COVID-19: Information for Researchers

The health and well-being of all our supporters, staff and funded researchers is important to Cancer Research Wales. We are acutely aware of the problems that the national emergency and the essential restrictions as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic have placed on the day to day research activities, and the knock-on effect this will have on the timely delivery of currently funded projects. Working within our legal and regulatory frameworks please be reassured that Cancer Research Wales remains supportive of all our funded projects, but we will require more information from host institutions and grant holders to achieve this. Provided below is the current position:

  • The annual Cancer Research Wales grant call for projects and PhD studentships has been postponed. We don’t anticipate a new date will be made before September 2020.
  • We have written to each host institution in Wales in order to assess what first steps need to be undertaken to support research currently funded by Cancer Research Wales.
  • We will write to each P.I. to assess what needs to be done for each project.
  • No-cost extensions will be given for each grant up to an initial period of 9 months. Special consideration will be given to grants that may require longer than the initial period. In all cases, please ensure you contact Cancer Research Wales with the new dates that the no-cost extension will cover. This should include details of why a no-cost extension is needed.
    • Please return your revised timeframes for no-cost extensions to Dr Lee Campbell at Lee.Campbell@wales.nhs.uk no later than May 31st 2020.
  • The total expenditure of your grant should remain within the originally awarded budget. Where appropriate and possible we will consider requests to use underspends and virements within and between Cancer Research Wales budgets to support staff who will continue to work on the original project plan during closure of Universities or other associated institutions such as hospitals, patient groups, or primary care settings. Prior approval from Cancer Research Wales must first be agreed.
  • We will continue to support the salaries of staff or students employed on Cancer Research Wales supported grants who continue to work on reconfigured work-streams as set out in the agreed original application, such as data analysis and/or manuscript preparation. Where this is the case there is an expectation that the grant will be delivered within the agreed original budget and timeframe. Support for newly introduced work-streams outside of the agreed original grant application will not be considered.
  • The charity recognises that in some instances, laboratories and scientists engaged in our research projects will have an important role to play in the effort against the pandemic. We are supportive of any decision to redeploy clinical researchers to the NHS frontline when salary costs will be met by the NHS and non-clinical based scientists being deployed for specific COVID-19 studies where salary costs will be met by the host institution.
  • Where work is continued on projects as agreed in the original application, researchers will be asked to hold virtual monthly progress meetings with the research team at Cancer Research Wales, while laboratories are shut. Please understand our need to reassure our supporters, donors, volunteers, and our regulators, that our funding continues to deliver on our charitable objectives, which is to support the people of Wales affected by cancer through world-class research in the areas of prevention, early diagnosis and better treatments.
  • Where continuation of work is not possible, we will consider requests for a costed extension or supplementary funding on a case by case basis. However, we can offer no guarantee that additional funds will be issued.
  • Being the employer, research institutions are responsible for grant-funded researcher salaries during any research extension or suspension. Charities are working with host institutions to provide evidence to Government demonstrating the financial impact on research due to COVID-19 and ask support for 80% of salary costs for furloughed research employees. These will not be paid by Cancer Research Wales.
  • For all Cancer Research Wales funded projects we request grant holders to keep and provide records of changes, particularly for re-configuration of workstreams and timing of staff standing down and suspension of activity. When the project is reinstated and we kindly request a full update on project timeline with new cost profile at that stage.
  • We will continue to monitor the situation and work with host institutions and provide regular updates.