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Coronavirus (Covid-19): FAQ for Royal Society award holders

This page was last updated Tuesday 24 March 2020.

This page will be regularly updated as we assess the potential impacts of the evolving global health situation. Please ensure you regularly check this page for updates as we make further updates to our advice and guidance. 

For clarification on the below FAQ or any further questions, please contact the appropriate team who manage your grant or fellowship. For general queries, please contact grants@royalsociety.org or +44 (0)20 7451 2666.

My fellowship or grant

What is the Royal Society's position on delays to research caused by the novel coronavirus pandemic?

The Royal Society will provide no-cost extensions for any award holder whose research is delayed due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Will the Royal Society continue to make scheduled payments on my fellowship or grant if my host organisation closes or moves to home working?

The Royal Society will continue paying all fellowships and grants in line with currently agreed payment schedules. The Society expects all salaries and stipends supported through the grant to be passed on accordingly. This will be reviewed as understanding of the current situation evolves.

I have been recruited to support the coronavirus response; how will this affect my fellowship or grant?

If an award holder is recruited to support the coronavirus response, the Royal Society may provide additional funding to extend their fellowship appropriately. Such requests should be made in advanced by submitting a change request on Flexi-Grant and will be considered on a case by case basis.

I am due to start my fellowship shortly, however because my host organisation is closed or moving to home working, am I still able to start my fellowship? Will the Society commence payments on the award?

If you are already employed by your host organisation, the Society will commence your award on the start date indicated in your grant letter and will make payments against the agreed payment schedule.

If you are not yet employed by your host organisation, you will require a contract of employment with your host organisation before the grant or fellowship can be started.

If you are a visiting academic (e.g. Newton International Fellow), we will ask your Head of Department to confirm in writing that they are content for the award to be commenced.

 

Funded extensions to fellowships and grants

If my fellowship is delayed by several months and I am unable to access facilities in my host organisation to conduct research, will the Society extend my fellowship and other associated staff costs at the end to account for this loss of time?

We acknowledge that such delays may create some difficulties in completing research as originally envisaged. We are currently reviewing the situation and are considering what the financial implications of extending fellowships and associated staff costs may be.

We will provide an updated response to this question in due course.

I have incurred costs on the research expenses of my grant or fellowship (non-staffing costs) which will now be lost as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. I am therefore no longer able to complete my research as originally envisaged, can the Society help with this?

Where your research may now not be completed in line with original plans due to financial losses in your research expenses (non-staffing lines) associated with the coronavirus pandemic, the Society will consider requests for small supplements to research expenses to cover the losses encountered. Requests will need to be justified and will be considered on a case by case basis.

 

Sick leave and caring leave policy

What is the Royal Society's position on those who become unwell with Covid-19 or need to self-isolate?

In the event that award holders become unwell or need to self-isolate, the Society will follow the policy of the host and/or employing organisation, in line with our policy on leave. Any PhD students funded on a grant who become unwell or need to self-isolate will also be supported through the same policies.

What is the Society's position if I am unable to work as normal as a result of my children's school closing?

We would expect all Royal Society funded researchers to be treated in the same way as other employees of their host organisation. You should therefore follow your host organisation's policy. No additional funding will be provided.

 

Research expenses

I am not able to use travel costs as originally budgeted, can I use these costs for other research expenses?

Yes, any travel or event costs that can no longer be used for their original purpose can be used for other research expenses. You do not need our consent to make this change.

Where costs have been incurred for travel and/or events but these have subsequently been cancelled, can I still claim these costs against the award?

Where grant-related travel and events are cancelled and the costs are non-refundable or cannot be claimed on insurance, associated costs may be claimed as eligible against the award.

If research is suspended because organisations are closed, can any expenditure be incurred?

The Society will continue paying all fellowships and grants in line with current agreed schedules. We expect salaries and stipends (including for PhD students) to be passed on accordingly. This will be reviewed as understanding of the current situation evolves.

Other expenditure may be incurred against the research expenses of your grant subject to the usual host organisation approval process.

 

Staff and students supported through grants

What will happen to PhD students if the coronavirus pandemic results in insufficient time to complete their work?

We recognise that students may find themselves unable to complete experiments in order to be ready to submit their thesis, due to departmental or institution closures. Students should be permitted additional time where necessary to compensate for time lost.

If my research is suspended because my group cannot access laboratories, how will this affect PDRAs or other staff who are supported through fellowships or grants?

The Society will continue paying all fellowships and grants in line with current agreed schedules. We expect salaries and stipends to be passed on accordingly. This will be reviewed as understanding of the current situation evolves.

 

Royal Society training and events

What is the status of any training or events offered as part of the support within Royal Society fellowships?

The Society's programme of meetings and events is cancelled or postponed until the summer. We are currently planning for our autumn programme to go ahead but given the fluidity of the situation, we will be closely monitoring government advice and will be investigating how this may be delivered via alternative methods.

 

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