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COVID-19 – Impact on Research Funding

3 April 2020

This page contains links to UCL’s major research funder’s guidance on Coronavirus and advice for researchers. This is an evolving situation so please review this page and your Funders' own webpages regularly for updates.

Covid-19

UPDATED 03-04-2020

Please refer to the main UCL Coronavirus page for updated advice about the coronavirus and UCL’s response. 

Research Services is now operating remotely, with all core services supported. Please continue to work with your usual contact either by email or MS Teams.

Funders guidance and advice

We will endeavor to update links to funders' guidance and advice as and when they are released so please continue to review this page regularly.  If you receive information from Funders that is not captured here please let us know (researchservices@ucl.ac.uk) and we will endeavor to update the page.

Frequently asked questions

Applying for new funding

I’m preparing a grant application. Will I still be able to submit it during the disruption?

Research Services remains operational however please allow extra time ahead of the funder submission deadline, and ensure your local Department Manager and Head of Department are available to approve.  If your Departmental approvers are not available, please contact your Research Support Officer as soon as possible.

I’m applying to a COVID-19 rapid call. Do I have to do anything in addition?

Please contact your School Research Coordination Office and Research Support & Development Team in Research Services as soon as possible so that we can fast track your application through UCL processes.

Will Funders be extending the submission deadlines for Funding Calls?

Most funders are taking a pragmatic approach to dealing with the evolving situation, and we are aware that some deadlines have been extended.  However this is likely to be Funder and / or scheme specific so please check the Funder website for further information.

I have a research contract that needs an authorised signature. Will it still be signed? 

Arrangements are in place to ensure contracts are signed on schedule. Further details of your departmental contact is available on the Research Contacts website.

Will there be delays in Funders notifying of grant decisions?

We are aware some Funders are delaying or postponing review panel decisions as a result of impact. Funders will notify applicants about the success or otherwise in due course.

Existing project

I have just been awarded a new project I need to accept by a fixed deadline. What should I do?

Research Services remains operational. Please liaise with your usual Research Support Officer. See Research Services website for further details. If your acceptance requires a “wet” signature we will work with you and the Funder to ensure this is complete.

Do I need to delay the start of my new research project?

Where allowable within the funder’s terms and conditions it may be worth considering delaying the start of your project to ensure there is minimal impact on your research. Please contact your Research Support Officer for advice where the Funder is not clear.

I need to return back to clinical duties however this will impact on my research project?

We are receiving confirmation from some funders that they fully support this direction and will provide extensions to projects where staff have returned to clinical duties to support the Coronavirus pandemic. There may be an expectation from Charities that the NHS will ultimately reimburse the project for associated salary costs incurred. Clinical PhD fellows who want to return to clinical work should contact their Primary Supervisor, Head of Academic Careers Office Colby Benari (c.benari@ucl.ac.uk) and Grants Manager Joanne Rickett (j.rickett@ucl.ac.uk) in the first instance. 

I have a subcontractor who requires urgent payment?

Presuming this is in line with the contract (e.g. the work has been completed, or that advance payments were agreed), please ensure your subcontractor sends the invoice electronically to the email address in the agreement with all the relevant backing documentation and this will be paid as per normal processes. If you receive the invoice directly please forward to fin-post-awrd-admin@ucl.ac.uk .

I have field work (including interviews and observations) in the UK currently underway or about to start. What should I do? 

It’s likely that any fieldwork in the UK is going to be difficult and should be rescheduled for later in the year if possible. If your fieldwork is dependent on the time of year, then you may need to consider alternative arrangements and discuss this directly with your Funder.

I need access to UCL facilities for my research project. What happens if the campus closes and I can’t do my research remotely? Can I get an extension?

Please follow the latest advice from the Provost with regard to accessing UCL facilities. Funders are releasing guidance and are likely to be pragmatic when considering requests to extend projects, it is however likely that many Funders will consider such requests on a case-by-case basis. 

If I get an extension my project will incur additional costs. Who will cover these costs?

This will vary dependent on the funder and the nature of cost.  UCL is actively engaging with funders to seek clarity on this.

My confirmed activities or travel plans have had to be cancelled and my project has lost money. Will the project be reimbursed? 

We anticipate that funders will adopt a pragmatic approach on this, however it is likely to be variable, as such please refer to the individual funder’s guidance. Where travel plans have been cancelled upon government advice, the costs should be recovered from the travel supplier where possible, or UCL Insurance. If you booked travel via Key Travel please contact them directly.

Can I proceed with recruitment to any grant-funded posts? 

Yes. However you may wish to consider delaying if you anticipate impact on your research project due to COVID-19.

Can I proceed with any PhD studentships starting from September 2020?

Yes.

Is REF2021 still going ahead?

Research England have confirmed the REF2021 is currently on hold until further notice. This means the submission deadline of 27 November 20 will no longer apply. Latest Update from REF2021.

What is the guidance for clinical research carried out at UCLH?

The Joint Research Office has issued guidance on clinical research being carried out at UCLH. The guidance includes links to information provided by the Health Research Authority and Medicines and healthcare Products Regulatory Authority (MHRA).

Will any additional online research resources be made available?

Information about existing and additional resources (which have been made accessible by publishers during the pandemic) are available from Library Services.

How do I safely move my research to online and will this impact my ethical approval and Data Protection Registration?

Guidance is available on the Research Integrity website for researchers on how to safely move research online as well as data management and safety considerations.  There is also guidance on the implications on ethical approval and data protection registration when moving your research from face-to-face to fully online.

I wish for my research to be considered for priority ethics approval or access to UCL facilities. What should I do?

Approval must come from your Dean using the process outlined in this protocol.