COVID-19 continues to have an immense impact upon research within the UK, and this is a very challenging time for our researchers funded by Children with Cancer UK. In this uncertain time, we have been considering how best we can support researchers to mitigate the impact on their research, whilst also recognizing the restraints on our income due to this pandemic.
Here we outline the ways that we are able to support you as we enter a new phase of the COVID-19 pandemic and restrictions begin to ease. We will provide a flexible approach to our research awards, recognising that further delays might be inevitable as you adjust to restrictions on working patterns.Our team are continuing to work from home to support you and we ask to be kept informed of the impact COVID-19 is having on your research grant. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to update us about any changes to your grant activity or concerns you may have.
We acknowledge that research activity will significantly drop due to social distancing measures. Where research projects have been put on hold, our expectation is that the host institution is responsible for paying the researcher salaries usually incurred on our grants during this time. Children with Cancer UK are unable to support researcher salaries where a research project has been put on hold.
We strongly encourage our researchers to continue to utilise the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) for higher education providers. This will provide the best possible chance to complete a research project within budget and protect medical research in the longer term. By working with the Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC), we have received guidance underlining that researchers who receive funding from charities for salaries are eligible for this scheme.
For any researchers who have been working on their project remotely, we will require a written statement setting out the work currently being undertaken and your plans for the future. Any requests to continue providing salary support during this time will be assessed on a case by case basis.
We are supportive of any decision to redeploy clinical researchers to the NHS frontline when salary costs will be met by the NHS. Please liaise with your host institution to discuss how they will manage the reimbursement of your salary. We ask that researchers and their Institutions keep date records of any affected staff member currently supported on one of our grants, including the duration of any redeployment.
As lockdown restrictions begin to ease, we anticipate that clinical researchers will return to their research projects and continue their training. To aid this transition back to research training The UK Clinical Academic Training Forum (CATF) has issued guidance for academic trainees, their clinical and research supervisors, and their institutions. The Academy of Medical Sciences (AMS) has also created a new career support space for biomedical and health researchers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
For all grants that are put on hold, we will automatically adjust the end date of your grant once it is re-activated to account for the time that the grant was in abeyance. When you are ready to restart your project, please contact us to agree a reactivation date.
As research institutes begin re-open, we are aware that labs will operate at reduced capacity. Please let us know when you have returned to the lab and if you anticipate any delay to your project due to restricted access.
Please inform us if access to your lab is still prohibited. If we have already agreed that work on your project can continue remotely, then please continue to do so. However, if you can no longer continue working on your project remotely than please contact us to put your grant on hold.
A no-cost extension will extend the end date of a grant, giving you more time to complete your project. We will support requests for no-cost extensions for up to 12 months, to account for the disruption caused by COVID-19.
Please do not apply for an extension any sooner than 9 months before the end of your grant. This will enable us to fully assess your request and consider mitigating circumstances.
A request for a no-cost extension can be submitted by completing a ‘Grant Extension Request’ via our Flexi-Grant system. Please include details of how your project has been compromised by the COVID-19 disruption and summarise the work to be performed during the extended period. Please provide details of the remaining funds available for your project and how you will use these funds during the extended period.
The total expenditure of your grant should remain within the awarded amount originally issued, but we will consider requests to use your funding more flexibly. This includes utilising any underspends and virements between budgets to cover additional costs due to the COVID-19 disruption.
Across the sector medical charities are facing enormous financial pressure due to COVID-19. We rely on voluntary donations to fund research and our fundraising income continues to be impacted because of this crisis. While we have reserves to cover all of our existing research commitments as originally budgeted, the anticipated impact on our income in the coming months will mean we unfortunately cannot offer any guarantee that will be able to provide costed extensions or supplements.
The schedule for submission of progress reports (annual and final) will remain unchanged. However, we understand that you might require more time to complete a report and we will offer flexibility in submission deadlines.
If your project has yet to commence, we strongly advise you to delay the start of your project until such a time when it can be conducted without any significant disruption and as originally planned. Please inform the charity as soon as a start date has been confirmed.
As the leading national children’s charity dedicated to the fight against cancer, we are committed to helping the research community to manage and recover from this current crisis. We will provide you with any further updates as this situation evolves. Our thoughts are with you, your families, and colleagues during this difficult time.
The entire world is currently facing a period of uncertainty due to the Coronavirus pandemic. However, what does remain certain is that 12 children and young people will continue to be diagnosed with cancer every day in the UK.Read more