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Guidance for applicants, students and award-holders impacted by the pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic means there have been changes to funding deadlines, extensions and support.

Changes to deadlines and extensions

The deadlines for applications to all open funding opportunities have been extended.

Extensions and other changes to funding opportunities are published with the opportunity details in the funding finder.

If you already have a grant you will be allowed a ‘no-cost’ extension on request.

See details of all funding opportunities in the funding finder.

Extensions for fellowships and standard grants

You now have six months to start your project, instead of three, if you’ve been awarded a fellowship or standard grant.

All grant letters for new UKRI standard grant opportunities will provide six months to start.

Extensions for strategic and managed mode grants

You can make a request for an extension for a strategic or managed mode grant through Joint Electronic Submission system (Je-S).

Each request will be considered individually by your funder.

Submit your request as a Je-S enquiry.

COVID-19 grant extension allocation

UKRI is distributing funding of up to £180 milion to support research and technical staff whose projects have been disrupted. Universities and organisations are receiving COVID-19 allocations.

See further details about the COVID-19 grant extension allocation policy (PDF, 128kb).

Information for organisations managing the allocation

Support for businesses

There are support packages available for businesses during the pandemic, from Innovate UK.

These include continuity grants and loans, and support to help innovative, high-growth small and medium enterprises to survive during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.

Visit Innovate UK for full details of business support.

Support for students

Adapting your project

The effects of COVID-19 might mean you need to adapt your original project.

If you haven’t already, talk to your supervisor about ways to do this to make sure you can finish in your funding period.

Adapting could involve:

  • changing your research question
  • changing your approach to data collection
  • changing your analyses and the tools you use
  • rescheduling aspects of your research.

You should prioritise adapting your project before requesting a COVID-19-related extension.

Extension funding

You may be eligible for additional UKRI funding if you need to extend your project.

This is available through your research organisation. Contact your organisation to find out how to apply.

You can apply if:

  • your UKRI funding started before 1 March 2020
  • you have not already received a UKRI-funded COVID-19 extension
  • you have been unable to adapt your project to finish in your existing funding period.

UKRI is giving £19 million of funding to research organisations. Around 100 organisations will receive the awards in early 2021 and allocate support to students most in need.

Find out more about the funding available in the:

Research organisation responsibilities

Research organisations must complete a governance plan confirming how they will manage and prioritise the funding. This must be submitted to UKRI in December 2020.

Organisations must base funding decisions on which students are most in need. They must not base decisions on research area or project merit.

Find out more in the:

About this funding

The amount each organisation receives is based on UKRI-funded student data in the Joint Electronic Submission system.

This support is based on our review of support for students. The review brings together evidence from students, grant holders and university management teams.

Find out more in the:

Health, wellbeing and additional support

You can find further advice and guidance in the detailed guidance for doctoral students supported by UKRI (PDF, 147KB).

SURE Fund support for higher education providers

The UK’s world-class research and researchers play a vital role in delivering local and national economic prosperity, but we recognise that some of that research is at risk from a range of income losses as a result of impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.

On 27 June 2020, the UK government announced a significant investment targeted towards sustaining research and innovation activity and capacity in higher education providers (HEPs) across the UK.

This included the Sustaining University Research Expertise (SURE) Fund, a financial package intended to support the sustainability of UK research capacity. It consists of a mixture of low-interest loans with long pay-back periods, and government grants.

On 6 November 2020, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) published further details about the SURE Fund.

BEIS will administer the loan element of the SURE Fund. UKRI, the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales, the Scottish Funding Council and the Department for the Economy (Northern Ireland) will administer the grant element of the SURE fund.

How to apply

The SURE Fund portal is now open for expressions of interest (EOI) from eligible HEPs. We do not expect HEPs to submit an EOI if they have returned an increase in international student fee income between academic years 2018 to 2019 and 2020 to 2021.

To begin the application process, HEPs must register on the SURE Fund application portal.

HEPs interested in applying for SURE support are required to submit an EOI before making an application.

To apply, access the SURE Fund application portal. A unique registration code and guidance has been sent to heads of institutions.

Information and guidance on the SURE Fund and application process is now available.

Download the guidance: SURE Fund guidance for higher education providers (PDF, 419KB)

Timeline

  • EOI process opens: 16 November 2020
  • EOI process closes: 23 November 2020, 17:00
  • webinar to support HEPs completing a full application: 25 November 2020, 11:30 to 13:15 (further details will be provided to those returning a positive EOI)
  • full application closes: noon, 18 December 2020.

Information regarding maximum allocations available to individual HEPs will be made available shortly after a positive EOI is submitted.

Following the submission of a positive EOI, a HEP will be able to complete a full application to the SURE fund portal.

Contact

If you have any questions about the SURE Fund, email SUREFund@ukri.org

International travel

Researchers, innovators and partners who are working internationally, or who need to travel, should follow the guidance from the relevant national and regional governments.

You should switch to ‘virtual’ remote working, if possible.

If you can’t travel due to official government advice, this cost can be charged to the grant. If the cost can’t be absorbed by an overall underspend on the grant, UKRI will cover a small addition.

Ethical research and responsible innovation

UKRI remains committed to supporting ethical research and responsible innovation during the COVID-19 pandemic.

See our COVID-19 ethics guidance for more information.

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