Funding opportunity

Funding opportunity: Apply to switch your existing funding to COVID-19 priority areas

This COVID-19 rolling scheme is now closed.

UKRI has embedded its pandemic response into its standard processes. Researchers and innovators are encouraged to apply for COVID-19 related funding through normal research council and Innovate UK channels.

Search for opportunities in the funding finder.

See guidance for COVID-19 research funding.

UKRI has put in place the following process to allow researchers to repurpose existing UKRI standard grants to address COVID-19 research priorities.

Companies and organisations being funded by Innovate UK, who wish to re-purpose their grant for COVID-19 purposes, should approach their Monitoring Officer in the first instance; and progress any requests through the Project Change Request (PCR) system.

If you are unable to repurpose existing funding, you can apply to one of our COVID-19 funding opportunities.

Who can apply

In order to be eligible, the research to be undertaken must address one of the following:

  • new research or innovation with a clear impact pathway that has the potential (within the period of the grant) to deliver a significant contribution to the understanding of, and response to, the COVID-19 pandemic and its impacts.
  • supports the manufacture and/or wide scale adoption of an intervention with significant potential
  • gathers critical data and resources quickly for future research use.

Please note that no subsequent extension to the grant or additional costs will be allowed in order to meet the original objectives where these were altered to permit new COVID-19 research.

How to apply

Principal investigators should submit a document (up to 500 words) providing information on what the repurposed research would achieve, including:

  • reference and title of the existing grant
  • a description of what activity that was originally planned will not now take place in order to allow this new work to occur
  • a description of the approach to be taken and put it in the context of the national response to COVID-19
  • an explanation of the level of urgency, and why the activity is important now
  • a demonstration that the proposal has the necessary critical mass to make a difference. Where relevant, demonstrate the strength of links to relevant decision makers
  • if the research requires any access to the health and care system, describe how you will comply with the newly established DHSC single, national process for prioritisation of COVID-19 research studies
  • a letter from the host institution confirming they support the switch in the research programme. This should include confirmation that relevant laboratories and other facilities are open and available for use.

UKRI recognises the importance of all the research we support, and researchers must provide a good case for why their original project should be repurposed.

Please send any requests for repurposing an existing grant to

How we will assess your application

Assessment of requests will be made by the council responsible for the grant, as follows:

  1. UKRI staff will determine that the submission meets the eligibility criteria listed above. If it does not the change will be rejected at this stage.
  2. If needed, urgent expert review will provide assurance that the research proposed is likely to achieve impact on COVID-19 priorities.

Proposers may be asked for more information before a decision is confirmed.

You may also be asked to become part of wider consortia or join with already existing efforts.

Additional info

Priority areas

We have developed a priority list of areas (PDF, 142KB) which we are particularly interested in seeing addressed. These will be updated periodically.

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