COVID-19: Rapid Response Research Opportunities
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.
Policy research programme – recovery, renewal, reset: Research to inform policy responses to COVID-19 in the health and social care systems
NIHR invite applications for research to inform the medium- to longer-term health and social care policy response to the challenges posed by Covid-19.
Topics that have been highlighted as a priority for the September round within the Research Specification:
- Obesity: NIHR welcomes research into the independent risk that being overweight or obese conveys for a range of adverse outcomes, including longer-term Covid-19 consequences; and what can be done to reduce morbidity and mortality in this group of people, for example interventions which reduce risk through weight loss programmes or other policy initiatives. NIHR are particularly interested in the intersection between obesity, health inequalities, groups living with deprivation, and those from Black Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds.
- Ethnicity: There is an imperative to develop the evidence base in relation to these questions for Black, Asian and minority ethnic groups also living with deprivation. Policymakers are particularly interested in research evidence on the causes of disparities in health outcomes for Black, Asian and minority ethnic groups in relation to the impact of Covid-19. Research should focus on what works to combat the spread of the virus, improve outcomes and reduce risk, as well as how interventions should be adapted to meet different cultural needs, as appropriate.
- Disability: NIHR welcome proposals that aim to better understand the impact of Covid-19 itself and policies to mitigate poor outcomes for disabled people. We are also interested in what works, including digital innovations, to support disabled people. We require evidence to inform policies for system recovery and to inform policies in the case of future waves of Covid-19, including how future policies can be implemented in an accessible manner.
- Social Work: Proposals are invited which will identify what has worked, what lessons can be learned, and how these might be disseminated or what future training might be required to support the dissemination and implementation of learning in social work practice.
- Antimicrobial Resistance: Research is needed to help us learn from the pandemic to build organisational and structural resilience in respect of antimicrobial resistance (AMR), particularly including infection prevention and control practices, the prevention of HAIs and antimicrobial stewardship.
These highlighted priority topics may be updated between rounds.
Grant range: Funding will be allocated flexibly across projects on the above topics. Large projects exceeding £500,000 are not expected to be funded. High-cost or high-risk projects will be subject to additional peer review. Most projects are expected to be costed at around £50,000 and will be suitable for fast-tracking.
Duration: Projects that will complete or produce early outputs during 2020 will be favoured. Projects are expected to last more than 24 months.
Stage One applications must be submitted via an online form, available within the Central Commissioning Facility of NIHR. Following expert review, successful applicants will be invited to submit a full Stage Two application.
There are three initial commissioning rounds for this call:
13:00 BST 10 September 2020
13:00 BST 22 October
Building on the UKRI previous call for research on Covid-19 and ethnicity, UKRI is issuing a new call for proposals in this area to tackle the gaps in the research landscape. As the pandemic has progressed, it has become clear that minority ethnic groups have been among the most vulnerable - both to the disease itself and to other harmful social and economic consequences stemming from the pandemic and its impacts.
UKRI welcomes proposals for research that explores the causes and dynamics of these vulnerabilities and impacts, and their ethical and broader socio-economic and cultural dimensions. Research is urgently required to build understanding of measures that might help mitigate poor outcomes. This is particularly important as the UK eases Covid-related restrictions and in the event of any resurgence of the disease nationally or in local “hotspots”
UKRI has funded several projects focusing on minority ethnic groups and COVID-19. This call aims to fund research in areas that have not been covered sufficiently to date.
Topics within scope related to the experiences of minority ethnic groups:
- Housing and employment circumstances
- Welfare benefits and support
- Children and young people
- Trust of minority ethnic groups in institutions and authority figures
- Community mobilisation and resilience
- Shift of NHS resources and attention away from chronic conditions
- Care homes
Topics out of scope:
- Highly applied healthcare focused proposals
- Proposals focused on a specific geographic locale unless an extrapolation framework is clear
- Proposals with an exclusively international focus non-applicable to the UK context
- Proposals framed in terms of intersectionality – the primary focus for applications under this highlight must be ethnic minorities
- Proposals submitted previously to either the UKRI rapid response call or UKRI/DHSC rolling call unless significantly revised and/or incorporated in new ways into other proposals.
Grant range: UKRI’s ambition is to fund one or two consortia in this area, with a combined value of up to £5 million.
Duration: Proposals must define the project’s deliverables and outputs at 3, 6, 12, and 18-month milestones.
Deadline: Midnight on 18 September 2020.
Application process: Applicants should apply through Je-S and use the phrase ‘COVID BAME highlight’ at the beginning of the grant title. Guidance is available on the UKRI website - UKRI’s Agile Research and Innovation Response to COVID-19.
Art Fund are offering Respond and Reimagine grants to help museums, galleries and cultural organisations respond to immediate challenges connected to the Covid-19 crisis and offer support to adapt and reimagine ways of working for the longer-term future.
This programme has been developed in response to a sector consultation which identified priority areas for support, as follows: Audiences, Collections, Digital and Workforce.
Applications are welcomed from UK public museums, galleries, historic houses, libraries and archives that ordinarily have spaces for the public to visit and experience the visual arts or other object-based collections. Organisations applying for the fund must demonstrate that they operate to best practice standards or have a good track record in delivering high quality public activity.
These grants are designed to provide practical support, for example in terms of costs connected to re-opening, such as staffing, equipment or training, or planning for future activities.
Grant range: £10,000 to £50,000. 100% funding available.
Deadline: 17:30 BST 12 October 2020.
To apply, first email The email@example.com detailing how much you plan to apply for and which funding round you plan to apply to. You may then submit your application via the My Art Fund online portal.
Heart Research UK is offering a Covid-19 specific research grant to support research into the links between Covid-19 and heart disease.
There is a pressing need to improve our understanding of the links between Covid-19 and the cardiovascular system, including how Covid-19 infection influences heart disease and whether it changes the ways in which we treat patients. We know that people with existing cardiovascular disease have a higher risk of severe complications from Covid-19 infection, and evidence is emerging that the virus can cause damage to the heart.
Heart Research UK will consider a range of research areas from biomedicine to public health studies. However, the applications must demonstrate the potential benefits of the research to patient health and pathways to clinical impact.
Examples of eligible topics:
- Mechanisms of vascular dysfunction in Covid-19 including endothelial dysfunction and thrombosis
- Cardiopulmonary imaging of Covid-19 patients to assess the longer-term effects on the heart and lungs
- Genetic and environmental influences on SARS-CoV-2 virus and ACE2 receptors
- Cardiovascular disease in the presence of diabetes during Covid-19 – impact on progression, management and outcomes
- Mechanisms underpinning the ability of the SARS-CoV-2 virus to infect and/or damage cardiovascular cells
- The impact of COVID-19 on national cardiovascular care delivery and outcomes
All grant applications are assessed by carefully selected external peer-reviewers, in addition to the Heart Research UK Medical Review Panel.
Grant range: Maximum of £250,000 with equipment costs of up to £10,000.
If the project does not commence within 12 months of the grant award date, Heart Research UK may withdraw the funding.
To apply, complete the application form and supporting documentation for submission via email to firstname.lastname@example.org .
Deadline: 13:00 BST 12th October 2020.
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 01/10/2020, 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:
- New research or innovation with a clear impact pathway that has the potential (within the period of the award) to deliver a significant contribution to the understanding of, and response to, the COVID-19 pandemic and its impacts.
- Supports the manufacture and/or wide scale adoption of an intervention with significant potential.
- Gathers critical data and resources quickly for future research use.
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.
Funded as a part of the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF), the Urgency Grants Pilot is an open, responsive mechanism through which arts and humanities researchers can respond to unanticipated urgent research needs. The call is now open to applications addressing the Covid-19 pandemic and associated international development challenges and impacts.
The primary focus of this scheme is to provide an accelerated route for funding projects where there is a time-limited window of opportunity to conduct research or deliver project impact/outputs. Applications must demonstrate how the project meets the urgency requirements of the scheme.
The closing date for expressions of interest is 31/10/2020. Projects will receive up to £150,000 of the full economic cost (fEC), and projects should be up to 12 months in duration.
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 email@example.com and we will help you to craft a strong and persuasive funding bid.