COVID-19 information for fixed-term research staff and fellows

FOR FIXED-TERM RESEARCH STAFF

The following questions have been raised by research staff at the town hall meeting for research staff, the Research Staff Consultation Group, and OxRSS meetings. 

Current University-wide initiatives specifically in support of research staff

Town hall meeting

The Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research) held a town hall meeting in November 2020 which focused on the current research funding landscape and associated implications for fixed term research staff, the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on fixed term research staff, and the main University-wide initiatives in support of research staff.

Research Staff Hub

A new Research Staff Hub will be launched, pioneered by Professor Patrick Grant, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research) and Professor David Gavaghan, University Academic Advocate for Research Staff. The Research Staff Hub will present a new opportunity and resource to build a more inclusive researcher community. Working with divisions and departments, key areas of focus for the Hub will be:

  • initiatives to meet the University’s obligations under the new Concordat to Support the Career Development of Research Staff
  • career and professional development support
  • training for PIs and managers of research staff 
  • enhanced support in wellbeing and EDI
  • representation, policy and advocacy
  • community building, events, and communications

Research staff representation

A new central representational structure for research staff has been introduced to embed the consideration of the career and professional development of research staff within the decision-making structure of the University. The Research Staff Steering Committee (RSSC) has been convened on behalf of Research & Innovation Committee to provide the strategic direction of the University to enhance the opportunities and support for research staff, in accordance with Priority 8 of the University's Strategic Plan 2018-23. Divisions and departments are at various stages in the process of developing representational structures which will ensure a two-way dialogue with the central structure, as well as across divisions. There are lots of opportunity for researchers to become involved. If you would like to know more or get involved in the new representational structure, please contact linda.andrews@admin.ox.ac.uk

Survey of research staff, July 2020

A survey of research staff at the University has identified the range of impacts the coronavirus pandemic has had on their working lives and research activities and plans. The survey ran throughout July 2020 and had just under 1,000 responses. The main findings of the survey of research staff on the impact of the coronavirus pandemic have been endorsed by the Research Steering Group.

The initiatives listed below are examples of initiatives which are underway to begin to address concerns that research staff shared.

COVID Rebuilding Research Momentum Fund (CRRMF)

A new internal funding scheme, the COVID Rebuilding Research Momentum Fund (CRRMF), has been introduced and rolled out (in record time). The types of disruption experienced by researchers as revealed through the survey informed the eligibility and selection criteria of the new fund, which will make small awards to those research staff and early career researchers whose research has been most significantly impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. The first round has now closed and if proved effective, further rounds may follow. 

UKRI project extension

UKRI announced additional funding to enable extension of eligible projects in their final year where research progress has been severely disrupted. Departments identified the most pressing cases and the funding has been allocated (again, in record time). Whilst this additional funding from UKRI is welcomed, it is recognised that UKRI funding (and awards eligible for extension funding) is relevant to only a minority of research staff. For all research staff with concerns about ongoing funding and the impact of the pandemic, please talk to your research supervisor or line manager.

Careers support

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Research staff are eligible for the full range of Careers Service offer during their contract and for one full calendar year after it expires.

Oxford University’s careers support pages written for all research staff by specialist careers advisers are now being updated with the additional provision, plus tips and advice relevant to COVID-related circumstances, including predicted effects on the job market and wider economy:

Since COVID-19, the Careers Service has increased provision of 30-minute 1:1 appointments bookable online (via CareerConnect) with a careers adviser of your choice, including two who specialise in researcher career progression within and beyond academia. Note that research staff can book a series of appointments (maximum of one per week) to support them through a more challenging period.

For any research staff keen to give their career some focused attention, the Careers Service has created an online version of the highly interactive and increasingly popular career design and development course, inspired by the design-based thinking coming out of Stanford’s Product Design School. This course comprises 3 short workshops with development tasks in between, and is intended to support researchers in learning what has worked so far, exploring and evaluating potential future directions and getting equipped for next steps. 

The Careers Service series of regular seminars 'Insight into academia' continues online, as do sessions to support job applications and how to find or create internships (remote placements included). 

Research staff may gain careers insights, inspiration, connections and advice from the following two initiatives and are invited to come forward to participate with a view to bolstering their career progression:

Research staff who are approaching the end of a fixed-term contract and are thinking of a change of career into a professional or management role at the University can contact the Priority Candidate Support Scheme who can assist with redrafting their CVs to draw out the transferrable skills suitable for this sort of role.

 

 

  • Oxford Careers Service has a dedicated set of guidance webpages for researchers 
  • Oxford’s annual Careers Conference for Researchers focuses on routes alongside or beyond academia. Browse speaker bios (all with PhDs and/or research staff experience) from previous events via brochures (2018 to 2020). You’ll find inspiration and insight into how to transition to a different sector. Keep an eye on CareerConnect for the next Conference (likely March 2021). 
  • see what other researchers have done: browse career profiles on Research Careers or join the team of Oxford researchers who source these profiles in ways that develop their understanding of fields beyond academia, and develop related professional networks
  • use CareerConnect to browse job vacancies and careers events or workshops, many of which are tailored to researchers – you can also book an appointment with a Careers Adviser
  • contact rebecca.ehata@careers.ox.ac.uk (Careers Service) or gwilym.rowlands@zoo.ox.ac.uk (OxRSS) if you are interested in joining the OxRSS Careers Working Group to help shape careers events and support for research staff
     

 

Yes. Maintaining a record of the impact of the pandemic on your research should frame your discussions with your PI or line manager on mitigating any negative effects on your research.  

The record can also help you in managing the impact on your career, through informing discussions at your personal development review or career development review in 2020/21, as well as in job applications and research funding applications.  

Your PI or line manager may request use of the record to apply for funding from internal or external sources.

Health and wellbeing

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The HR Support website provides a wealth of resources to support wellbeing during the COVID-19 pandemic. Information on the HR site is pertinent to all staff, including research staff.  

 

A free confidential counselling service is available for you and members of your immediate family (provided they live with you and are over the age of 18 or aged between 16 and 18 and are in full-time employment). It is provided as part of the University's insurance policy through Zurich. The service is available 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year. Further details and additional resources to support wellbeing during the Covid-19 pandemic can be found on the Occupational Health website.

 

Disabled staff should seek support for making reasonable adjustments in the usual way, through discussing their needs with their manager or supervisor, requesting a management referral to Occupational Health or contacting the University’s Staff Disability Advisor. 

 

There is currently no consistent practice across all departments of the University.

Please check arrangements in your department with your local research administrator or HR manager.

Fixed-term and open-ended contracts of employment

The prevalence of fixed-term contracts in higher education and concerns about their impact on the career development and job security of researchers are a sector-wide issue. 

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The law only recognises two kinds of contract, fixed-term and permanent. A fixed-term contract (FTC) of employment terminates on a specific date, usually on completion of a specific task. An open-ended contract (OEC) for legal purposes is the same as a permanent contract. The University working practices on use of OECs can be found on the HR Support website.

As at 31 July 2019, 46% of University staff were on permanent contracts, 50% were on fixed-term contracts, and 4% were on open-ended contracts.   

 

University policy requires the use of fixed-term contracts to be objectively justified. The most common grounds for objective justification are that the employee is to perform work on an external research grant and that there is no expectation that the work will continue beyond the availability of external funding. This policy and the law allow the situation to develop where an employee is able to hold a series of fixed-term contracts.

 

External project funding is time limited. It is likely that employees engaged to perform research projects issued with open-ended contracts would still be made redundant with the same frequency when projects end. There is unlikely to be a substantive change to employment security by moving to an open-ended contract in the current funding environment.   

 

Some employees on fixed-term contracts reportedly face difficulty in obtaining personal financing for mortgages, cars etc. All major lenders report that it is possible to borrow while on a fixed-term contract with evidence of employment history and a copy of the employment contract. It is recognised that conditions for staff on fixed-term contracts may be more stringent, making applications potentially more difficult, but employment status on its own would not be a reason for a lender to refuse finance. 

 

Only a small proportion of early career research staff will ultimately end up in academia and those who wish to progress to more senior research roles require targeted development, rather than longer working in postdoctoral research assistant roles. Research by Vitae suggests that many research staff only consider the next step in their career six months before their contract terminates. These staff may be better supported through career development more widely. 

 

As long as there is a reasonable prospect that external funding will continue for the foreseeable future, and the work is central to the future research plans of the department, greater use of open-ended contract could enable established research groups to retrain their researchers when one contract ends, and enable the University to retain a pool of talented research staff. Benefits to the University may accrue if the same specialist skills and experience could address the needs of successive projects. However this does have the potential to be detrimental to the career progression of research staff as fewer posts are advertised and so the opportunity to build up experience in different areas or teams is reduced.  

 

Following due process, as with permanent contracts, open-ended contracts may be lawfully terminated by the giving of an appropriate period of notice and as allowed for in the specific contract of employment in circumstances such as resignation, ill health, misconduct and redundancy. For open-ended contracts at the University, Statute XII provides for a significantly more lengthy redundancy process for academic-related employees who have passed their probationary period than in other higher education institutions. The redundancy process needs to begin at least six months before the end of the externally funded project. The process of ending an open-ended contract is more resource intensive and costly than those for fixed-term contracts, where there is a well-recognised process that takes place in the three months before the end-date of the fixed-term contract.

Funding and contracts of employment

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Recruitment freeze and redeployment protocol

A recruitment freeze and redeployment protocol were adopted in April 2020, and revised in June 2020. The protocol applies to all internally funded posts. It does not apply to posts where 80% or more of the costs are covered from external sources (although some divisions may set a higher threshold for academic posts such as associate professorships and statutory professorships). This means job vacancies for externally funded postdoctoral research assistants or research associates will be advertised and recruited via the usual procedures.

Job retention and furlough

Some staff who have been unable to work because of the nature of their jobs or their caring responsibilities have been placed on furlough through the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS). The University has committed to continuing to pay all furloughed employees 100% of their salary during any period of furlough supported by the current round of the government’s CJRS. Furloughed staff members will see no changes to their salaries, benefits or pension arrangements. They remain employees of the University on the same terms and conditions.

If you are unable to work at all and have been furloughed, you may be eligible to apply to the Returning Carers Fund.

 

UKRI requires the University to commit to the salary of the fellow, in accordance with the tapering funding from UKRI, and to provide an open-ended independent research role either during or on completion of the fellowship (in line with organisational employment policies and practices). UKRI recognise that the path to an open-ended role may involve open advertisement of the position, as required by the open recruitment policies at most UK higher education institutions, including Oxford. Open recruitment is acceptable to UKRI provided that the position advertised is in the right subject area of the fellowship, at a suitable level, and at the appropriate time. Accordingly, applicants will require the support and financial commitment of their department and division prior to the submission of an application to the UKRI Future Leaders Fellowships, or similar schemes.

 

The University has an established Priority Candidate Support Scheme (PCSS) for employees at risk of redundancy, towards the end of a fixed-term contract, and who want help in identifying suitable professional service roles across the University. This scheme is suitable for research staff who wish to move into professional service roles. It does not apply to research or academic vacancies.

Funding and impact of COVID-19 on research progress

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It may be possible to extend some posts where there is remaining budget within the award and (where necessary) the funder agrees to the extension of the project duration. You should discuss this with your research supervisor or group head. All external research funds are passed to departments and there is no centrally administered bridging scheme. 

 

Research Professional is an online research funding database and news service to which every member of research staff has access.

The database enables you to search across thousands of UK and international opportunities and to receive opportunities by email. In addition, articles highlight early career opportunities, niche funders, and enables you to learn from the experience of other researchers.

For more information see our Research Professional page.

 

There is likely to be significant variety in the responses from different research funders. While many funders wish to be supportive and pragmatic during the current crisis, funders who ordinarily only pay personnel costs for project specific activities (for example, those with specific timesheet requirements) may not fund additional administrative work. The exceptions to this are UKRI and Wellcome. If in doubt, please check with your local research administrator and, if necessary, ask the PI to check with the project manager at the funding body. 

Remote working and communication with managers

 

HR provide guidance to PIs and supervisors on keeping in touch with research staff. It is reasonable for research staff to expect their line manager to follow this guidance insofar as is reasonable in the circumstances of individual projects.

Some key points to consider:

Most staff will usually have regular meetings with their manager to check in with their work and with how they are more generally. This is an opportunity for you to discuss research priorities, the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on your work, and to receive and give feedback.

Check in with your manager or PI on a regular basis. Agree the frequency of contact with your manager, having due regard to both your current needs and your manager’s availability. If there is a mismatch between the two, explore the options with your manager. Consider whether the frequency could be adjusted for a limited time. Consider whether small group meetings might both suit your purposes and increase your manager’s availability. Think about whether you would like an alternative nominated point of contact to discuss the issues of remote working, childcare etc, leaving the time spent with your line manager to focus on progressing your research within the limits arising from the COVID-19 crisis.

 

Agree core hours of work with your manager. These are the hours when you can be expected to be ‘at work’ and at the end of a phone, Teams invite, or email. Core hours for each individual might be different to their usual hours. Agree some boundaries so that you each know when it is acceptable for you to contact your manager, or be contacted by your manager.  

Consider whether a buddying system would be helpful to your situation. Alternatively, consider whether you could volunteer to pair up with a colleague in need of support.

Return to on-site working (RTOSW)

The following questions are those specifically posed by research staff.

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Personal circumstances (including personal risk, risk to other household members and caring responsibilities relating to the current situation) will be taken into account in any discussion with staff about the return to on-site working.

More detailed guidance and support for staff is available on the return to on-site working website.

 

The University’s Travel website explains additional measures such as temporary additional parking permits, and help with alternatives such as cycling.

FOR FELLOWS

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Many funders of fellowships have issued guidance to holders of fellowships. Most are offering flexibility to help fellows affected by COVID-19 restrictions to complete their fellowship projects. Options can include no-cost extensions, moving to part-time working, suspending the fellowship on a temporary basis, and agreeing changes to the science of the fellowship project.  

Fellows should check with their funder and discuss options with their department before taking decisions – note in particular that few funders are in a position to provide additional funding.

For Marie Curie fellowships please contact the Research Services European & International Team for advice on options available (ecresearch@admin.ox.ac.uk). 

Answers to some key questions are given below where the funder view is known. 
 

 

Most funders are happy to agree a no-cost extension to give a fellow additional time in which to complete the activities of their fellowship, and some funders may consider funded extensions. Fellows should check their funder’s policy and discuss their position with their department. No-cost extensions depend on remaining available budget.  

British Academy

The British Academy will treat all requests for no-cost extensions sympathetically. Grant holders should contact the British Academy to discuss their case before completing a change request form in the FlexiGrant system. Depending on the scheme, assistance is at grants@thebritishacademy.ac.uk or newtonfund@thebritishacademy.ac.uk or international@thebritishacademy.ac.uk

British Heart Foundation

The funder is prepared to support requests for no-cost extensions to grants to cover any delays caused by suspension of research. If suspension of research is prolonged and a costed extension is required, they will consider requests on a case by case basis in due course. They are currently developing the process for receiving and considering no-cost and costed extension applications across grant schemes, and expect to be able to announce this in the near future.

Cancer Research UK

CRUK's default position will be to offer a no-cost extension if needed. No-cost extension requests should be made in writing. They are currently prioritising requests for no-cost extensions to grants with less than 18 months left on the grant award letter. If your grant has less than 18 months to run, you can either request a no-cost extension now or wait until your research has resumed and a clearer understanding of disruption is known. They are not in a position to offer costed extensions due to the impact of COVID-19 on their fundraising income.

EC MSCA Individual Fellowships

Because of the way in which the fellowship funding works, to extend a fellowship the grant will first need to be suspended. During a period of suspension no costs can be claimed from the grant and the funding in the grant that covers the costs of employment of the fellow is not paid. The period of time equal to the length of the suspension is added to the end of the fellowship and payments resume when the suspension ends. The total number of funded months of the fellowship remains unchanged but the end date of the fellowship moves.  

Leverhulme Trust

The funder will generally allow requests to extend your grant if you don't need additional costs. They ask that you email grants@leverhulme.ac.uk to request such an extension. 

If there is the potential for research to be lost or severely compromised, then an application for a costed extension may be considered. You should approach the Trust only when you are in a position to be clear about the length of an extension and the cost involved. They will then advise you of the process to follow. Applications will be considered on a case by case basis.

NIHR

You will be able to request an extension to your fellowship to cover any research time lost due to the impact of COVID-19. This may be due to elements of the fellowship having to pause or move to a later date. Once you know the full impact on your research and/or training you should get in touch with the NIHR Academy to discuss the next steps. Any extensions will be agreed on the assumption that the fellowship can still be completed within the originally contracted budget. 
Requests for any additional costs will be considered on a case by case basis where the impact is on personal development. Where you are having to stop or reduce time on your research, for example due to extra clinical days/weeks, they suggest you keep a log of these changes. 

Royal Commission for the Exhibition 1851

No specific guidance available from the funder's webpages

Royal Society

The Royal Society will provide no-cost extensions for any award holder whose research is delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Their website states that they are considering their position on additional funding during extensions where grant holders have lost access to research facilities at host institutions due to COVID-19 restrictions. 

UKRI and Research Councils

No-cost extension requests to grants impacted by coronavirus will be allowed.

Versus Arthritis

The funder will agree no-cost extensions to your award if needed. Please follow the process outlined in Grant Tracker. Where costed extensions are necessary, these will be considered on a case by case basis as required.

Wellcome Trust

Wellcome will agree to a no-cost extension of up to six months if your grant is due to end in 2020 or 2021 and your fellowship has been disrupted by the pandemic. They will consider longer extensions but only where your grant includes clinical trials, fieldwork or critical animal studies. The process through which these no cost extensions will be agreed will be advised in due course. 
Depending on your funding stream you may be eligible for six months' additional funding if your fellowship is due to finish in 2020 (three months' funding if your fellowship finishes in 2021). Wellcome will advise you if this is applicable to your fellowship. 

 

Funders may be happy to discuss this option with fellowship holders – particularly if the option to change to part-time working is in any case possible under the terms and conditions of your fellowship funding. You should discuss this with your host department.

British Academy

No specific guidance available from the funder's webpages

British Heart Foundation

No specific guidance available from the funder's webpages

Cancer Research UK

No specific guidance available from the funder's webpages

EC MSCA Individual Fellowships

It is possible to amend your fellowship grant agreement to allow for part-time working. The minimum time on grant allowed is 50% full time equivalent. Because of the way in which the funding works, moving to part time working will automatically extend the duration of your fellowship. For example 2 months full time is the same as 4 months at 50% FTE. It is possible to move temporarily to part-time working then to revert to full time at a later date. 

Leverhulme Trust

No specific guidance available from the funder's webpages

NIHR

No specific guidance available from the funder's webpages

Royal Commission for the Exhibition 1851

No specific guidance available from the funder's webpages

Royal Society

No specific guidance available from the funder's webpages

UKRI and Research Councils

No specific guidance available from the funder's webpages

Versus Arthritis

No specific guidance available from the funder's webpages

Wellcome Trust

No specific guidance available from the funder's webpages

Funders may agree to the temporary suspension of a fellowship. Suspension would usually mean no grant payment during the period of suspension, not even for salary.

British Academy

No specific guidance available from the funder's webpages

British Heart Foundation

If research institutions shut down for a period of time, the current position is that the British Heart Foundation will continue to pay the salaries of staff funded on grants. This is regardless of whether work can continue on the fellowship. 

Cancer Research UK

Cancer Research UK will consider requests to suspend your grant if you want to pause payments and activities on the grant. Please let them know in writing the proposed suspension dates to your grant.

EC MSCA Individual Fellowships

Your fellowship can be suspended and then restarted. During the period of suspension no costs can be claimed on the grant. Funder advice is that unspent budget for research, training and networking could in principle be used to provide funding for salary during a suspension. Please be aware that this must be discussed with departments/faculties and that funding available is likely to be small. 

Leverhulme Trust

This is an option that would be considered by the funder. Please contact grants@leverhulme.ac.uk

NIHR

Your fellowship may be paused to enable you to contribute to the COVID-19 effort. In these circumstances payments will continue in line with existing payment schedules and the funder will also extend awards where necessary. This will be managed at the end of your award. Applications for additional funding to cover additional research costs because the award has been extended will be considered. Once you know the impact on the research time in your award you should contact NIHR Academy to discuss the required extension.

Royal Commission for the Exhibition 1851

No specific guidance available from the funder's webpages

Royal Society

The Royal Society does not expect fellowships to be suspended. 

UKRI and Research Councils

No specific guidance available from the funder's webpages

Versus Arthritis

The funder website guidance states: 'The decision to pause or close down any research will be a local decision to be made by the chief/principal investigator and the sponsor. We will support any local decision to move personnel to front line duties and will work with teams after the crisis to explore ways for research projects to be reinstated'.

Wellcome Trust

Wellcome do not expect grants to be suspended. Salaries are expected to continue to be paid in full (though furlough can be considered if appropriate). Special arrangements apply if grant holders are directly involved in COVID-19 service delivery. 

 

Please refer to the University’s guidance and FAQs on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and research and research support staff, and discuss with your department/faculty.  

British Academy

The furlough scheme does not allow furlough for employees funded through public funding. 

British Heart Foundation

Where appropriate, the funder is encouraging employing institutions to use the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme for staff funded on grants. They will fund the unrecoverable portion of the salary. 

Cancer Research UK

If the University determines that you/your team are eligible for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), Cancer Research UK (CRUK) encourage you to take advantage of the scheme. Your CRUK grant funding can be used to cover any shortfall in payments through the CJRS.

EC MSCA Individual Fellowships

It is unlikely that furlough would be regarded as appropriate for MSCA fellowships.  

Leverhulme Trust

No specific guidance available from the funder's webpages

NIHR

The furlough scheme does not allow furlough for employees funded through public funding. 

Royal Commission for the Exhibition 1851

No specific guidance available from the funder's webpages

Royal Society

The furlough scheme does not allow furlough for employees paid through public funding. 

UKRI and Research Councils

The furlough scheme does not allow furlough for employees funded through public funding.

Versus Arthritis

The funder supports furlough and unrecoverable costs can be charged to the grant. Evidence of University policy may be requested. 

Wellcome Trust

In principle researchers funded by the Wellcome Trust can be furloughed under the University’s scheme. Please discuss this option with your department if you feel it would be appropriate. Note that if the sponsor deems your fellowship eligible for additional funded months any period covered by CJRS would be deducted from the additional months possible funding. It would be wise to discuss your position with the sponsor before making decisions.  

 

Funders may be open to discussion about how your fellowship has been affected by COVID-19 restrictions and therefore to agreeing changes to the science of your project. 

British Academy

No specific guidance available from the funder's webpages

British Heart Foundation

No specific guidance available from the funder's webpages

Cancer Research UK

Cancer Research UK have committed to offering as much flexibility as possible for ongoing management of your award including the possibility that research activities may have to be adapted in light of COVID-19. 

EC MSCA Individual Fellowships

Funder advice is that if there are no other ways to mitigate for the disruption caused by COVID-19, changes to the science of your fellowship can be discussed. 

Leverhulme Trust

This is not a topic addressed in funder guidance for grant holders affected by COVID-19 issues. If there is the potential for research to be lost or severely compromised, then an application for a costed extension may be considered – see 'Can I extend my fellowship?' above.

NIHR

The funder website states that if, because of the impact of COVID-19, it makes sense for your research and wider fellowship to make significant changes to your original plans (for example, if a part of your research has had to be stopped altogether and is unlikely to restart) then you should get in touch with the NIHR Academy to discuss significant changes that you want to make.

Royal Commission for the Exhibition 1851

No specific guidance available from the funder's webpages

Royal Society

No specific guidance available from the funder's webpages

UKRI and Research Councils

No specific guidance available from the funder's webpages

Versus Arthritis

No specific guidance available from the funder's webpages

Wellcome Trust

No specific guidance available from the funder's webpages

 

Funders are likely to be sympathetic where objectives cannot be met due to COVID-19 related issues. Depending on your funder you might need to talk to them now about this possibility. 

British Academy

No specific guidance available from the funder's webpages

British Heart Foundation

No specific guidance available from the funder's webpages

Cancer Research UK

The funder has committed to take any period of inactivity on grants into account when assessing research progress, outputs and career progression. Cancer Research UK have committed to offering as much flexibility as possible for ongoing management of your award including the possibility that research activities may have to be adapted in light of COVID-19. They expect to work with you to adjust expectations about whether the full research studies can be carried out, what can be delivered and achieved during the programme of work once the impact of the disruption on research can be fully assessed.

EC MSCA Individual Fellowships

At the discretion of the funder force majeure is a legitimate reason for not being able to complete a fellowship as anticipated in Annex 1 of the grant agreement. Please talk to your project officer now (through the communication facility on the funding and tenders portal) if you are likely to need to rely on the force majeure clause when reporting at the end of your project. Records of effects and mitigation action taken need to be kept. 

Leverhulme Trust

If there is the potential for research to be lost or severely compromised, then an application for a costed extension may be considered – see 'Can I extend my fellowship?' above. 

NIHR

No specific guidance available from the funder's webpages, but see 'Can I change the science of my fellowship?' above

Royal Commission for the Exhibition 1851

No specific guidance available from the funder's webpages

Royal Society

No specific guidance available from the funder's webpages

UKRI and Research Councils

No specific guidance available from the funder's webpages

Versus Arthritis

No specific guidance available from the funder's webpages

Wellcome Trust

No specific guidance available from the funder's webpages, although the Trust is operating flexibility on extending grants affected by COVID-19 restrictions

British Heart Foundation

Researchers whose posts are directly funded by the British Heart Foundation (BHF), including fellows, may, at their discretion, devote their time and the time of any support staff funded in their award to COVID-19 research, until they are able to return
to their normal research activity. BHF ask that you inform them of your plans by email to research@bhf.org.uk.

Cancer Research UK

Cancer Research UK supports Clinical Research Training Fellows (CRTFs) being seconded back to the NHS to support front line service delivery. They ask that you email them to tell them you are stopping work on research. For clinical academics seconded
back to the NHS, their expectation is that the NHS will cover your salary whilst working on the COVID-19 response. Please discuss with your department how they intend to manage the salary reimbursement. You can also request a no-cost extension to
your grant or studentship.

NIHR

NIHR understands that clinical professionals may need to focus purely on clinical work in the short term and they will be flexible to support this. They will continue to make payments in line with existing payment schedules and will also extend awards
where necessary. This will be managed at the end of your award. Applications for additional funding to cover additional research costs because the award has been extended will be considered. Once you know the impact on the research time in your award
you should contact NIHR Academy to discuss the required extension.

Royal Society

If an award holder is recruited to support the coronavirus response, the Royal Society may provide additional funding to extend their fellowship appropriately. Such requests should be made in advance by submitting a change request on Flexi-Grant and will
be considered on a case by case basis.

UKRI/Research Councils

It may be possible to apply to change the direction of your research to directly support the COVID-19 effort. UKRI stress that they value all their funded research and that they will assess applications to redirect effort on their merits. More information
can be found on the UKRI website.

Versus Arthritis

The funder will support any local decision to move personnel to front line duties and will work with teams after the crisis to explore ways for research projects to be reinstated.

Wellcome Trust

The Wellcome Trust COVID-19 webpage provides details of support available for those directly involved in delivery
of the COVID-19 response. Separately, the Trust will consider requests to switch the focus of your research to COVID-19 activity that does not directly help to manage the immediate pandemic. However, they will not provide additional funds for this
purpose.