Coronavirus (COVID-19): information for grant applicants and grantholders

This page has information for anyone applying for, or who holds, a Cancer Research UK grant.

Applying for Cancer Research UK funding

Cancer Research UK is closely monitoring developments related to the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic and guidance from government bodies. Our panels and committees involve people who work internationally and with vulnerable communities, and safeguarding their health is our priority.  

Recent rapid developments have made it increasingly difficult for people to attend meetings. In addition, many of our clinical members are rightly cautious about limiting risk for themselves and their patients, especially as their priorities shift towards responding to developments in the healthcare system. 

This is also a major financial crisis and it is sensible for us to consider and understand what the short to mid-term implications will be for Cancer Research UK.  

For these reasons, CRUK has made the difficult decision to defer all our panels and committees. All applications submitted for the current funding round will be considered in the autumn. Where an application has been made for the renewal of an existing grant, bridge-funding will be provided.

If your Host Institution is closed and unable to approve and submit a funding application as usual, we can do this on their behalf. Please ask your usual Host Institution approver to confirm their agreement for us to submit the application on their behalf to

We plan to open for applications to the autumn funding round as normal, but this is a rapidly developing situation and we will communicate any changes as soon as we can. 

Any disruptions to research funding activities due to the COVID-19 pandemic will be taken into consideration by our panels and committees to make appropriate adjustments when assessing your record of outputs, research achievements, and career progression.

If you’re funded by Cancer Research UK

If you’re a researcher or student funded by us, to help minimise the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ll provide the following support.

We’ll follow the policy of your Host Institution if any staff on a grant or students:

  • are unwell
  • need to self-isolate
  • have caring responsibilities for someone affected.

For staff whose salaries are grant-funded, paid sick leave entitlements can be charged to the Grant in accordance with the Host Institution's usual policy. Where an individual's salary is part-funded by the Grant, paid sick leave entitlements may be charged to the Grant on a pro-rata basis.

For non-clinical students, we’re currently reviewing our policy on paid leave entitlements.

As the situation progresses, we are aware that clinical academics, Clinical Research Training Fellows (CRTFs) and research nurses may be seconded back to the NHS to support front line service delivery.  CRUK will fully support this request; the urgent patient care comes first and you can return to clinical practice if required. The exceptions would be in those situations where there would be a duty of care for cancer patients on certain clinical trials. Such decisions must be made locally.  

For clinical academics seconded back to the NHS, our expectation is that the NHS will cover your salary whilst working on the COVID-19 response. We’re continuing these discussions across the sector. You can also request a no-cost extension to your grant.  

For other grants which may be affected (for example, if your institution closes), we will look to minimise the impact on our funded research activities wherever possible. 

We will offer increased flexibility across our grants to enable you to manage your award.

You can delay the start date of your grant by delaying the activation of the grant by up to 6 months.

We will be flexible on the use of underspend and budget virements to cover any exceptional and additional costs incurred by the COVID-19 pandemic to keep your research activities going.

Our grant conditions usually stipulate you can’t ordinarily vire from a post vacant for 6 months or more. Given the present circumstances, we will waive that stipulation if a post is affected by delays due to COVID-19. If you need to repurpose funds from a post vacant for 6 months or more, we'll consider those requests.

Our default position will be to offer you a no-cost extension if needed. No-cost extension requests should be made in writing to us. 

We’ll consider requests to put your grant into abeyance, where we suspend your grant if you want to pause payments and activities on the grant. 

If you’re a researcher or student funded by us and you now cannot travel due to government/official advice, or it poses a risk to you (due to an underlying medical condition, etc) you can use underspend to cover reasonable incurred costs, where it’s not covered by insurance. This includes reasonable travel, subsistence, childcare and conference costs where the purpose of the planned travel related to the grant and costs were eligible under our Costs Guidance.

We will update this page as required.

Published 17 March 2020