COVID-19 – Current guidance from Research Funders

Please refer to the main University COVID-19 page for updated advice about COVID-19 and our response.

For information about the status and activities of teams within Research Services, please see our COVID-19 update.

Research Services is now operating remotely, with all core services supported. Please continue to work with your usual research support teams (Research Services or faculty personnel) either by email or Google Hangouts.


Cross-faculty support

Funders guidance and advice

For information on other funders including the British Heart Foundation, Alzheimer's Research UK and other smaller funders please contact your faculty contact or as we are collating this information as we receive it.

Our team will continue to contact funders with regard to current advice and will update the information on this page as and when this changes, so please continue to review this page regularly.

If you receive information from funders that is not captured here please do let us know via and we will endeavour to update the page.


Applying for new funding

Will I still be able to submit grants during the disruption?

Research Services remains operational, and all teams are now remote working. However, given the current situation and the possibility of increased staff absence, please allow extra time ahead of the funder submission deadline, and ensure your Head of Department is available to approve. If your departmental approver is not available, please contact your research support team as soon as possible.

Will funders be extending submission deadlines for funding calls?

Most funders have provided guidance with respect to this and are taking a pragmatic approach to dealing with the evolving situation. Submission deadlines for the majority of funding calls remain unchanged. If you are unsure, or would like further clarification, please check funder/scheme websites or contact

I have a research contract that requires an authorised signature. Will it be signed?

Arrangements are in place to ensure contracts are signed on schedule. For clarification regarding timescales please contact either your faculty contact or the contracts helpdesk.

Will there be delays in funders notifying of grant decisions?

Some funders are delaying or postponing review panel decisions. Funders will notify applicants about the success or otherwise in due course. If you have any queries please contact and we will endeavour to get clarification for you.

Existing projects

I have been awarded a new project I need to accept by a fixed deadline. Who should I contact?

Research Services remains operational. Please liaise with your usual team.

Do I need to delay the start of my new research project?

Where permitted within the funder's terms and conditions it may be worth considering delaying the start of your project to ensure there is minimal impact on your research, and some funders have provided specific guidance on this. Please contact for advice if the Funder guidance is not clear.

I need to return to clinical duties but this will impact my research project, what is the guidance on this?

We are receiving confirmation from some funders that they fully support this direction and will provide extensions to projects where staff have returned to clinical duties to support the COVID-19 pandemic. There may be an expectation from charities that the NHS will ultimately reimburse the project for associated salary costs incurred. Please check funder guidance in the links provided or contact and we will endeavour to seek further clarification where we can. Clinical PhD fellows who are returning to clinical work should contact their Primary Supervisor in the first instance.

I have a subcontractor who requires urgent payment?

Presuming this is in line with the contract (e.g. the work has been completed, or that advance payments were agreed), please ensure your subcontractor sends the invoice electronically to the email address in the agreement with all the relevant backing documentation and this will be paid as per normal processes. If you receive the invoice directly please forward to

My research has been deemed as non-essential and I cannot do my research remotely. Can I get an extension?

Funders are continually updating their guidance and they are likely to be pragmatic when considering requests to extend projects. Please get in touch with your funder to discuss this as they are likely to consider requests on a case-by-case basis.

If I get an extension my project will incur additional costs. Who will cover these costs?

This will vary depending on the funder and the nature of cost. If you have a query relating to this please contact as we are actively engaging with funders to seek clarity on this.

My confirmed activities or travel plans have had to be cancelled and my project has lost money. Will the project be reimbursed?

We anticipate that funders will adopt a pragmatic approach on this, however it is likely to be variable, as such please refer to the individual funder's guidance. Where travel plans have been cancelled upon government advice, the costs should be recovered from the travel supplier where possible, or University of Sheffield insurance, full guidance on this can be found here.

Can I proceed with any PhD studentships starting from September 2020?

The current advice is that these studentships can start as planned.

Is REF 2021 going ahead as planned?

Research England have postponed REF 2021 due to the current COVID-19 emergency. The staff census date remains 31 July, but there is no further information at this time on whether the other census dates will change. When a new submission date is set, we will have 8 months notice.