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Walport’s letter to sector: ‘UKRI will streamline applications’

Image: Foreign and Commonwealth Office [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Funder’s portal now includes guidance for grantees who wish to ‘repurpose their funds for Covid-19’

The UK’s largest public funder of research has launched a web portal for streamlined grant applications during the coronavirus pandemic.

In an open letter to the research and innovation community dated 30 March, UK Research and Innovation chief executive Mark Walport said the sector was facing “great uncertainty as we adapt to the new challenges caused by Covid-19”.

“Most researchers and innovators are now having to deal with very difficult circumstances, whether they are a researcher just setting out on their career, a lab technician critical to delivering research, or the founder of a small business exploring bold new innovations,” he said.

“Almost everyone in research and innovation is either facing major interruptions to their work or a major transition to work on the Covid-19 pandemic.”

In addition to calls for research proposals to help fight the pandemic, Walport announced the launch of a web portal for streamlined shorter grant and innovation applications, including guidance for researchers currently holding UKRI standard grants that wish to “repurpose their funds for Covid-19”.

He added that the innovation agency Innovate UK was “working closely” with the manufacturing industry to boost the production of ventilators and increase vaccine-manufacturing infrastructure.

“We are talking to and working with the universities, research organisations, and businesses we support to identify and prioritise issues, and to help find solutions.”