Last updated Thursday 5 November 

Please note: information about coronavirus for people who have, or have had, prostate cancer, can be found here.

We fully recognise that the delivery of Prostate Cancer UK funded research has been significantly affected this year and we thank you for your continued cooperation and communication during this time. Over the past few months it’s been pleasing to see many of your projects get back up and running (albeit under safety restrictions). However, with the numbers of COVID-19 cases on the rise again and following the latest national restrictions imposed by the Government, the delivery of your research projects may once again be impacted.

We have updated our FAQs below in light of the latest guidance to advise and support you in continuing with your research during this time. As always, please do contact us at research@prostatecanceruk.org if you have any questions.

Active Grants

I am still able to continue with my project as before, is it OK to keep going?

Where projects can still be delivered safely and unencumbered by the pandemic and the latest lockdown measures that have been imposed, then we are supportive of these projects continuing. Please do let us know if this is the case and please do keep in touch over the coming weeks/months in case anything changes.

We will continue to offer flexibility in the management of your grant during this time to allow you to adapt your project to the continually changing landscape. We will of course be sympathetic to any no-cost extension requests to your project, as well as to any requests for budget virements and the reallocation of underspends in order to cover any additional costs that are being incurred as a result of the pandemic (and through any no-cost extensions added to your grants).

However, if the latest restrictions are such that it is no longer feasible for your project to continue at this time, then the grant should be put on hold as soon as this becomes apparent. In this instance, please contact us at research@prostatecanceruk.org as soon as possible to discuss your options.

Access to my lab is prohibited/severely restricted, what should I do?

Please let us know as soon as possible if you are unable to access your lab or if new restrictions have been put in place since you last spoke to us. If the work on your project is able to continue as planned without being significantly affected by any new restrictions, and without compromising the overall delivery of the grant, then please continue working as you are.

If your institution is still open but operating at a reduced capacity and with social distancing measures in place, we appreciate that these measures are likely to slow the progress on your grant. In this instance, please speak to us and we’ll agree on a way for you to move forward with your project whilst managing any restrictions in place which may affect your progress. We’ll consider no-cost extensions to manage delays to your project. Please see our FAQ on no-cost extensions for more information.

If your project is not currently on hold but you are now unable to continue under the latest restrictions, then we would strongly recommend that all activity stops and the grant be put on hold until a time when you are in a position to resume. Please get in touch with the Research Team to discuss your options further.

What is your advice on the delivery of clinical trials at this time?

Over the past few months we have seen a number of the clinical studies we are funding begin to re-open to recruitment. If trials are once again halted, there is a risk they will not be able to complete in a timely manner and without a substantial additional investment. It is crucial that these trials remain open to recruitment. In accordance with the latest guidance from the NIHR and from Cancer Research UK, pausing clinical studies should be a last resort only after all efforts have been made to maintain recruitment rates alongside other research and clinical activity. Please keep us updated about any delays you anticipate and we will do what we can to support you in keeping your study on track. 

I, or a member of my team, have been asked to support front-line NHS services – is this acceptable?

Our responsibility as a charity is to ensure that as many men with prostate cancer as possible receive early and accurate diagnosis and timely, effective treatment now and, through our research funding, in the future. It is clear that measures taken during the first lockdown adversely impacted the clinical care of men with prostate cancer and the viability of essential clinical trials. Therefore, although we would be supportive of redeployment of research staff to front line clinical care if absolutely necessary, we do not believe that this should happen by default. In exceptional local circumstances we will support redeployment of research staff to frontline cancer care but we expect to be consulted in advance of that happening and to have written confirmation of who will be covering any salary commitments of the redeployed staff currently funded by Prostate Cancer UK during that time. The salaries of redeployed staff should not be charged to your grant.

What advice do you have for clinical academic trainees in returning to research after supporting the front-line efforts against COVID-19?

The UK Clinical Academic Training Forum (CATF) has set out guidance for academic trainees, their clinical and research supervisors, and their institutions to support the return to clinical and research training.

In addition, the Academy of Medical Sciences have published some useful materials to support clinical academics during this time.

Suspended & New Grants

My grant is currently on hold, what should I do?

If your project is already on hold, we ask that it remains on hold if activity cannot continue as planned while working remotely. You should also continue to make use of the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (which has been extended until 31 March 2021) to minimise the financial impact on the charity. For further details on this scheme, including eligibility, please refer to the following guidance from the Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC) on how researchers whose salaries are funded by charity or commercial funders are eligible for the furlough scheme.

I’ve been awarded a grant but haven’t yet started my project. When am I able to activate the grant?

Due to the uncertain and challenging circumstances we find ourselves in, we strongly recommend that any new projects that have not yet started delay commencing until a time when it can be carried out unhindered and as originally planned. We want to ensure that your project gets off on the right foot and so are supportive of delaying the start of the grant until you are ready to get underway. If you think your project is ready to begin as planned, please contact us and we will work with you to agree a start date.

Staff on my project have been placed on furlough. We are able to resume the project, so what steps do I need to take to get back up and running?

Please work with your head of department and/or HR team if you’re ready to bring staff back from furlough. Once your project is able to resume, let us know, and we’ll agree a reactivation date with you and consider whether a no-cost extension will be needed to account for time lost while your staff were furloughed. Please see our FAQ below about no-cost extensions for more information.

Grant Extensions & Policies

Can I request a no-cost extension to my project?

For all grants that have been put into abeyance, the duration of the suspension will automatically be added on to the end of your project to give you time to continue your research once the grant has been re-activated. If you believe you will require more time on top of this, for example due to delays related to measures to maintain social distancing once your project re-starts, we’ll consider a further no-cost extension. For other grants which are currently not on hold, we will still consider no-cost extension requests to make up for any delay to the project, as long as the additional time is suitably justified and there remains sufficient funds on the grant to cover the additional time and activity.

Please don’t apply for the extension any sooner than three months before the end date of your grant, so that all factors can be considered and multiple requests for the same award can be avoided. All requests for extensions should be made prior to your award end date and you must complete and return a change request form. To do this, please email the Research Team.

Will you be offering costed extensions?

We appreciate that not all projects will not have progressed as originally planned, and due the delays and restrictions experienced additional costs may be anticipated. Unfortunately, we’re facing major fundraising challenges due to Covid-19 and the associated measures put in place to contain the virus, and so we are anticipating a significant drop in income. Therefore, despite our desire to support you in completing the work we have funded, we are unable to commit to providing costed extensions at this point. If you think that elements of your project are at risk of not being completed due to insufficient funds (as a direct result of the Covid-19 pandemic) then please contact us to discuss your options.

What’s your policy on sick leave?

If you or any of your team become unwell or need to self-isolate, we will follow the employing organisation’s own policy on sick leave and absence. In accordance with the terms of your contract, your institution should cover the costs of any long-term sick leave of staff funded on the grant.

Funding calls

Research Innovation Awards

We’ve made the difficult decision to postpone our current round of Research Innovation Awards. These awards rely on our ability to fundraise, and unfortunately we are anticipating a long-term drop in our income as a result of the Covid-19 and the measures to contain it. We are trying to find a way to re-animate the current round and will be providing an update on this shortly.

We are completely committed to funding research to help us stop prostate cancer limiting men’s lives, and are doing everything we can to minimise the disruption to our research programme. We appreciate all the time and effort that has gone into applications to date, and sincerely apologise that we can’t move forward with our funding process at this time.

We are also carefully considering the timings for future rounds of our Research Innovation Awards and will provide further details in due course via our funding opportunities page as well as via our @ProstateUKProfs twitter feed.

Movember Prostate Cancer UK Major Awards in Curative Treatments

The Movember Prostate Cancer UK Major Awards in Curative Treatments is now closed for submissions. This funding call will continue to proceed as planned. Applicants will be notified as to the outcome of their submission in March 2021.

Travelling Prize Fellowships

We have postponed the launch of all future grant schemes and this includes our Travelling Prize Fellowships.  We are currently carefully reviewing when we will be able to launch the next round of this scheme and will provide further details in due course via our funding opportunities page as well as via our @ProstateUKProfs twitter feed.

Upcoming events

Making Progress Day

In light of current events, we’ve decided to hold an online Making Progress event. This years event will be held on Friday 15th January, 1:30-4:30pm. We highly recommend all our funded early career researchers attend this event. 

For the latest updates follow us on Twitter.