The Academy has co-ordinated a cross-funder statement with 27 funder signatories on COVID-19 institutional memory: how we as funders will look to fairly remember and recognise the impacts of COVID-19 on grant applicants' work in the future.
“...Any disruptions to research activities due to the COVID-19 pandemic will be taken into consideration by our panels and committees when assessing an individual applicant’s record of outputs, research achievements, and career progression in future grant rounds. We understand that most researchers will have been affected during this period of disruption. We also recognise that some of these impacts are likely to be felt long after the acute phase of the pandemic, potentially affecting applications for months or years to come...”
Excerpt from the statement
Read and download the full statement here or from the side of this page.
This statement was originally released in March 2022 - see the Academy's news article here. This statement currently has 27 signatories:
- The Academy of Medical Sciences
- Alzheimer’s Research UK
- Alzheimer's Society
- The British Academy
- British Heart Foundation
- Bone Cancer Research Trust
- Children with Cancer UK
- Cancer Research UK
- Department of Health & Social Care National Institute for Health Research (NIHR)
- Diabetes UK
- Great Ormond Street Hospital Charity
- Healthcare Infection Society
- The Lister Institute of Preventive Medicine
- Medical Research Foundation
- Myeloma UK
- Prostate Cancer Research
- Prostate Cancer UK
- Royal Academy of Engineering
- The Royal Society
- Sarcoma UK
- Spinal Research
- UK Research and Innovation (UKRI)
- Versus Arthritis
- Wellbeing of Women
- Worldwide Cancer Research
- Yorkshire Cancer Research
Simon Denegri OBE, Executive Director of the Academy of Medical Sciences, comments:
“It is absolutely fantastic news that such a breadth of funders have pledged to recognise COVID-19 disruption when assessing grant applicants.
“This statement commits funders to ask applicants about their COVID-19 disruption and use this information when assessing individuals’ outputs, research achievements, and career progression.
“This joint commitment from leading funders will make a real difference to many researchers. I hope this information sharing will prompt the concrete funding shifts required to save many talented people from dropping out of the research system.
“We welcome other funders contacting us and signing up to this commitment.”
Professor Paul Stewart FMedSci, Vice President of the Academy of Medical Sciences, comments:
“Throughout the pandemic I’ve been helping the Academy to support researchers, producing resources on loneliness, stress, leading remote teams and more. I’m very happy this career support is now endorsed by practical reports that take into account the impact of COVID-19 on research and researchers and I am delighted that so many other funders have committed to this, too.
“Funders must keep reassuring the researchers affected by COVID-19 that we care about you, we are here to support your research and we want you to succeed. A big thank you from me for all you are doing in what remain very challenging circumstances. There’s still a long way to go in this journey and we are here to try and help you the best we can.”
Translating this statement into the concrete funding shifts required to save many talented people from dropping out of the research system is an important process that needs to be continued over years, not months. Applicants should refer to individual funders websites for details of how these principles are being applied within funder grant processes.
At the Academy, we have producted a practical top tips article about how best to factor COVID-19 into grant applications for funders, panel members and applicants. Our methods for doing this have changed through the pandemic so far and will likely continue to evolve. This article offers:
- Interviews with panel members
- Interviews with previous grant applicants
- 'What other awardees said' - impact summary from 113 previous grant applicants
- Interviews with staff about current internal processes
We welcome challenges and critique on this topic, and are equally happy to support other funders through discussion of processes and systems. Please contact our Head of Grants, Dr Clare McVicker, in the first instance.
Go back to our COVID-19 information hub to find out more about our policy work throughout the pandemic, both for research and for researchers.