Joint Research Office


Covid-19 and Research at UCL and UCLH

Please check back regularly for the latest information.

The JRO continues to track developments relating to Covid-19 and its variants. Researchers should continue to follow the current JRO guidance relating to the management of studies at UCLH and studies sponsored by UCL and UCLH.

Covid-19 procedures are in place for researchers at UCLH and UCL. Read the latest guidance below.

Guidance on continuing research studies and approvals

In the event of any change to Covid-19 measures (locally and nationally), researchers should continue to follow the JRO guidance documents as detailed elsewhere on this page, in particular guidance on:

UCLH Hosted studies

UCLH and UCL Sponsored studies

In addition, all researchers (particularly those wishing to submit sponsorship or grant reviews) should read this prioritisation note.

For studies affected by any border restrictions read here.

All researchers with active studies at UCLH should continue to review and respond to clinical restrictions or changes.

Set up of Covid-19 and Urgent Public Health (UPH) studies

Researchers wishing to set up Covid-19 treatment trials (UPH or other) should contact the JRO on uclh.randd@nhs.net – in the first instance marking the email as a new Covid-19 therapeutic research study.

Therapeutic trials will be considered first by the JRO’s Covid-19 technical group chaired by Prof Rob Heyderman, which will forward recommendations to the UCLH Covid-19 Research Strategy group, chaired by Prof Bryan Williams, for final discussion and agreement. Non-therapuetic trials will be considered by the JRO.


Restarting previously paused studies at UCLH

Re-starting research studies which were paused during the first national lockdown

A large number of studies were paused to recruitment during the first national lockdown. These studies have subsequently begun to re-open. Re-opening requires each study applies to the Joint Research Office for a “greenlight” to restart. Each UCLH Clinical Division has assigned a research lead to support with determining which studies can open within their divisions. The lead, JRO and service support departments work with the PI to determine and approve the re-start of studies at UCLH.

Read our guidance to be followed to obtain approval to re-start research at UCLH.

Studies sponsored by UCL or UCLH should also refer to the relevant guidance below.

Guidance in the event of a change to clinical service delivery due to Covid-19

The JRO has published guidance informing Principal Investigators of their responsibilities should there be a change to clinical service delivery at UCLH as a result of national or local Covid-19 policies, guidance and change to clinical delivery.

Monitoring arrangements at UCLH (including sponsor visits e.g. audits, SIVs and close-out visits)

UCLH have authorised the resumption of onsite external research visits, including monitoring, auditing, site initiation visits (SIVs) and close-out visits.

These visits should be conducted in accordance with all UCLH Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) policies. UCLH study teams are responsible for assessing their capacity in hosting on-site research visits. UCLH study teams are expected to put in place the necessary arrangements to ensure these visits can be conducted safely and securely. It is the responsibility of hosting research staff to ensure that monitors adhere to social distancing, appropriate PPE and IPC guidelines at all times. Whilst monitors are on-site, they should symptom check each day and if they become symptomatic on-site, they should inform the study team and go home; the study team should inform IPC as per trust protocol. Any monitors who need to perform monitoring activities in clinical areas, are subject to the same LFT testing as other patient-facing/clinical staff (unless their visit is of less than a day’s duration).

The JRO standard operating procedure for on-site external research visits during COVID-19 is located here: On-site external research visits during COVID-19.

Research studies sponsored by UCL and UCLH

Whilst pandemic measures are in place any Chief Investigator of a UCL or UCLH sponsored research study (clinical research study) should ensure a thorough risk and mitigation strategy is in place prior to restarting activity (before approaching the site for permission to re-start). These assessments should be approved by the JRO or the supporting Clinical trials Unit (CTU). Read the full guidance here.

Student research have been suspended by the HRA. Read further details.

Research funding and Covid-19

Research funders have issued guidance and advice for researchers in relation to funding for studies which have been paused or delayed due to the outbreak of COVID-19.

Read the NIHR guidance – which clarifies that all organisations holding NIHR awards will, in the short term, continue to receive payments from the Department of Health and Social Care in line with existing contractual payment schedules.

UCL Research Services have put together a comprehensive list of links to guidance issued by major research funders.

The JRO is following the government’s published guidelines on furloughing.

Remote patient and public involvement

Remote PPI can be a challenge but we would encourage researchers to keep their patient involvement going. Read more

Further information

The JRO is following the government’s published guidelines on furloughing.

Read NIHR information about restarting research.