Funders recognise the impact of COVID-19 on future applications

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A funders’ statement asserts that disruptions to research activities caused by the pandemic will be taken into account in future applications.

The statement is supported by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), the Department of Health, and Social Care and Cancer Research UK amongst others. It is prepared by The Academy of Medical Sciences.

The statement encourages researchers to continue to apply to research schemes in the knowledge that historic impacts will be considered when assessing new applications.

UKRI support so far

Since the beginning of the pandemic, UKRI has introduced new guidance for:

  • applicants
  • award-holders
  • assessors.

UKRI has made key contributions to the research and innovation effort against the pandemic, including:

  • providing organisations with £180 million of additional funding during 2020 to 2021 and 2021 to 2022. This funding sustained UKRI grant-funded research, research and technical staff, and research infrastructures during pandemic disruption through the UKRI COVID-19 grant extension allocation
  • investing over £554 million in a diverse range of over 3,300 new COVID-19 research and innovation initiatives in the UK and globally. These awards are in addition to the many active research projects repurposed to tackle COVID-19 and UKRI longstanding investments in institutes, centres, and units.

Reviewers and assessors have been advised to consider the unequal impacts that COVID-19 related disruption might have had on the track record and career development of individuals included in proposals.

Where disruptions have occurred applicants can highlight this within their application.

There is no requirement to detail the specific circumstances that caused the disruption, just the impact.

Where an application is successful, any changes in circumstances that affect the proposal will be managed as a post-award issue.

Understanding the pandemic impact

Sir Duncan Wingham, Senior Responsible Officer for Simpler and Better Funding at UKRI, said:

This joint funders’ statement reinforces the approach UKRI has taken since the start of the pandemic.

We understand that the pandemic has had a major impact across all the communities that we fund, as well as across all stages of the research and innovation pipeline from discovery research to innovation, commercialisation, and implementation of ideas.

UKRI is committed to ensuring that individual applicants, their wider team, including partners, networks and students are not penalised for any disruption to their career and projects caused by the pandemic.

UKRI continues to monitor the situation and will respond swiftly and appropriately to the challenges our community faces in the short and long term due to the pandemic.

Find out about an independent process review of UKRI’s response to COVID-19.

Top image:  Credit: Pekic, E+ via Getty Images

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