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UKRI to cover additional costs of coronavirus-impacted research

The funder says it is taking ‘a very pragmatic approach’ to the epidemic

The UK’s largest public funder of research has promised to cover small additional costs for projects affected by coronavirus, as cases continue to rise.

In a statement published on 10 March, UK Research and Innovation said it was taking a “very pragmatic approach” to the Covid-19 epidemic and was working to understand the nature of any impacts on funded projects “to ensure the appropriate support or advice is in place via our councils and grants teams”.

“For instance, where travel is impacted, if researchers or students cannot travel due to government/official advice, or it poses a risk to the individual (due to an underlying medical condition etc), this can be charged to the grant in line with any other cost,” it said. “If that cost cannot be absorbed by any overall underspend on the grant then UKRI will cover that small addition.”

However, the funder said: “In the same circumstances, no cost extension requests to grants would be allowed.”

The funder added that it was “aware of the ongoing situation regarding coronavirus has significantly impacted the research and innovation community and the nature of these impacts may evolve and increase over the coming weeks and months”.

“Our priority is the safety and well-being of people, both in the support we provide our own staff and in ensuring our investment support allows HEIs and businesses to prioritise the well-being of their teams.”

As of 11.30am on 10 March, 382 people in the UK tested positive for the virus, including health minister Nadine Dorries, and eight have died. At least 26,261 have been tested.