The call specification was informed by a workshop convened by UKRI in June to explore key evidence gaps about the vulnerability of different ethnic groups to COVID-19 and its impacts.
A range of experts joined this formative discussion, bringing with them considerable community, sector and research knowledge. Attendees’ backgrounds covered a range of disciplines including:
- social policy
- research methods
- public health.
Key policy and government stakeholders also participated. Over 40% of attendees were from Black, Asian and minority ethnic groups.
Highlight notice guidance for applicants (PDF, 131KB)
How to submit an application to this call on the Je-S system (PDF, 236KB)
Terms and conditions for COVID-19 awards (PDF, 126KB)
Additional application information
Applications to this open call must be submitted via online submission systems. For academic-led proposals the updated application form (DOCX, 66KB) should still be completed and uploaded upon application.
Applications to the research councils
Bids must be led by an eligible research organisation or public sector research establishment (PSRE).
Proposals must be submitted via Je-S using an EPSRC outline proposal form.
All applicants (principal investigators and co-investigators) will need to hold registered level Je-S accounts. If you are not already registered, please ensure that sufficient time is allowed for this process before completing your proposal.
Find out how to create a registered Je-S account (PDF, 236KB).
Users will need to select the account type ‘an applicant on a standard or outline proposal’.
This account type will require verification from the nominated organisation.
Users will receive an email from Je-S saying the account is being verified and a further email to confirm if the account has been accepted or declined when your organisation has verified your details.
Please note that the call is being ‘hosted’ on the Je-S system by EPSRC on behalf of all the research councils (AHRC, BBSRC, ESRC, EPSRC, MRC, NERC, STFC). It may therefore be branded with EPSRC logo in various places. This is unavoidable because of legacy systems.
The call does however remain a cross-UKRI programme and proposals within the remits of any of the research councils can be submitted. Your proposal will continue to be reviewed and assessed by the most relevant council(s).
See the detailed instructions on how to submit an application to this call on the Je-S system (PDF, 236KB).
Read the terms and conditions for COVID-19 awards (in addition to the standard UKRI terms and conditions).
Applications to Innovate UK
Bids must be business-led or collaborations with a business (or businesses).
Proposals will be submitted via IFS (Innovation Funding Service) following one of the three links relating to one of the three different State Aids regimes available:
Applicants should decide under which State Aid route to apply, select the appropriate link and complete their applications in IFS, in line with the guidance.
You can only submit an application to one of these state aid frameworks and may only apply once to this UKRI open competition as a whole for any given innovation project.
Re-submission of projects that were previously submitted to this or any other Innovate UK competition is not permitted.
Applications requesting Innovate UK funding must comply with Innovate UK terms and conditions.
Innovate UK is unable to fund applications that do not fully comply with State Aid Law – any projects that are invited forward for more detailed consideration by Innovate UK will have to provide further information to demonstrate that they meet State Aid requirements.
Applications previously submitted to any other Innovate UK competition cannot be resubmitted to this UKRI open call.
Read about Innovate UK’s funding rules in Innovate UK’s guidance for applicants.
Innovate UK’s assessment of applications will include evaluation of potential routes to market that will enable the proposed solution to achieve the desired impact upon the effects of the pandemic and result in beneficial impact upon the growth of the businesses involved.
Additional information on councils’ priorities in this area can be found on their websites.
DHSC prioritisation of COVID-19 research studies
Any research that requires access to the UK health and care system must follow guidance issued by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) to get their study nationally supported as high priority COVID-19 Urgent Public Health Research.
See the NIHR guidance.
This will include research that would normally need NHS R&D approval, including where access to patients, data or health and care staff would be required.
Given the urgency of the current situation UKRI are committed to a principle of parallel processing. We encourage requests to UKRI to be submitted in parallel to requests for access to the UK health and care system through the NIHR portal. However, we are aware that you may need evidence of the approval of funding before the NIHR makes their decision on access. We will therefore endeavour to make decisions as quickly as possible.
If approval is received through NIHR and a study is nationally recognised, evidence of this must be provided to UKRI.
Working with international co-investigators
International co-investigators from any country are eligible to receive funding from grants issued by UKRI councils for this call.
Please note: international co-investigators are not eligible to receive funding from Innovate UK grants in this competition.
Any academic researcher (such as those holding a PhD or equivalent qualification, or higher) from an established international research organisation of comparable standing to a UK research organisation will be eligible to act as a co-investigator.
Proposals should explain the inclusion of international co-investigators, detailing the skills expertise, or access to resources and contexts, that they will contribute to the project.
The grant will cover 100% of the direct costs for international co-investigators. Funding requested for international co-investigators must not exceed 30% of the proposal’s full economic cost.
More than one international co-investigator may be included, provided the total funding cap is not exceeded.
Salary costs are not normally eligible costs. Exceptions may be requested and justification should be provided to explain why these costs cannot be covered through other sources.
We recognise that this is a particular issue for international co-investigators from low and middle-income countries (LMICs) and requests for exceptions will be considered in this context.
Overheads (estate or indirect costs) are not eligible costs. However, where research is being undertaken by a co-investigator based in a LMIC, a contribution towards overheads will be considered, where it can be shown that it will assist in developing research capacity (calculated as 20% of the overseas organisations’ directly incurred costs).
If working with international co-investigators, it is the responsibility of the UK institution to undertake any due diligence that may be necessary, and to ensure appropriate collaboration agreements are in place as required.
Applicants are requested to provide assurance in the letter of support that the necessary due diligence has or will shortly be undertaken to enable work to start without delay, should funding be approved.
Global Talent visa and COVID-19 research
International academics and researchers wishing to work on UK-based COVID-19 research projects funded by UKRI or other endorsed funders can apply for a Global Talent visa under relaxed criteria until 31 January 2021.
Data and software sharing and open access requirements
Data produced as a result of this funding will need to be shared in line with the joint statement on sharing research data and findings relevant to the novel coronavirus (nCoV) outbreak, to which UKRI is a signatory.
Software, such as analysis scripts, spreadsheets, or modelling codes, created as part of the work under this funding should be similarly shared.
Examples of suitable data depositories include:
COVID-19 Data portal
The COVID-19 Data Portal was launched in April 2020 to bring together relevant datasets for sharing and analysis in an effort to accelerate coronavirus research.
It enables researchers to upload, access and analyse COVID-19 related reference data and specialist datasets as part of the wider European COVID-19 Data Platform.
Health Data Research Innovation Gateway
The Health Data Research Innovation Gateway is a portal to find and request access to UK health datasets controlled by members of the UK Health Data Research Alliance.
Launched in January 2020, the first phase of the Gateway provides detailed descriptions (metadata) of these datasets, which researchers can search, browse and request access to health data.
It does not hold or store any patient or health data. It aims to increase transparency around accessible datasets and processes associated with their access.
UK Data Service
The UK Data Service is the UK’s largest collection of social, economic and population data resources.
OpenAIRE provides unlimited, barrier free, open access to research outputs financed by public funding in Europe.
US COVID-19 High Performance Computing Consortium
UK researchers can apply for access to the High Performance Computing (HPC) Consortium, including some of the world’s leading HPC systems, for computational time to support their research into COVID-19.
Information on the systems available can be found on the consortium website. In particular, applicants to the UKRI COVID-19 call can apply by producing a supplementary document to their UKRI applicant (see the ‘How to apply’ section above for more details).
UK researchers who are not applying for funding from the COVID-19 call can apply to the consortium directly by submitting a proposal.