Support for our researchers during COVID-19

In today’s blog, Lorna Thomson, Director of Edinburgh Research Office, explains how we are continuing to support the research community during the ongoing COVID-19 situation.

It’s been an intense and fast-moving couple of weeks. As we all find our feet with new working arrangements and routines, I would like to reiterate our support to you, which remains while we all work remotely and will adapt to meet new challenges.

We have published guidance and advice on COVID-19 and research including (University staff only):
• Support for researchers (which you will also find below)
• Funder guidance and advice
• Highlighted funding calls
• Links to funder websites and Twitter feeds
• FAQs

Please follow @growingyouridea where will tweet when we add content.

For now, here is a round-up of our service provision.

Research funding applications and grant management

We continue to support research funding applications and grant management.

Proposal submissions: No change. All bids continue to be submitted. Funders may review deadlines and we will inform you if they do.

Acceptance of awards: No change. Award acceptance will continue to be managed remotely.

Project coding: No change. Awards will be coded via the usual processes.

Managing projects, claims, and audits: Active research projects are likely to incur delays in delivery and expenditure during this period. Requests to funders for extensions will be made where appropriate. Funders are currently producing guidance to support this, and we will work closely with Schools and PIs to ensure early action. If you are intending to make any changes to projects that have previously received ethical approval, you are advised to seek guidance from your research ethics committee before implementing any changes.

Contracts and Export Control: No change. The Research Contracts, Governance and Integrity team continue to provide advice and support in respect of all contract research related matters together with issues relating to research governance and integrity. While the team will endeavour to respond in a timely manner to all requests for support, we will be required to give priority to contracts relating to Covid-19 research projects. We have introduced an electronic signing process to ensure all contracts, funding awards etc are signed expeditiously. However, conclusion of some contracts will be subject to our partners and third parties being able to arrange for signing in a similar way. Meantime, please continue to send all initial enquiries to ERO.Contracts@ed.ac.uk and/or the allocated team member for any queries relating to ongoing contractual matters. For Export Control queries, please continue to e-mail exportcontrol@ed.ac.uk.

Clinical research: No change. Protocols will be reviewed, and guidance and support will be provided through the usual processes. Clinical studies may incur delays as with all projects and we will work closely with PIs to manage the risk.

Remote working considerations: We appreciate your understanding as we all settle into new routines. Many of us are having to work flexibly; therefore you may not receive a response within the usual timeframe. There are also issues with IT access, especially with eFIN, which we understand that IS are working on to solve. Please also note that we are prioritising essential research, and this will be with a focus on efforts in the diagnostics and understanding of COVID-19.

Events for researchers

We will deliver events online where possible. These will be advertised in the usual way on our website and via @growingyouridea – follow us for latest info about our events.

Research funding bulletins

We will continue to email research funding bulletins to local Research Offices for cascade.

Knowledge exchange and impact advice and funding

The KE and Impact team continue to provide advice and guidance. View our webpages or contact us on ke.office@ed.ac.uk.

The upcoming calls for the ESRC IAA impact grant and the CAHSS KE and impact grant have been refocused. Proposals will be considered if they are directly related to COVID-19 OR, if not related to COVID-19, can be done without face to face interaction and need to be done within the next few months. Details (EASE login required).

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