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.

Faculty

Cross-faculty support

Bulletin: Extended deadlines*
UKRI Have stated that deadlines on all open funded opportunities will be extended - see here. Extensions confirmed for April & May can be found here.
European Commission Deadlines to a number of H2020 calls have been extended, these are listed here.
Innovate UK

Delaying both the opening and closing of some competitions by one month - see here.

All UK Smart Grant competitions have been withdrawn, with no date for recommencement currently available.

NIHR

HTA calls 19/128, 19/124, 19/122: 29/7/2020

Advanced Fellowship: 29/7/2020

Doctoral Fellowship: 13/8/2020

MRC/AHRC/ESRC Adolescence, Mental Health and the Developing Mind: 15th September 2020
Nuffield Foundation Strategic Fund: 29th June 2020
Seedcorn Funding closed until further notice

*Deadlines that have only been extended by a matter of days are not included. If there are any key deadline changes that you are aware of please email RSResearchGrowth@sheffield.ac.uk.

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 RSResearchGrowth@sheffield.ac.uk 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 RSResearchGrowth@sheffield.ac.uk and we will endeavour to update the page.

FAQs

Applying for new funding

I am planning to apply for one of the UKRI Covid-19 rapid response calls. Where can I get support?

Please contact your Research Hub or Faculty Research Support Officer in the first instance for advice and support. A FAQ document has also been produced for applicants to the current UKRI Covid-19 funding calls, including those being run in partnership with the NIHR and Newton Fund.

Frequently Asked Questions UKRI Covid-19 Funding Calls

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. Changes to submission deadlines for a large number of funding calls have been announced and can be found in the bulletins section of this page. Please note that this list may not be comprehensive as it is updated weekly and if you are unsure, or would like further clarification, you should check with the funder or contact RSResearchGrowth@sheffield.ac.uk.

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 RSResearchGrowth@sheffield.ac.uk and we will endeavour to get clarification for you.

Do I still need to obtain research ethics and governance approvals?

Yes - your proposed research will need to comply with the usual requirements of the University's Ethics Policy Governing Research Involving Human Participants, Personal Data and Human Tissue, and if it involves the NHS or publicly-funded social care services, it will need to follow the University's Research Governance Procedure and relevant NHS/HRA approvals will need to be sought. The HRA has issued information about a fast-track approval process for Covid-19 studies.

Existing projects

Can I currently order consumables and/or equipment from active grants?

All IT related equipment must be verified as appropriate with IT Services before any purchase is made and delivery agreed. Any office related equipment or low value consumables must be absolutely essential and only for facilitating safe working. If colleagues require clarification, please refer them to your departmental safety officer, departmental IT support or IT Services.

In addition, please note that office and IT-related equipment are the only University purchased items that are authorised for delivery to a home address. No research related equipment or consumables should be purchased and delivered to a home address, even just for temporary storage. Health and Safety legislation forbids staff members to conduct non-office based research at their home addresses. Risk assessments cannot be conducted covering such home-based activity and University insurance does not extend to covering any accidents or losses relating to non-office based activity. The storage of such research equipment or consumables at a home address may also invalidate home insurance cover.

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 RSResearchGrowth@sheffield.ac.uk 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 RSResearchGrowth@sheffield.ac.uk 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 invoices@sheffield.ac.uk.

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

Some funders have already provided guidance on this and have communicated this directly to their grantholders. For those funders who have not yet provided formal guidance we anticipate that they are likely to be pragmatic when considering requests to extend projects. If you are planning to request an extension please bear in mind that funders are dealing with a very large number of queries and have reduced administrative capacity so if your request to extend can be delayed (i.e. it is not time critical) then we recommend you do so.

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 RSResearchGrowth@sheffield.ac.uk 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. View our REF website for the latest information.

Can qualitative research involving in person contact with participants continue?

The University has recently issued guidance for researchers in response to the current outbreak of coronavirus, stating that qualitative research which requires face-to-face contact with participants must not continue. See here. Please note that this applies to research carried out both in the UK and in partner countries. This guidance will be reviewed on a monthly basis.