UKRI will support excellent proposals of up to 18 months duration which meet at least one of the following:

  • New research or innovation with a clear impact pathway that has the potential (within the period of the award) to deliver a significant contribution to the understanding of, and response to, the COVID-19 pandemic and its impacts.
  • Supports the manufacture and/or wide scale adoption of an intervention with significant potential
  • Gathers critical data and resources quickly for future research use

Proposals will be accepted from anyone who is normally eligible to apply for UKRI funding. Proposals should be sent through this route for any research or innovation relevant to the above regardless of funding Council or whether relevant to multiple Councils.

Researchers holding existing UKRI standard grants can apply to re-purpose this funding to address the objectives of this call.

Process and timing:


From 31st July 2020, applications to this open call will need to be submitted via online submission systems. For academic-led proposals the updated application form should still be completed and uploaded upon application.

For applications to Innovate UK, bids must be business-led or collaborations with a business (or businesses). Proposals will be submitted via IFS (Innovation Funding Service) following one of the three links relating to one of the three different State Aids regimes available (de minimis, EU Temporary Framework, Article 25).

Applicants should decide under which State Aid route to apply, select the appropriate link and complete their applications in IFS, in line with the guidance.

You can only submit an application to ONE of these state aid frameworks and may only apply once to this UKRI Open competition as a whole for any given innovation project.

Re-submission of projects that were previously submitted to this or any other Innovate UK competition is not permitted.

For applications to the research councils, bids must be led by an eligible research organisation or Public Sector Research Establishment (PSRE). Proposals will be submitted via Je-S.

Proposals out of scope include:

  • Funding to directly mitigate the effects of the pandemic on specific institutions and businesses
  • Proposals more appropriate to other existing funding calls and /or other research funders
    • UKRI will act to transfer proposals to appropriate other calls that are open, so do submit here if you are unsure.
  • Longer term research proposals that address the COVID-19 emergency or future pandemics that don’t meet the urgency guidelines should be submitted through normal responsive mode.

The proposal should:

  • Describe the approach you will take and put it in the context of the national response to COVID-19. International collaboration is permitted, so long as the research is of relevance to the UK
  • Explain the level of urgency, and why the activity is important now
  • Demonstrate that the proposal has the necessary critical mass to make a difference. Where relevant, demonstrate the strength of links to relevant decision makers.
  • Demonstrate a clear route to impact within the timescale of the project.
  • Confirm whether the research requires any access to the health and care system and if so describe how you will comply with the newly established DHSC single, national process for prioritisation of COVID-19 research studies.
  • Explain why it is not possible to resource the work by repurposing existing funds you may have available.
  • Give an estimate of the resources required (within 10%).
    • As part of the submission, the proposal may include requests for access to UKRI experimental, analytical or computational capabilities that are currently operational.
  • Name the team that will run this and describe their ability and capacity to deliver.
    • UKRI can help provide access to pooled research staff from UK facilities, including research software engineering support and staff data scientists. Indicate on the form if help assembling the team is needed.
  • Provide evidence that the host institution or business supports the proposal and that the research can be carried out under present institutional or business restrictions.

UKRI will endeavour to support a balanced portfolio of activity under this call. Details of supported projects will be published as they are awarded.

Only one active bid can be under submission from a researcher or business at any time.

Interested in applying for this competition?

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