Guidance for the research and innovation communities
Updated 17 August: For the latest information on the UKRI COVID-19 Grant Extension Allocation announcement, please see the Further Information section below.
The ongoing situation regarding coronavirus has significantly impacted the research and innovation community. The nature of these impacts is evolving. Wherever we can we are taking quick decisions, identifying new issues as they emerge and providing answers and support wherever possible.
This section contains the latest information for our supported researchers and innovators and is updated on a regular basis.
If you need to contact UKRI staff
All staff are working from home and available via email and phone in the usual way.
Our offices remain closed.
Applications for funding
UKRI funding programmes continue and all our systems are operating as normal.
The deadlines on all open funding opportunities will be extended to give applicants more time to submit their applications. These extensions will be managed on a case-by-case basis. 'No-cost' extension requests to grants impacted by coronavirus will be allowed.
Any extensions or other changes to call details are published with the call information on the relevant council web pages.
If you have been awarded a responsive-mode grant or fellowship
You can delay starting your project. You now have six months to start, instead of three. An additional clause will be added to newly offered grant letters for all UKRI responsive mode calls
If you have been awarded other grants
For grants funded through strategic and managed mode funding calls the current starting policy will apply. Any extension requests for these calls will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Requests should be submitted via a Je-S enquiry to be reviewed by the appropriate funder.
If you have any other grant specific queries please feed them back to us using the standard grant enquiry communication route via Je-S. For any other questions please contact us using your normal communication channels.
If you are a student or receiving a training grant
Please see an update from UKRI Talent and Skills Director Professor Rory Duncan on extensions for doctoral students impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Please see also updates from April: Open letter to UKRI students.
Many students are unable to complete essential tasks or experiments they need to carry out to complete their thesis. For instance, your library or lab may be closed or you may be part of a particularly vulnerable group, or have additional caring duties.
Training grant holders should also refer to Implementation Guidance for Training Grant Holders: Extensions for doctoral students impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic (PDF, 192KB) (published 24 April). The initial equality impact assessment (PDF, 151KB) was published on 28 May.
If you are a researcher or partner working internationally, or need to travel
To ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of research participants and partners, we expect UK and in-country teams to follow the guidance from national and regional governments and adjust to virtual, remote working if possible.
Where travel is impacted, if researchers or students cannot travel due to government/official advice, or it poses a risk to the individual (due to an underlying medical condition etc.), this can be charged to the grant in line with any other cost.
If that cost cannot be absorbed by any overall underspend on the grant, then UKRI will cover that small addition.
UK Research and Innovation has announced it will deploy £180 million of funding for organisations to sustain UKRI grant-funded research and fellowships affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Please see news story.
Further clarification on the new policy is provided in the Frequently Asked Questions (PDF, 356KB).
For a copy of the equality impact assessment please see here (PDF, 745KB).
Please see the template for the Governance Plan (Word, 46KB) – you must complete and submit the Governance Plan within 28 days after the receipt of the Offer Letter.
Please see the Terms and Conditions here (PDF, 125KB).
Please see the Final Report Template here (Excel, 38KB).
We recognise that now, more than ever, support and guidance is needed to ensure that everyone involved across the global research and innovation chain is safe and protected from harm.
The UKRI Preventing Harm (Safeguarding) in Research and Innovation Policy is a useful framework to support organisations to identify and address any gaps in their policies and procedures to ensure that they are well placed to anticipate, mitigate and address any actual or potential harms in their research and innovation activities.
UKRI remains committed to supporting ethical research and responsible innovation during the Covid-19 pandemic. The World Health Organisation, UNESCO and the Nuffield Council on Bioethics, for example, have produced bespoke ethics guidance on adapting to emergency contexts. There are also accelerated ethics approval processes for researchers working during emergencies.
Key resources and guidance:
- Nuffield Council on Bioethics – COVID-19 ethics resources
- The Global Health Network – epidemics ethics resources
- Nuffield Council on Bioethics: Research in global health emergencies: ethical issues
- World Health Organization: Guidance for managing ethical issues in infectious disease. World Health Organization website. Published October 27, 2016.
- Council for International Organizations of Medical Sciences – International ethical guidelines for health-related research involving humans (PDF)
- NHS Health Research Authority - COVID-19 research
- MHRA regulatory flexibilities resulting from coronavirus (COVID-19)
- NC3Rs and the 3Rs during COVID-19
- UKCDR: Safeguarding during COVID-19
- BBSRC policies page
- EPSRC ethics pages
- ESRC ethics pages
- Innovate UK responsible innovation guide
- MRC ethics pages
- MRC Regulatory Support Unit
- NERC policy pages
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you require further signposting to resources
Open letters to the research and innovation community from Professor Sir Mark Walport, former Chief Executive of UK Research and Innovation:
Other correspondence from Sir Mark Walport:
- letter to Dr Jo Grady of the University and College Union (26 March)
- letter to Tim Bradshaw, Chief Executive of the Russell Group, (19 March) in response to the organisation's letter to UKRI (18 March).
Correspondence from the REF team has (March 24)
- to the heads of institutions to outline the UK higher education funding bodies' updated position in relation to contingency planning for coronavirus for the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021.
Correspondence from Research England (April 16)
- to heads of institutions detailing an updated timetable for the Knowledge Exchange Framework (KEF) and accountability for Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF) allocations.
Correspondence from Science Minister Amanda Solway:
- letter to thank higher education institutions and other research institutions on work to address the impact of Covid-19
- letter announcing that Research England will bring forward £100 million of quality-related research (QR) funding to eligible institutions in acknowledgement of the immediate pressures being faced by our institutions