Funder guidance

Non commercial funder guidance: COVID-19 funder guidance

Clinical trials

This page contains guidance on research applications and awards and provides links to a set of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) COVID-19 FAQs and funder guidance on the impact of Coronavirus on research funding. This is an evolving situation so please review this page and the funders' own webpages regularly for updates.

The COVID-19 funder guidance list will be updated with funder information as and when it is received. Please notify the Research Office if you receive information from other funders.

Proposal Submissions:

All applications which are submitted via web-based funder portals will continue to be processed. Applicants should ensure that sufficient time is allowed for an application to be approved by both the Head of Department and Faculty Research Services/Joint Research Office (RS/JRO) as per normal College practice. Where staff are unable or unavailable to approve applications, email confirmation from the relevant approver or authorised delegate will be accepted, but you should contact RS/JRO as soon as possible if this is the case.

If an application is for a COVID-19 rapid response funding call, notify your Department support team so this can be prioritised.

Funders may amend or delay submission deadlines, so always refer to their webpages for the latest information.

Acceptance of Awards:

Faculty research services teams are still responsible for formally accepting awards and will work with funders to ensure this can be done, especially in cases where acceptance requires a “wet” signature. Priority will be given to award setups for COVID-19 research funding.

Given the circumstances, Principal Investigators (PIs) should carefully consider whether starting the project now is absolutely necessary or feasible. Principal Investigators (PIs) should contact their local research support team in the first instance (i.e. Department administration and Faculty research services teams) to discuss whether the project should be delayed, taking account of the funder’s terms and conditions. The main funders have indicated that they will take a pragmatic approach to any delays caused to research projects.

Some Funders are delaying or postponing review panel decisions on grant funding.

Managing Existing Awards:

We expect our funders to take a pragmatic approach to any disruption to research projects. Depending on the specific circumstances and the period of disruption, we envisage that:

  •  grants can be extended to allow existing budgets to be utilised (i.e. no-cost extensions)
  • extra funding can be requested if there is reasonable justification (i.e. costed extensions), but funders will consider this on a case-by-case basis. Note that some funders have a maximum grant amount which cannot be increased.

Principal Investigators (PIs) should contact their local research support team in the first instance (i.e. Department administration and Faculty research services teams) to discuss their situation in more detail and establish if there are cost implications. Funder confirmation of any grant extension or supplement should be retained on the grant file to support future cost claims.

It is essential that grant holders and their research administration teams retain appropriate evidence of any additional costs incurred, e.g. irrecoverable fees arising from the cancellation of meetings/events; salary costs for staff supporting frontline NHS services.

Research Contracts:

The review and drafting of research contracts will continue remotely. The College is engaging with its key industrial partners to ascertain impact and what can be done to manage existing contractual obligations. Again, we expect funders to be pragmatic in the circumstances. The execution of new contracts may be delayed depending on decisions taken by funders, or other third party dependencies, however, Faculty Research Contracts teams will work with Principal Investigators (PIs) and Departments to manage risks arising as far as possible.