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The COVID-19 Research Response Fund will fund research projects intending to have a significant impact in the short to medium term on the global COVID-19 crisis.

The University of Oxford's COVID-19 Research Response Fund was set up in April 2020 to fund research by the University's investigators in all areas of the global COVID-19 crisis. Projects are funded by philanthropic donations to the University that have been given for the purpose of supporting COVID-19 research.

This Fund is currently closed to applications. Future rounds of the Fund will depend on the available budget and will be announced at the discretion of the Committee. Future rounds will be widely communicated through the usual internal channels.

  • Projects must intend to have high impact in the short to medium-term on the COVID-19 pandemic. Generally projects are expected to start very rapidly and last no longer than 15 months.
  • Projects will be prioritised that are expected to have a significant impact on human health or well-being, or improving understanding of COVID-19. 
  • In earlier rounds of the Fund, projects were prioritised that could generate immediate impact. As the scope of the fund has now been expanded to projects with medium-term impact, previous applicants may reapply if their projects can still generate significant impact. 
  • Award holders are expected to provide brief regular reports on progress to donors in collaboration with the Development Office
  • Projects can be from any discipline and hosted by any department of the University. Projects that require the re-opening of departments or buildings that are currently closed will not normally be supported.
  • Awards will typically be made in the range of £20k to £200k (larger projects may be funded in exceptional circumstances)
  • Clinical research projects requiring access to COVID-19 patients in Oxford must be approved by the COVID-19 Clinical Research Review Group (CRRG). See How To Apply for more information
  • Non-urgent COVID-19 research projects can continue to apply through other internal funding calls, e.g. John Fell Fund, Wellcome ISSF, GCRF QR.
  • PIs must be current salaried employees of the collegiate University of Oxford, holding a contract of employment for research.
  • Projects may be hosted by any department of the University.
  • Researchers holding honorary or visiting positions are not eligible to apply.
  • Postdoctoral researchers are not eligible to apply as the PI.
  • In earlier rounds of the Fund, projects were prioritised that could generate immediate impact. As the scope of the fund has now been expanded to projects with medium-term impact, previous applicants may reapply if their projects can still generate significant impact. 

Submitting an application

  • Applications must be submitted in the Internal Research Award Management System (IRAMS)
  • Applications must be reviewed and approved in IRAMS by a Departmental Approver before they will be reviewed by the Committee. The advertised application deadline is the deadline for final submission by the Departmental Approver. Please check with your Department's Grants administration team if there is an internal deadline for their review prior to the advertised fund deadline.
  • Applicants must seek approval from their Head of Department before submitting an application. Applicants from the MPLS Division or the Medical Sciences Division should also seek input from the relevant Theme Lead (see Committee) before submitting an application. 
  • You must complete the Case For Support template available from IRAMS and upload it as a PDF. The combined word limit for all sections on the application form is 800 words; this limit aims to keep the applications as short as possible to facilitate rapid review by the Committee.
  • Clinical research projects requiring access to COVID-19 patients in Oxford must be approved by the COVID-19 Clinical Research Review Group (CRRG) in order to gain access to the clinical space. This group meets weekly. Award of funding for clinical research from the COVID-19 Research Response Fund will be conditional on receiving approval from the CRRG. For information on applying to the CRRG contact: covid@admin.ox.ac.uk.

Costing

  • The fund will cover the direct costs of research including equipment, consumables, etc.
  • Salary for the Principal Investigator or other senior academics/researchers is not an eligible cost.
  • Staff costs (excluding PI/senior researchers' salary) may be requested from the fund. However many funders including UKRI and Wellcome have confirmed that staff paid from projects that they fund may be redeployed to COVID-19 research. This possibility must be considered first and staff costs must be well justified. 
  • Costs associated with open access publication are not eligible for support from the Fund
  • Given current travel restrictions and the emphasis on short to medium term impact, costs associated with travel, hosting meetings or attendance at conferences are unlikely to be supported
  • Projects can be in collaboration with other institutions outside of the University but partner costs cannot be met by this fund
  • Awards can be outright or for underwriting applications to other funders. Where projects request an outright grant, the PI must explain why costs cannot be met by existing internal resources or external funding
  • Awards can be used to leverage other funding. Other sources of support for the project must be entered in IRAMS

Timing

  • Projects are expected to be able to start within 4 weeks of the call deadline
  • Projects should generally last no longer than 15 months
  • Awards can be made to projects that have already begun
  • As the emphasis is on rapid response research, applicants should not typically propose to purchase equipment where this cannot be completed within 4 weeks of the award date.

This Fund is currently closed to applications. Future rounds of the Fund will depend on the available budget and will be announced at the discretion of the Committee. Future rounds will be widely communicated through the usual internal channels.

Previous deadlines: 

Round 4: Wednesday 17 June 2020

Round 3: Monday 18 May 2020

Round 2: Thursday 23 April 2020

Round 1: Thursday 9 April 2020

The Fund Secretary is Leila Whitworth: research@medsci.ox.ac.uk

Name

Role/Theme

Professor Patrick Grant

Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research), Chair

Professor Gavin Screaton

Head of Division (MSD)

Professor Helen McShane

Deputy Head of Division (MSD), Clinical Care

Professor Paul Klenerman

Immunology

Professor Sarah Gilbert

Vaccines

Professor Peter Horby

Clinical Trials

Professor David Mant

Primary Care and Epidemiology

Professor Dave Stuart

Structural Biology

Professor John Geddes

Mental Health

Professor Chris Schofield

Anti-viral drugs

Professor Ron Roy

Engineering

Professor Dan Grimley

Humanities

Professor Mark Pollard

Social Sciences

Leila Whitworth

Secretary

Carly Nieri

Development Office

Details of the projects that have been awarded COVID-19 Research Response funding are available here (Oxford SSO required).

If you have any questions, please contact Leila Whitworth research@medsci.ox.ac.uk