.

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 ReDS in the first instance. 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.

Leverhulme Trust update 12/3

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. The Trust asks that ReDS contact them at grants@leverhulme.ac.uk to agree extensions and budgetary changes in advance to existing awards.

Wellcome Trust update 18/3

The Trust are working from home. All their funding schemes and calls remain open for applications. Application deadlines, shortlisting, interview and decision dates will not change. They won’t consider requests to extend application deadlines (contact your ReDS Funding Development Office for advice). Some advisory committees meetings will take place remotely and they will let you know if this affects you.

For grant holders, they will follow the policy if any staff employed on a grant are unwell, need to self-isolate, or have caring responsibilities for someone affected. They will supplement your grant for the costs UEL incurs paying your salary while you’re away, less any recoverable statutory pay. See the update for advice for those who are called away to work on the Coronavirus response. For other grants, they will look to minimise the impact on their funded research activities wherever possible. This might be an extension or supplement to your grant, where it’s not covered by insurance.

Royal Society update 17/3

The RS offices are shut and all staff are working remotely. You can continue to contact the team with any enquiries via grants@royalsociety.org 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.

NIHR update 16/3

Extensive advice and FAQs for awards are given here.

UKRO update 18/3

All BU academics can create an account to UKRO as we are a subscribing institution. Please use your BU email address. 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.

European Union - Horizon 2020

EU H2020 update 18/3

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.

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 email ReDS 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.


Guidance for clinical researchers – amendments to existing projects

The Health Research Authority have released guidance for clinical researchers, sponsors and sites with regard to COVID-19. The guidance is also summarised here and relates primarily to submitting amendments to existing research studies.

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