Friday, 20 March, 2020
UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) has released information regarding coronavirus and the impact on the UK's research and innovation community.
As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, UKRI expects major impacts on all existing awards. UKRI will work with affected institutions to understand the full extent of the issues and initiate discussions with government departments.
Impact on grant applicants and current grantholders
The current guidelines for research institutions, grant holders and applicants is that UKRI/UK research council funding programmes will continue, but there may be impacts on specific calls or research disciplines. Funding systems, including the Joint electronic-Submission (Je-S) system, are operating as normal.
Call deadlines will be reviewed and, if required, will be extended or reopened in light of the impact of coronavirus. This will be considered on a case-by-case basis by the appropriate research council or fund. 'No-cost' extension requests to grants impacted by coronavirus will be permitted.
Training grants and students
Due to departmental/institution closures, illness, self-isolation or event cancellation, students may be unable to complete essential tasks and/or experiments in order to be ready to submit their thesis. UKRI advises that extensions to submission dates should be awarded.
Student health and wellbeing is a priority and therefore no penalties will be applied to research organisations as a result of extensions caused by the impact of coronavirus. Studentships should not be suspended and (costed) extensions should be considered in certain circumstances. The cost of extensions can come from any grant underspend or an approved increase in the grant limit. Rearranged conferences or training courses can be eligible for a no-cost grant extension.
UKRI/research council staff
UKRI and other research council office-based staff are being advised to work from home where possible. Contact should therefore be made by email or mobile phone, although there may be a delayed response due to an increased volume of enquiries. The offices are unable to take landline phone enquiries.
Response from Sir Mark Walport (UKRI Chief Executive Professor)
Sir Mark Walport comments:
'During the coronavirus pandemic, UKRI has two priorities: the safety and wellbeing of our workforce and, as far as possible, the continuation of our business as a national funder of research and innovation.
'We will work with our communities, institutions and other funding organisations to understand and respond to the impacts of coronavirus, helping to develop the necessary support to mitigate these.
'This work has already begun and will continue in the coming weeks and months, and we will provide regular, updated information. Thank you in advance for working with us to support the research and innovation systems we are proud of and that have a key role to play in responding to the global pandemic.'