COVID-19: Rapid Response Research Opportunities

Written by Ruth, Updated 10 November, 2020

Covid-19 Nurse

Researchers from across the world are currently coming together to help in the fight against novel Coronavirus, and to increase the resilience of countries and health systems in tackling the on-going pandemic.

New health, social, environmental and economic problems mean new research opportunities. In this article we highlight some of these research opportunities that can be funded through UK-based funding bodies.

Ministry of Defence Open call for innovation – covid-19 fast track

This Open Call is looking for innovative ideas to improve the defence and security of the UK. Ideas could be a concept, technology, or service. There are two categories of proposal: Emerging Innovations and Rapid Impact. The former, Emerging Innovations, includes proposals at Technology Ready Level (TRL) 3 or 4. No funding limit is specified. However, funding would typically be between £50K - £100K, with the project lasting 3-10 months. The latter, Rapid Impact Innovations, would be expected to be at TRL level 6 or 7. Typical funding would be between £100K - £350K, and projects should have a realistic prospect of achieving impact within 3 years.

Although this is an Open Call, periodic deadlines for fast track applications have been imposed. The next deadlines are 03/12/2020, 28/01/2021 and 31/03/2021.

The competition assessment process comprises 10 steps.

To apply you must register and submit your proposal via the DASA Enterprise Collaboration Service.


Proposals are invited for projects of up to 18 months to address the health, social, economic and environmental impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak. Proposals must meet at least one of the following criteria:

There is no closing date for this call therefore you can apply at any time. There is also no specific budget – research of any scale may be funded if it can deliver demonstrable impact within 12-18 months, and 80% of costs will be funded.

UKRI has a dedicated Coronavirus Hub detailing their current responses to Coronavirus, including information concerning available grants and awards. You can also apply to switch your existing funding to Covid-19 priority areas.


COVID-19 Urgent Public Health Research is being prioritised to gather the necessary clinical and epidemiological evidence that will inform national policy and enable new diagnostic tests, treatments and vaccines to be developed and tested for COVID-19.

The Government has established a single point of entry for applications – all proposals must be submitted via a single online application form to avoid the duplication of ideas, and to allow prioritisation of the COVID-19 studies which hold the most potential for tackling the virus.


Time is of the essence: millions of pounds worth of funding has already been awarded to projects across the UK and EU . We will keep you updated on new funding opportunities as they emerge, or possibly re-open.

If you would like to respond to these or any other Covid-19 Rapid Response calls, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us at and we will help you to craft a strong and persuasive funding bid.