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 on 18 November 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.org 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.

There is a section in our application forms where applicants can describe the impact of the pandemic on their research. We will take this into account when reviewing applications.

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.org.

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 based in a low- or middle-income country and called away to work on the pandemic.

Sick leave

We will follow the policy of the employing organisation if any staff or students funded 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, NHS Track and Trace or 111 to self-isolate.

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

Costs we will supplement

In the initial stages of the pandemic, we provided 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

We have supplemented eligible grants based on the budget awarded for salary and stipend support. We contacted all grantholders who were eligible for this supplement in May 2020 to confirm the amount they will receive.

If your grant was due to end 1 March to 31 December 2020, we provided 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 was due to end in 2021, we provided 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.

For grants that are due to end in 2022 or later, we'll only consider salary or stipend supplements for grantholders, staff employed on their grant and students if:

  • they are unable to return to work because they, or a member of their household, has a health condition that means they are at high or moderate risk from COVID-19, and
  • they are unable to work from home.

If this is the case, contact your grants adviser to discuss your situation. 

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.

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:

  • transgenic animals
  • 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.

Extending a grant

All grants

We will consider an extension to your grant of up to 12 months due to disruption caused by the pandemic. This includes any Covid-related extension you may have already received.

What you need to do
You should discuss your grant balances with your research and finance offices before asking for an extension.

You should email us to agree the revised end date at least one month before your original end date. You should make it clear that your request is related to Covid-19. 

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.org 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

Grant extensions and supplementary funding

In the initial stage of the pandemic, we extended grants and provided supplementary funding to grantholders who were:

  • seconded for Covid-19 service delivery, and
  • had suspended their current research activity.

From 14 July 2020, we will only consider requests to do this if:

  • you work in a low- or middle-income country where the pandemic is escalating, and
  • you want to suspend your current research activity to take part in Covid-19 healthcare service delivery.

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

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.org if you want to do this.

Updates to this page

18 November 2020

Added the following to 'Salaries and stipends':

For grants that are due to end in 2022 or later, we will only consider salary or stipend supplements for grantholders, staff employed on their grant and students if:

  • they are unable to return to work because they, or a member of their household, has a health condition that means they are at high or moderate risk from COVID-19, and
  • they are unable to work from home.

Updated the ‘Extending a grant’ section as follows:

We will consider an extension to your grant of up to 12 months due to disruption caused by the pandemic. This includes any Covid-related extension you may have already received.

14 July 2020

Major updates to 'Support for those directly involved in delivery of the Covid-19 response' section.

Added 'if you're based in a low- or middle-income country' to 'Supplementary grant funding' section.

7 July 2020

Added 'by 13 July 2020' to the 'Support for those directly involved in delivery of the Covid-19 response - What you need to do' section.

This section was removed from the page on 14 July.

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.org 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.

These sections were removed from the page on 14 July.

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.