As we adapt to the evolving COVID-19 pandemic, we continue to support the UK's best medical and health researchers and ensure their voices are included in the important decision-making ahead.
[Page last updated 6 January 2021]
Our policy work on COVID-19 and epidemics is informing key decisions in the UK and around the world.
Our Fellows are leading the UK scientific response to COVID-19, including Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty FMedSci and Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance FMedSci. We continue to work with our researchers to provide expert advice to Government, stakeholders and the public throughout this pandemic.
In July 2020 we rapidly reviewed how the UK must prepare for a challenging winter with experts and patients, considering the impact of COVID-19 alongside a backlog of people needing NHS help and the possibility of a flu epidemic. As seen in BBC News, Financial Times, The Guardian and more.In April 2020 we rapidly developed COVID-19 mental health and neuroscience research priorities with MQ, published in The Lancet Psychiatry. NIHR used our work to incentivise research proposals in this area and our September joint statement re-emphasised the importance this research. As seen in BBC News, The Guardian, The Daily Mail and more.
In November 2020 we reviewed changes needed to UK diagnostic testing. Our roundtable connected people from NHS, academia, industry and Government to discuss how the UK can learn from the initial testing response and maximise future testing capacity.
In May 2020 we rapidly reviewed key immunology questions for COVID-19 with the British Society for Immunology, helping scientists navigate existing findings and focus on key questions. The British Society for Immunology has since worked with members of our expert group to develop the UK Coronavirus Immunology Consortium.
Our live open-access COVID-19 drug development database is helping scientists identify collaborations, avoid duplication of effort and prioritise the most promising preclinical drug research. Visit the database to share and explore work.
We respond to COVID-19 related parliamentary inquiries, drawing on our Fellowship and key findings from our previous publications. Our responses have provided evidence for consultations on UK research and technology capability and influence, the role of research in the COVID-19 recovery, and workforce burnout in the NHS.
Internationally, we have shared different countries' COVID-19 responses through our collaborative workshop with national academies from low- and middle-income countries, as well as a joint workshop and statement with the Brazilian National Academy of Medicine.
We have previously explored how to rapidly test new vaccines through controlled human infection model studies - where researchers deliberately infect adult volunteers to help understand a disease. Our 2018 workshop with Wellcome and the Human Infection Challenge Vaccine Network discussed practical and ethical oversight needed for this research.Our broader COVID-19 policy work includes convening Academy Fellows to review our work during the pandemic (July 2020) and supporting the THIS Institute's work on ethical frameworks for COVID-19 swab testing of NHS workers.
We have previously supported high-level responses to other viral outbreaks, such as our 2005 report on pandemic influenza and our 2007 follow up with the Royal Society. In 2015, we partnered with Wellcome to explore the use of neuraminidase inhibitors in influenza.
We are committed to ensuring clear, up-to-date information on COVID-19 and to taking part in the ongoing debate of what that science means for our society.
Our President and Vice-Presidents have provided expert comment in national and international media since March, alongside a ongoing response statements to key pandemic developments.
We are empowering young adults to talk about pandemic through an online graphic story co-created by international artists alongside young people and medical experts. The Divoc-91 project is led by Vocal at Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust and Wowbagger Productions.
“Uncertainty is inevitable in the coming months: it is amazing how much we have learnt already about a virus that emerged just a few months ago. Science thrives on debate and it is often the interaction of conflicting views and challenge that drives progress. However in an epidemic situation, like the one we are facing, people want certainty and firm reassurance. Trustworthy advice, from credible experts can quickly be politicised. Scientists bear a strong responsibility here and must work to ensure the public have access to the latest reliable evidence whilst at the same time maintaining awareness of its impact in the ongoing broader societal debate.” Academy President, March 2020
We will be as flexible as possible to support all our researchers around the challenges of COVID-19.
Our COVID-19 Career Support Space offers regularly updated resources and support for topics relating to the current pandemic, including leading a remote team, stress and overwork, challenging inequalities, loneliness and social isolation and more.
Our grant funding rounds are continuing, although timings may change. Please visit individual scheme pages for more details. We've also published FAQs for grant applicants and awardees during COVID-19.
We're helping grant awardees adapt to COVID-19 delays. If you encounter problems that may delay the start of your Award, please contact us as soon as possible. If you encounter problems during your Award, we encourage you to not request a no-cost extension until the last three months of the Award, to allow all factors to be considered and minimise multiple requests for the same Award. All requests for extensions should be made before your Award end date. We will continue to consider no-cost extension requests on a case-by-case basis, but please be assured requests for no-cost extensions to Awards impacted by COVID-19 will be granted.
We continue to explore the impact of COVID-19 on biomedical research careers through workshops and conversations with the broader the sector to help ensure that funders build in 'COVID-memory'. Find out more.
We support many clinical academics who have paused their research to focus on patient care. Together with the wider research community, we have issued guidance in March and October to reassuring clinical academic trainees of our backing. Our Vice-President Professor Paul Stewart adds: "The Academy will continue to champion the needs of clinical academic trainees and I want them to know that they have our full and continued support."
Visit our COVID-19 Career Support Space.
Robust scientific research is key to understanding and effectively tackling infectious disease outbreaks.
We ensure scientific data is shared rapidly and openly. In January 2020, we and organisations around the world called for effective sharing of COVID-19 data in adherance to the 2016 principles on data sharing in public health emergencies. We require all our grant awardees to ensure their peer-reviewed, original research publications are freely publically available under our commitment to open access. We are also collaborating to co-ordinate research funding as a member of the Epidemics Preparedness and Response Group.
We put patients and the public at the heart of pandemic policy-making, both in our own policy work and through reviewing and evaluating the successes of others. Read our top five instances of engaging patients and the public with COVID-19 projects in 2020.
Please see the Policy work tab to find out more about our work on specific research areas.
All Academy work and events will be online until at least June 2021.
The Academy is continuing a full programme of work virtually, including grants, policy work and career support programmes. Please see our events pages and individual grant scheme and career support programme pages for more information.
Our venue 41 Portland Place is closed temporarily in accordance with England lockdown measures. Between September 2020 and November 2020 our venue 41 Portland Place had been open for limited external bookings in accordance with Government advice, having been awarded the Visit Britain We’re Good To Go industry standard. Find out more about our Grade II* listed townhouse and outdoor terrace on the 41 Portland Place website. For more information and enquiries about future bookings and events, please contact email@example.com