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 coronavirus pandemic and these will be managed through our normal processes. As the situation continues to evolve and understanding is gained on the impact of the pandemic, the duration of no-cost extensions will be considered.
We recognise that the pandemic may be affecting research differently across different disciplines. We are working to understand these further and we would encourage you to let us know about the challenges you encounter.
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.
If you are currently unable to travel to the country where your award is to be held, we will consider remote working for up to three months subject to the approval of your host organisation Head of Department.
Are staff funded on Royal Society grants eligible for furlough?
It if your host organisation's responsibility to determine whether you are eligible for the UK Government's Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. The Society have committed to continue paying award holders in line with payment schedules, therefore we do not anticipate that many staff funded by a Royal Society grant will be furloughed.
Where Royal Society funded research staff have been furloughed for personal circumstances (e.g. child care), we expect award holders or their host organisation's research office to inform the Society's grants team as early as possible. Where it is the award holder that has been furloughed, it is expected that the full award and any associated awards will be put on hold and no payments will be made until the award holder returns to work. There is an exception for PhD stipends which will be paid as standard. We will also considered PDRA salary costs.
Once a furloughed award holder returns to work, a no-cost extension request may be considered in line with standard absence policies. If any other researcher supported by a Royal Society grant (including PDRAs) is placed on furlough but salary costs have continued to be paid, the proportion of costs for the furlough duration will be recovered and deducted from the value of the award.
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.
I am not able to use research costs as originally budgeted, can I use these costs for other research expenses?
Yes, any research costs that can no longer be used for their original purpose can be used for other research expenses on the basis that the change in expenditure remains within the funded aims and objectives of the research, and remains eligible in the context of the scheme.
Where there are specific limits on consumable spend, these will be removed temporarily. You do not need our consent to make these changes.
Limits on the award holder's salaries, indirect costs, estate costs, management costs and equipment remain in place and changes may only be made with the Society's written agreement.
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 on the basis that the change in expenditure remains within the funded aims and objectives of the research, and remains eligible in the context of the scheme.
For programmes such as International Exchanges and Newton Mobility Grants where we have previously limited the amount that can be spent on research, we are currently waiving these limits as long as the funds are being used to support the original research aims outlined in your proposal. You do not need our consent to make these changes.
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.
I will be incurring additional animal maintenance costs, am I able to get additional funding for this?
The Society encourages any underspend incurred from other research costs to cover any animal maintenance costs (e.g. from travel no longer being undertaken). If additional costs are required, we will consider these on a case by case basis.
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.
The contract for a PDRA who is funded through my Royal Society award is about to run out, am I able to use any underspend on my grant to extend their employment?
If a PDRA is already funded through your Royal Society grant and you have an underspend that could be reallocated to extend their contract, we are willing to consider such requests. In the current circumstances we will look sympathetically on such requests but each will need to be considered on a case by case basis. Any such requests should be submitted as a change request through the Royal Society's Flexi-Grant grants management system.
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.