Impact of Covid-19 on Research Projects
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the past few months have been challenging. We understand that the 'circuit breaker' measures may have caused delays to the commencement of research projects, or disrupted the progress of research projects, funded by or jointly undertaken with external collaborators, or funded by external grantors (“Project(s)”).
Principal Investigators (PI) should assess the current and potential impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on their research projects, particularly in terms of delay or disruption, and where necessary, proactively discuss with grantors and/or external collaborator(s) to mutually agree on the following:
- suspension of work under the Project;
- extension of the Project duration or adjustment of Project schedule;
- changes to scope of work, deliverables or budget; and/or
- any variation or amendments to the terms of the research agreement governing the Project.
For PIs who have already sought extension of their grants through ODPRT
Please note that we have submitted your request for extension, if your grant was awarded by MOE, NRF, A*star and NMRC. You need not take further action, and will be informed in due course whether your request for extension has been approved.
Please contact ODPRT for any further advice, clarification or assistance:
Foreign/Local Foundations (SCS, NIH subaward etc.)||
Local Government grants (NHB, MSF, WDARF Grant etc.)||Clarene: firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Foreign Government grants (AOARD, EU etc.)||Edward: email@example.com|
For research agreements please email Madelyn Ho: firstname.lastname@example.org
Measures to support projects affected by COVID-19
Delaying the start date of grants
For newly awarded projects, PIs may submit a request to NRF to delay the start date by up to 6 months.
For newly awarded projects, PIs may request to start up to 9 months from the date on the letter of award.
For newly awarded projects, PIs may submit a request to A*STAR to delay the start date by up to 6 months.
For projects that have not started, PIs will be given the option to delay the start date, by up to 6 months.
No-cost Grant Extensions
(For projects due to end before or on 31 Mar 2021)
NRF will approve up to 6 months of no-cost extension, to allow PIs to address any disruption caused by the circuit breaker. With reference to earlier emails sent to PIs, PIs are to inform ODPRT if an extension is required for their projects no later than 11 May 2020
(Note: This procedure will apply only for NRF-administered grants.)
MOE may approve up to 6 months of no-cost extension, to allow PIs to address any disruption caused by the circuit breaker. With reference to an earlier email sent to the Faculty administrators, PIs are required to complete a template to justify the extension required and to return the details, no later than 13 May 2020
. Please check with your Faculty admins for more details.
A*STAR will approve up to 6 months of no-cost extension, to allow PIs to address any disruption caused by the circuit breaker. With reference to an earlier email sent to the Faculty administrators, we have collated the required information from the Faculties, for the affected projects and will be submitting the list to A*STAR by 11 May 2020
NMRC will grant a flat 6-month no-cost extension. To expedite the process, the 6-month no-cost extension will be granted automatically to all eligible ongoing projects, and no follow-up action is required from the institutions/PIs.
No-cost Grant ExtensionsFor projects due to end from 1 April 2021 onwards, PIs should follow the normal process of submitting a no-cost extension request 6 months prior to the project end date for the respective funding agency’s approval. The funding agency will be sympathetic in considering these requests, if PIs are able to demonstrate that their projects were significantly delayed by the COVID-19 disruption.
Research Personnel and PhD Students
NRF, MOE and A*STAR funded projects
PIs of funded projects should continue to pay all in place research personnel and PhD students their salary/stipend from the grant during the circuit breaker period, even in cases where the research work is not continuing as planned.
All PIs are highly encouraged to re-assign tasks and activities whenever possible, such that the non-lab-based aspects can be done from home during this period. Flexibility should be exercised, where necessary, to allow PhD students additional time to submit their thesis. In instances where the virement across votes had exceeded 10% of the total direct cost, NRF/MOE/A*STAR will support PIs’ requests to shift funds from other votes (ie. OOE, EQPT and Overseas Travel) to support EOM and Research Scholarship votes, even if the request is submitted less than 3 months from the project end date.
NMRC funded projects
NMRC will exercise flexibility in considering requests to change/delay project KPIs and deliverables in the event that some of these KPIs/deliverables are delayed or no longer achievable due to COVID-19. This would be assessed on a case-by-case basis.
Should you have further queries, please refer to the emails sent previously, or contact the respective ODPRT grant administrator.
Grant calls for COVID-19 related research
SGUnited Traineeship Programme
The objective of the SGUnited Traineeship programme is to allow those who just graduated or are graduating in 2020 from ITE, polytechnics, universities and other educational institutions to be equipped with relevant work experience and gain firmer foothold in the job market during the economic recovery.
The positions opened to these trainees should be based on positions and roles typically offered to a fresh univ/dipl/ITE grads (for example, Research Assistant position for fresh university graduates). Student interns/Student assistants are positions given to existing students and do not fulfil the spirit and intent of the SGUnited Traineeship programme.
If trainees attached to the research projects funded by grants are eligible for the SGUnited Training allowance, which provides for 80% of the allowance, the remaining 20% of the allowance may be charged to the grant. Any changes to the EOM can be approved at the Host Institution’s level, as per the Guidelines for the Management of Research Grants (dated 1 Jan 2020).
Please refer to the WSG website (https://www.wsg.gov.sg/SGUnitedTraineeships-Trainees.html) for further details on the eligibility criteria and processes involved.
Diversion of resources for national COVID-19 testing
In-place research personnel hired through grants with relevant technical capabilities may be called upon to help contribute to the national efforts on COVID-19 testing. As this is a national crisis, the salary of diverted research personnel can be supported from the grant in which she/he had been employed under. This includes the contribution of reagents procured through grants, to support the national COVID-19 testing efforts.
NMRC May Calls have been pushed back to Oct/Nov
As a result of the review postponement and hence the announcement of the results, the original plan to delay the May 2020 grant call to Aug 2020 for the affected grant schemes, as conveyed in the earlier email, will be further delayed to Oct/Nov 2020 to facilitate resubmission.
The list below shows the grant schemes that are planned under the respective grant call to facilitate planning by the research community. Please note that these are tentative and details will be conveyed nearer to the date of the grant call.
Oct/Nov 2020 Grant Call
- Clinician-Scientist Investigator Research Grant (CS-IRG)
- Clinician-Scientist Investigator Research Grant - New Investigator Grant (CS-IRG-NIG)
- Open Fund-Investigator Research Grant (OF-IRG)
- Open Fund-Young Investigator Research Grant (OF-YIRG)
- Health Services Research Grant (HSRG)
- Health Services Research Grant - New Investigator Grant (HSRG-NIG)
- Singapore Translational Research Investigator Award (STaR)
- Clinician Scientist Award (CSA)
- Transition Award (TA)
- Clinician Innovator Development Award (CIDA)
- NMRC Research Training Fellowship
- Clinical Trial Grant (CTG)
- Clinician Scientist/Clinician Investigator Salary Support Programme (CS/CISSP)
- NMRC Research Training Fellowship (RTF)