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 15 November 2022. We'll continue to review our policies and will update this page when we have new information.

Our approach 

We supported researchers and those employed on our grants through the most challenging period of the pandemic.

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

Covid-19 caused sudden and unexpected disruption. By November 2022 this was more predictable and manageable and additional support will not be provided for disruption after 31 October 2022.

Applying for a Wellcome grant 

New grant applications

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. 

Supplementary grant funding 

These are the costs we’ll pay if your grant was affected by the Covid-19 outbreak before 1 November 2022.

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

​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 to grants which were:

Separate arrangements applied if:

Below are the details of what we paid on grants that were eligible for supplementary funding. 

Salaries and stipends

We supplemented eligible grants based on the budget awarded for salary and stipend support. In May 2020, we contacted all grantholders who were eligible for these supplements, to confirm the amount they would receive.

Stipend support – February 2021

In February 2021, we agreed to provide an additional three months’ stipend for PhD students funded by Wellcome if their award ended in 2021 or 2022. This applied to people with Wellcome studentships and people with studentships employed on:​​​​​

  • Collaborative Awards in Humanities and Social Sciences
  • Investigator Awards in Humanities and Social Sciences
  • Research Fellowships in Humanities and Social Sciences
  • International Training Fellowships.

We contacted all eligible grantholders and programme directors about this supplement on 4 February 2021.

For other 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
  • they are unable to work from home
  • the absence occurred before 1 November 2022.

If this is the case, contact your funding manager to discuss your situation.

We expect you to manage your existing funds to lessen the impact of the pandemic disruption. For example, you could:

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

Animals

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

Clinical trials

We considered requests for additional research costs for clinical trials that were affected by the pandemic. We no longer consider requests for this support. 

If your trial involves the NHS, you and your sponsor should comply with the NIHR Reset programme. 

Costs we won't supplement

We won't supplement for:

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

Extending a grant 

For grants that end 2022-2024

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, and is in addition to our normal no-cost extension policy.

What you need to do

You should:

  • discuss your grant balances with your research and finance offices before asking us for an extension
  • contact your funding manager or email grantenquiries@wellcome.org to agree the revised end date.

You must do this at least one month before your original grant end date. Please make it clear in your email that your request is related to Covid-19.

Extensions to PhD submission deadlines

If your studentship is due to end in 2022, 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 or PhD supervisor.

Managing a grant 

Starting your grant

During the early stages of the pandemic, we allowed people unable to start their grants within our usual 12-month limit an additional six months to do so. We reverted to our usual 12-month rule for grants awarded on or after 1 November 2022. 

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

If we gave 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 did 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 work travel or event

If these costs cannot be reimbursed or claimed for under insurance, you can claim these from 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.

Mandatory Covid-19-related travel costs

You can use your funds to pay these costs for you and any staff employed on your grant. Examples include hotel quarantine charges and testing. Your funds can also be used to pay these costs if you need to move to another country to take up your Wellcome award or a post on a Wellcome grant.

You can move grant funds between budget headings to cover these costs – we will not supplement grants.

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 

In response to the second and third waves of the pandemic in the UK, we extended grants and provided supplementary funding for grantholders who:

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

We no longer consider requests for this support.

Updates to this page 

15 November 2022

'Our approach’ section – additional support will not be provided for disruption after 31 October 2022.

‘New grant applications’ section – slimmed down information as we no longer expect large-scale disruption.

‘Supplementary funding’ section - sick leave – removed being told to self-isolate as a reason we would consider a sick leave supplement, reflecting changes to UK rules where self-isolating is no longer a legal requirement.

‘Salaries and stipends' section – removed details of support for grants that ended in 2020 and 2021. For grants ending 2022 or later, added that the absence must have occurred before 1 November 2022 to the criteria for when we will still consider a salary/stipend supplement. Removed reference to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

‘Animals’ section – removed details of how to apply as support only applied to grants ending in 2020 and 2021.

‘Clinical trials’ section – added details of the NIHR Restart Programme for trials involving the NHS. Stated that we no longer consider requests for clinical trials disrupted by Covid-19. 

‘Extending a grant’ section – limited the 12-month Covid-19 related NCE to grants ending 2022, 2023 and 2024.

‘Managing a grant’ section - starting a grant – for grants awarded 1 November or later, our usual policy of allowing 12 months to start the grant from the date of the award letter will apply.

4 March 2022

'Support for those directly involved in the delivery of the Covid-19 response' section – removed guidance on how to request a supplement for the third wave of the pandemic in the UK.

21 December 2021

'Support for those directly involved in the delivery of the Covid-19 response' section – added guidance on how to request a supplement for the third wave of the pandemic in the UK.

20 July 2021

'Support for those directly involved in the delivery of the Covid-19 response' section – removed guidance on how to request a supplement for the second wave of the pandemic in the UK.

17 June 2021

Added new 'Mandatory Covid-19-related travel costs' guidance.

4 February 2021

Added a new 'Stipend support - February 2021' section.

'Animals' section – added the following sentence:

'We will only consider requests to cover disruption for a maximum period of 12 months.'

'Clinical trials' section – added the following text:

'Contact your funding manager if:

  • your trial is due to finish on or before 31 October 2021, or
  • you are considering design changes due to the impact of the pandemic on your clinical trial.

Otherwise, contact us once the impact of the pandemic on your clinical trial costs is clear.

'Extensions to PhD submission deadlines' section – updated as follows:

'If your studentship is due to end in 2021, we previously allowed you to extend your submission deadline by up to three months. You can now extend this by a further three months, giving you up to six months in total. If your studentship is due to end in 2022, you can extend your submission deadline by up to three months.'

'Support for those directly involved in the delivery of the Covid-19 response' section – updated with guidance on clinical secondments during the second wave of the pandemic.

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 funding manager 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.

Covid-19: supporting global research and development

Find out how we're supporting research and development, and working to make sure that any new vaccines, treatments and diagnostics are mass-produced quickly and reach everyone who needs them.

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.

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