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Coronavirus (COVID-19): information for grant applicants and grant holders

05 June 2020

This page has information for anyone applying for, or who holds a Kidney Research UK grant. 

The coronavirus pandemic has created significant challenges for the charity. We are doing everything we can to keep our research going by protecting research grant awards we have already committed to and safeguard it for the future. But we have also had to make some tough decisions. 

This Q&A page summarises the changes we have had to make and how they might affect you. Please read the section that applies to you. If you have any additional queries or want to get in touch, please contact grants@kidneyresearchuk.org.  

Our plan is to come back stronger and bolder than before, so that we can continue with our mission to end kidney disease. 

Applied or applying for Kidney Research UK funding

Will the 2020/2021 funding rounds be going ahead? 

We have had to make the very difficult decision not to award any new grants in our 2020/2021 financial year because of the uncertain financial impact of COVID-19 on the charity. This also means we will not be awarding any grants with funding partners such as the MRC or the NIHR. 

This is devastating as the problems our research needs to solve haven’t gone away – in fact research is even more important than ever. But the reality is that we just don’t have the funds right now to commit to any new grants.  

We don’t yet know when we can re-open our application process for any of our usual grants rounds.  

Because we won’t be making any new awards, we we will not be reviewing any applications received. 

Will applications already submitted be progressed? 

No applications received are being reviewed or considered for funding. If our financial position changes significantly within the year we may be able to revise this position. We hope that you will understand our decision and will approach us for research funding support when this becomes available.  

For those of you who already receive funding from us, we want to reassure you that we are focusing our current efforts on ensuring we continue to support the grants to which we are already financially committed.  

We will continue to review this situation and will keep you informed of any updates via the grants web page, email, social media channels and Research Round Up.

If you’re already funded by Kidney Research UK

I’m funded by Kidney Research UK. How will my grant be affected? 

If you’re a researcher or student funded by us, we understand this will be a period of significant disruption and anxiety for you and your teams. We have already been in touch with you to find out about your situation and to reassure you that we are continuing to support the grants to which we have already financially committed.  

Here we outline how we can help support you through this period of disruption and help to minimise the impact on your research activities by offering as much flexibility and support as we can.   

I’m a clinician. Will Kidney Research UK support me being seconded back to the NHS to support COVID-19 front-line service delivery? 

We fully support our clinical academics, clinical research training fellows, allied health professionals, clinical scientists and research nurses being seconded back to the NHS to support front line service delivery if required.  

I’ve been seconded back to the NHS. What will happen to my grant and how will my salary be covered?
Our expectation is that the NHS will cover your salary during your secondment. Please discuss with your host institution how they intend to manage the salary reimbursement.  

For all staff now working in the NHS, your institution should keep a record of the duration of the redeployment (start/end dates) and any salary contributions recoverable from the NHS.  

Please get in touch with us to let us know when you return from your secondment and your research starts again 

You can also request a no-cost extension to your grant (see below). 

What flexibility will Kidney Research UK offer me in managing my grant? 

We will offer you as much flexibility as we can in managing your award. We understand your research activities may have to be adapted in the light of COVID-19, and we want to hear about any changes necessary. We will offer to delay your start date where appropriate, or the opportunity to suspend your grant and have a no cost extension. 

We’ll be flexible with the use of underspend and budget virements to cover exceptional and additional costs due to COVID-19, such as changes in staffing costs, downscaling and upscaling of animal colonies, freezer storage costs or other costs in line with direct research expenses allowable and described in our terms and conditions.  

We will not be in a position to offer additional funding to cover these costs.  

Will Kidney Research UK support budget virement on my grant? 

We will support budget virement on your grants. Please email your request and justification, stating the details of what budget lines and amounts require virement within your original award. We will be as accommodating as we can with requested virements to ensure your research can continue and complete its original or agreed revised objectives. 

What should I do if I’m not able to conduct my research at the moment? 

Please tell us if you are unable to conduct your research, if you have not already done so. We understand your research may be disrupted, may have completely paused and you may be thinking about revised research plans that may need to be considered or implemented.  

You can propose any appropriate, revised research plans and we’ll consider requests for no cost extensions (see below). You must have our agreement to make any changes to your project that affect what you agreed to deliver before you begin any new work. If you are now unable to deliver your project as planned you must let us know as soon as possible. 

What is Kidney Research UK’s position on the UK Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme? 

The government has announced a range of business continuity measures, including the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), which are intended to mitigate the economic impact of the pandemic. We are encouraging you and your institution to explore the options available to you. 

If your employer determines you or members of your team are eligible for the CJRS, we encourage you to take advantage of the scheme if you feel it is the right approach in managing your grant and if you are unable to work 

How can I delay my start date? 

You can write to us to request a delay to your start date. Providing we have no concerns from a scientific perspective, we are prepared to waive the condition in our award letter that stipulates you must activate the grant within 12 months of the award date.  

If, prior to COVID-19, you had already delayed your start date for several months and you now need a further delay we will also consider this, so please do contact us. 

When and how can I request a no cost extension? 

If you are a grant holder, Kidney Research UK will consider no cost extension requests - please email any request to grants@kidneyresearchuk.org. We understand that it might take some time for research activities to get back up to speed again after the disruption, so it may be longer than just the initial period of disruption. 

You can either request a no cost extension now or wait until your research has resumed and a clearer understanding of disruption is known, so that you are able to request an accurate no-cost extension time period. 

If you have not yet started your research, you can request a delay to your start date instead of a no cost extension.  

When and how can I make a request to suspend my award?
We’ll consider requests to suspend your grant if you want to pause spend from and activities on the grant. Please email us on grants@kidneyresearchuk.org with details and reasons for the proposed suspension dates to your grant. 

Can I apply for a costed extension?
We are unable to offer any costed extensions 

If you are now unable to complete the work within the allocated and remaining unspent budget you must let us know immediately 

How will Kidney Research UK take into account any period of inactivity on my grant?
We understand that any period of inactivity is disruptive. We'll take this into account when assessing research progress, we’ll be understanding about progress reports, outputs and career progression. We’ll work with you to understand the impact of any disruption, including what can be realistically delivered and achieved. 

We will also take this into account when assessing future grant applications. 

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