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UKRI moves to a new phase of funding ideas to address COVID-19


UKRI moves to a new phase of funding ideas to address COVID-19

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) worked at considerable pace to publish an open call at the end of March 2020 for proposals for short-term projects to address and mitigate the health, social, economic, cultural and environmental impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

To date, in twelve weeks, UKRI has funded 125 projects worth around £40m. This is part of a wider investment in COVID-19 related projects. So far, as part of these calls, investments and by repurposing existing grants, UKRI has funded projects worth in excess of £185m.

Projects funded by the open call to date span UKRI’s entire remit and range from the effects of COVID-19 on businesses and the economy, to drug repurposing for treatment; the detection of fragments of genetic material from the virus in waste water, to identifying and mitigating the impact of COVID-19 on inequalities experienced by people from BAME backgrounds working in health and social care.

The application process for the open call was significantly streamlined to allow UKRI to quickly identify projects needing urgent funding. Peer reviewers and panel members stepped up to ensure rapid turnaround of reviews often within days rather than months, and teams across UKRI have worked tirelessly to ensure applicants receive a response as quickly as possible.

As the pandemic progresses, the nature of the research questions that need to be addressed is evolving rapidly; while some projects still require urgent action, others can be addressed with less urgency. UKRI is therefore moving to a new way of managing proposals to its COVID-19 open call.

Proposals continue to be accepted on a rolling open basis. Applicants will be asked to explain how their proposed research fits with and complements the wider landscape of ongoing research, as well as justifying a start date within three months. Funding panels will meet every four to six weeks allowing UKRI to continue to respond rapidly; for proposals identified as highly urgent, rapid review will continue. 

Full details on how to submit proposals.

This programme is under regular review. UKRI will shortly implement changes to the application process. Please check the funding opportunity page regularly before submitting an application.

See the overview of UKRI-funded COVID-19 research projects.


For media enquiries, please contact press@ukri.org or Tamera Jones on 0734 202 5443 or tamera.jones@ukri.org.

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