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Guidance for the research and innovation communities

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 are a business applicant or looking for innovation funding, search the Innovation Funding Service and visit Innovate UK for details of support packages available to businesses.

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.

You can read an open letter addressed to UKRI students. There is also detailed guidance for doctoral students supported by UKRI research council programmes (PDF, 155KB).

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.

Further information

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.

To see a summary of the policy please see here (PDF, 128KB).

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.

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:

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: