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 firstname.lastname@example.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.