As we respond and adapt to the latest Government advice on the evolving coronavirus pandemic, we will continue to support and champion the UK's best medical and health researchers and work to ensure their voices are included in the discussions and important decision-making ahead.
[Page last updated 30 March.]
Our Fellowship, including the Chief Medical Officer, Professor Chris Whitty, and Government's Chief Scientific Adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance, are leading the UK scientific response to the global Covid-19 pandemic.
Our President, Professor Sir Robert Lechler PMedSci, commented:“I applaud the Government’s approach of putting advice and evidence from world leading experts front and centre of their plans to deal with the global Covid-19 emergency.
“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.”
Our Press Office is working to help ensure journalists have access to the UK's best medical and health experts. For enquires relating to coronarvirus, we are working directly with - and strongly recommended contacting in the first instance - the Science Media Centre (firstname.lastname@example.org, +44 (0)20 7611 8300). Our Press Office can also be contacted directly via Naomi Clarke, 07903 158979, email@example.com
We will continue to work with our Fellows, grant awardees and contacts to provide expert advice to Government, stakeholders and the public as the situation with coronavirus progresses.
- Click here to view our President's response to the government’s new 'stay home' measures (Monday 23 March)
- We hosted the Science Media Centre for a press conference specifically focused on health and science questions around coronavirus - giving health and science journalists time with Professor Chris Whitty (Chief Medical Officer) and Sir Patrick Vallance (Chief Scientifc Adviser). This was streamed live on BBC2 and other news outlets. The full briefing is available to watch below. (Wednesday 19 March)
- Click here to view our President's response to the government’s press conference on coronavirus (Monday 16 March)
- Click here to view our Vice President - International's response to the government’s press conference on coronavirus (Monday 16 March)
- Click here to view our President's response to the Budget (Wednesday 11 March)
- Click here to view our President's response to the government’s publication of their action plan to tackle the COVID-19 outbreak (Tuesday 3 March)
- Novel coronavirus: Are we ready? - A blog from Professor Dame Anne Johnson FMedSci, our Vice President - International and Professor of Infectious Disease Epidemiology at University College London. (Monday 3 February)
Visit our Press Office homepage.
Following careful consideration of government advice on the coronavirus panidemic we have now closed the Academy headquarters building.
Staff are working remotely and will continue to provide support to our Fellows, grant awardees and programme participants. Please bear with us while we initiate new methods of working and support.
All face-to-face Academy events and meetings are now postponed or cancelled for the foreseeable future. This includes our joint meeting with the Royal Society of Edinburgh in April, the Great North Academy Day also in April and the Clinical Academics in Training Annual Conference (CATAC) in May. We will also be postponing our New Fellows Admissions Day to later in the year.
Where possible we are moving smaller events and meetings to take place on digital platforms. Please contact organisers of these events directly for more information. We will also continue to provide career support through our ongoing series of webinars.
Our policy work continues to inform and reflect on the issues critical to a healthy global society.
The Academy and MQ have rapidly convened an expert group to develop mental health and neuroscience research priorities in response to the coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19).The expert group will publish its outputs within approximately two weeks (April 2020) in a peer-reviewed scientific journal, with the intention of urgently mobilising and coordinating the UK’s mental health and neuroscience research response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Find out more on our dedicated policy page about coronavirus, mental health and neuroscience.
On 20 February, we published a joint report on epidemic preparedness. This was the result of a two-day workshop in October 2019 hosted jointly by the InterAcademy Partnership and the Medical Research Council and as part of our Global Challenges Research Fund policy programme.
Download the full report: Interdisciplinary research in epidemic preparedness and response
Read key messages: a blog from the workshop Chair, Professor Jimmy Whitworth FMedSci, who is Professor of International Public Health at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.
Ahead of the release of this report, our Vice President - International, Professor Dame Anne Johnson FMedSci, also Professor of Infectious Disease Epidemiology at University College London, reflected on the world's preparedness for the Covid-19 epidemic. Read the full blog: Novel coronavirus: Are we ready? (3 February)
We have previously also supported and reflected on high-level responses to different viral outbreaks, in particular with our 2005 report on pandemic influenza and the 2007 follow up symposium with the Royal Society. In 2015, we also partnered with the Wellcome Trust to explore the use of neuraminidase inhibitors in influenza.
We will be as flexible as possible to support all our researchers around the challenges of coronavirus.
Our grants support many clinical academics now being asked to pause their research and focus on patient care. Together with the wider research community, we've issued guidance to reassure our awardees that you have our full support. Read the full joint statement on the Royal College of Physicians’ website.
Ongoing grants rounds
Our programme of grant funding is continuing to operate, although timings may change. Please visit individual scheme pages for details about specific grant rounds.
Staff are working remotely and will continue to provide support to applicants and awardees. Please bear with us while we initiate new methods of working.
We will be as flexible as possible to support all our researchers around the challenges to their work from coronavirus. If you encounter problems that may result in a delay to the start of your Award, please contact us as soon as possible to discuss this. 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, so that all factors can be considered and multiple requests for the same Award can be reduced. Please note that all requests for extensions should be made prior to your Award end date. We will continue to consider requests for no-cost extensions on a case-by-case basis, but please be assured that requests for no-cost extensions to Awards that have been impacted by Covid-19 will be granted.
Research is a key part of addressing the Covid-19 epidemic. We are supporting initiatives to ensure data is shared adequately and helping funders co-ordinate to ensure research is aligned with global research priorities to support rapid and effective epidemic preparedness and response.
Together with over 60 other funders, academies and scientific organisations from across the globe, we call on researchers, journals and funders to ensure that research findings and data relevant to this outbreak are shared rapidly and openly to inform the public health response and help save lives.
This joint letter, published on 31 January 2020, affirms our commitment to the principles set out in the 2016 Statement on data sharing in public health emergencies, and will seek to ensure that the World Health Organization has rapid access to emerging findings that could aid the global response.
As part of our commitment to open access, we also require all our grant awardees to ensure their peer-reviewed, original research publications are freely publically available - ideally immediately, or if not within 6 months. Read our full policy here.
Coordination of research funding
The Academy is a member of the Epidemics Preparedness and Response Group convened by the UK Collaborative on Development Research. This group supports UK research funders to share relevant information, network and communicate to support coherence and collaboration in the funding and the use of research in epidemics preparedness and response.
The calls launched by UK research funders in relation to Covid-19 are listed on the UKCDR website here.
NIHR response to COVID-19
On behalf of the Department of Health and Social Care, the NIHR is funding and helping to deliver a range of “rapid response” research to better understand and tackle COVID-19, including research into vaccines, treatments and diagnostic tests, and real-time collection of samples and data from people undergoing treatment in hospitals. Find out more about their work on the NIHR website.