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

This page has information for anyone applying for one of our research grants, or who holds a Wellcome grant.

This page was updated 29 June 2020. We'll continue to review our policies and will update this page when we have new information.

Our approach

We want to support researchers and those employed on our grants through this challenging period.

As an independent charity, we’re able to redeploy our resources and make temporary changes to our policies on supplements and extensions, to manage the impact of the pandemic.

We recognise that other funders – particularly fundraising charities – may not be able to offer a similar level of emergency support to their grantholders.

Applying for a Wellcome grant

New grant applications

We aim to continue to deliver our funding schemes during the pandemic, but we may have to make changes as the situation develops. We will publish any changes to application, shortlisting, interview and decision dates on the affected scheme web pages.

If your organisation is closed and unable to approve and submit an application, we can do this on their behalf. But we will need agreement from your organisation to do this. Your organisation should email gtsupport@wellcome.ac.uk to confirm their agreement.

Our advisory committee meetings will take place remotely and we may need to change the review process. If this affects your application, we will let you know.

Funding for COVID-19 related research

Our targeted funding call for COVID-19 related research is now closed. For any COVID-19 related research enquiries, email epidemics@wellcome.ac.uk.

 

Supplementary grant funding

These are the costs we’ll pay if your grant is affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.

See support for those directly involved in delivery of the COVID-19 response for information on the costs we’ll cover if you’re called away to work on the pandemic.

Sick leave

We will follow the policy of the employing organisation if any staff employed on a Wellcome grant has:

  • COVID-19
  • COVID-19 symptoms
  • someone in their household with (or the symptoms of) COVID-19
  • been told by a doctor or 111 to self-isolate.

​We will supplement your grant for the costs the employing organisation incurs paying their salary while they're away, less any recoverable statutory pay. See our sick leave policy for more information.

Costs we will supplement

We will provide supplementary funding depending on the type of grant you hold. Check our list of schemes [XLSX 171KB].

Separate arrangements apply if:

We will pay the following costs if your grant is eligible for supplementary funding.

Salaries and stipends

If your grant is due to end 1 March to 31 December 2020, we will provide an additional six month's funding to pay for:

  • your salary if you're the lead applicant and you currently receive a salary from Wellcome
  • salaries of staff employed on your grant
  • stipends for PhD studentships.

If your grant is due to end in 2021, we will provide an additional three month's funding to pay for:

  • your salary if you're the lead applicant and you currently receive a salary from Wellcome
  • salaries of staff employed on your grant
  • stipends for PhD studentships.

If your grant is due to end in 2022 or later, we expect you to manage your existing funds to lessen the impact of the pandemic disruption. For example, you could:

  • adjust your research programme
  • use your grant funds flexibly (read our policy on transferring costs between budget headings)
  • ask for help from your organisation
  • use the government support available, including the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (in the UK), if your employer determines that this is appropriate.

We accept that you may not be able to achieve all the aims of your original grant.

We will only consider requests for supplementary grant funding and no-cost extensions in exceptional circumstances. You will need to provide a strong justification.

What you need to do
You don't need to do anything. If your grant finishes in 2020 or 2021 and is eligible for a COVID-19 salary and stipend supplement, we will calculate the value of the supplement based on the budget awarded for salary and stipend support. We have contacted all grantholders who are eligible for this supplement to confirm the amount they will receive.

Animals

If your grant finishes in 2020 or 2021, we will consider requests to cover the costs of animal models that need to be replaced due to the pandemic.

For example:

  • rederivation of transgenic lines
  • long-term disease models.

We won't consider requests to pay for animals that are only needed for colony maintenance, unless your grant involves:

  • non-human primates
  • cats
  • dogs
  • equidae.

What you need to do
Contact us once the disruption has passed and the impact the pandemic has had on your animal costs is clear.

Clinical trials

We will consider requests for additional research costs for clinical trials that are affected during the period of disruption.

What you need to do
Contact us once the disruption has passed and the impact the pandemic has had on your clinical trial costs is clear.

Costs we won't supplement

We won't supplement for:

  • materials and consumables
  • additional equipment
  • travel
  • overheads
  • access charges.

Grants funded with other organisations

We are discussing how to manage these grants with our partner funders and the organisations that administer these awards. We will update this page as soon as information is available.

Extending a grant

No-cost extensions for grants that are due to end in 2020 or 2021

We will extend all grants by up to six months, to allow for any disruption caused by the pandemic.

We will consider longer extensions, but only if your grant includes:

  • clinical trials
  • fieldwork
  • critical animal studies such as:
    • rederivation of transgenic lines
    • long-term disease models.

We won't provide further extensions for the wind-up or wind-down of animal colonies during the period of disruption, unless your grant involves:

  • non-human primates
  • cats
  • dogs
  • equidae.

What you need to do

If your grant is eligible for a COVID-19 salary and stipend supplement, we will automatically extend your grant when we award your supplement.

If you're not eligible for this supplement, contact us to ask for an extension.

No-cost extensions for grants that are due to end 1 January 2022 onwards

We expect grantholders to be flexible in how they manage their programmes of work, to minimise the impact of the disruption. We will only consider requests for extensions where there has been significant disruption to your research that you cannot otherwise manage.

What you need to do

You should follow our normal no-cost extension policy and process.

Extensions to PhD submission deadlines

If your studentship is due to end in 2020, you can extend your submission deadline by up to six months.

If your studentship is due to end in 2021, you can extend your submission deadline by up to three months.

What you need to do

You don't need to ask us to confirm your extension. You must discuss it with your Programme Director.

Managing a grant

Starting your grant

Our usual policy is that you must start your grant within 12 months of the start date set out in your award letter. If you've reached this 12 month limit and you're still unable to start your grant due to the COVID-19 pandemic, you can defer your start date by a further six months. You must contact your grants adviser or email grantenquiries@wellcome.ac.uk if you want to do this.

Costs for salaries and stipends on all Wellcome grants

All grantholders must continue to pay the salaries and stipends of all Wellcome PhD studentships, fellows and staff employed on their grants.

We cannot provide advice on whether an employer can furlough their staff as this is a government scheme. If your employer determines that you can make use of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), we encourage you to do so. If staff salaried on our grants are furloughed, they must be paid a full salary. Grant funds can be used to cover any shortfall in payments through the CJRS.

If we give you a COVID-19 salary or stipend supplement and you also receive funds from the CJRS to support salaries during the disruption, you must deduct the CJRS amount when submitting your Final Expenditure Report. You will not be permitted to extend your grant further by using both sources of funding, and unspent funds will be written back to Wellcome.

If you do not receive a COVID-19 salary or stipend supplement from Wellcome, you can use the following to enable an extension:

  • any funds received to support the grant from the CJRS, and
  • the remaining funds on your grant.

To do this, you can use our usual policy on transferring costs between budget headings.

See supplementary grant funding above for information on the COVID-19 salary and stipend costs we will provide.

Costs paid for cancelled travel or event

If these costs cannot be reimbursed or claimed for under insurance, you can claim these against your grant. We will not supplement grants for these costs.

Costs to help people work from home

We will not pay for office furniture costs. We expect these to be covered by your employing organisation.

We will not provide additional funding for laptops or video conferencing activity, but you can use your existing grant funds to cover these costs. if you want to do this, our usual policy on transferring costs between budget headings applies.

Transferring grant funds between budget headings

Our usual policy on transferring costs between budget headings applies if you want to move grant money between budget headings to help manage your grant during the pandemic.

Small-scale transfers can be done without our permission. But you must discuss significant transfers with us first. Read more about when you need to contact us.

Support for those directly involved in delivery of the COVID-19 response

Registered health professionals

We may extend your grant and provide supplementary funding if you're seconded for COVID-19 clinical service delivery and you've suspended your current research activity.

We will do this if you:

  • hold an honorary or substantive contract with a clinical service provider such as the NHS
  • provide direct support for COVID-19 clinical service delivery, such as front line care, public health and laboratory diagnostics.

The expectation is that you're seconded on a full-time basis for one month or more, and will return to the post for which you hold an honorary contract.

Others

We may extend your grant and provide supplementary funding if you are not a registered health professional, but you're directly involved in COVID-19 service delivery and you've suspended your current research activity.

We will do this if you are a researcher and your work is directly informing COVID-19 clinical provision. This may include, for example, those working on sequencing, testing, policy or ethics.

You must be able to demonstrate a direct and substantial line to policy or clinical service provision, for example via a national or international public health body.

The expectation is that you're working full-time on COVID-19 service delivery for one month or more.

Costs we will supplement

We will pay the following costs if you're seconded for COVID-19 service delivery for one month or more:

  • Grantholder – we will supplement for the running costs and salaries of anyone employed on your grant for the period you're called away.
  • Wellcome fellow working in the UK and Republic of Ireland – we expect the NHS/HSE to pay for your salary during your secondment. Contact us if you experience any difficulties.
  • Wellcome fellow working in a low- or middle-income country – we will supplement for salary costs for the period of your secondment, if it’s not provided from elsewhere.

We will also extend your grant for the period of time you're away.

What you need to do

Contact us to let us know that you intend to go on secondment.

We will ask you to provide a detailed breakdown of the costs incurred when you return to your research.

Changing the activity of your grant to focus on COVID-19 research

We 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, we will not provide additional funds for this purpose.

You must email grantenquiries@wellcome.ac.uk if you want to do this.

 

Updates to this page

29 June 2020

Added the following to the 'Managing your grant' section:

Starting your grant

Our usual policy is that you must start your grant within 12 months of the start date set out in your award letter. If you've reached this 12 month limit and you're still unable to start your grant due to the COVID-19 pandemic, you can defer your start date by a further six months. You must contact your grants adviser or email grantenquiries@wellcome.ac.uk if you want to do this.

15 June 2020

Added the following sentences:

8 June 2020

Added the following sentences to the 'Supplementary grant funding - Salaries and stipends' section:

  • 'We accept that you may not be able to achieve all the aims of your original grant'
  • 'We will only consider requests for supplementary funding in exceptional circumstances. You will need to provide a strong justification.'

Added additional guidance to the 'If your grant is due to end in 2022 or later' section.

1 June 2020

Updates to the 'Support for those directly involved in delivery of the COVID-19 response' section:

  • Added '...seconded on a full-time basis for one month or more' to the Registered health professionals section.
  • Added 'The expectation is that you're working full-time on COVID-19 service delivery for one month or more' to the Others section.
  • Removed 'or member of staff employed on a grant' from the Costs we will supplement section.

18 May 2020

Added 'We have contacted all grantholders who are eligible for this supplement to confirm the amount they will receive' to the Supplementary grant funding - salaries and stipends - what you need to do section.

15 May 2020

Added guidance on how to ask for an extension to the Extending a grant - No-cost extensions for grants that are due to end in 2020 or 2021 - 'What you need to do' section.

1 May 2020

Added information relating to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to the Managing a grant - costs for salaries and stipends on all Wellcome grants section.

23 April 2020

Added:

9 April 2020

Added more information about applying for funding, how to extend a grant, the costs we'll provide, and support for those directly involved in the COVID-19 response.

12 March 2020

First published.

 

Contact us

We fund scientists and researchers - we do not provide support for individuals or businesses. Please only contact us if you’re a research officer, a research funding applicant or a current Wellcome grantholder.