Impact of Coronavirus on Parkinson’s UK-funded research

The impacts of coronavirus on the research community will likely evolve and increase over the coming weeks and months.

We encourage all research staff and people affected by Parkinson’s taking part in clinical studies to follow guidelines issued by the host institutions and UK Government.

Associate Research Director at Parkinson’s UK, Professor David Dexter, says: “During the coronavirus pandemic, our research priorities are ensuring the safety and wellbeing of researchers and people affected by Parkinson’s on the research projects we fund. As far as possible we’re continuing our business as a national funder of research."

“We’re working with people affected by Parkinson’s, our research and clinical community, and institutions, to understand and mitigate the impact of coronavirus on the research we fund.”

 

Information for institutions, grant holders and applicants

There will be impacts of coronavirus on all existing awards from Parkinson’s UK. We’re working with the researchers and institutions affected to implement measures to mitigate the impact of coronavirus on the fantastic research carried out by teams across the UK. 

We’re planning to continue with grant calls that are currently open. However, grant calls are heavily dependent on the availability of external experts to peer review applications and attend virtual panel meetings. Therefore, it may take longer to process applications than advertised. 

Additionally, we expect coronavirus to impact our ability to fundraise and this may affect the amount of research we can fund in 2020 and beyond. 

 

For principal investigators running existing awards

If you have research staff employed on the award, where the closure of your research facilities due to the Covid-19 pandemic is having a significant impact on their ability to perform their normal role on the project, we are recommending institutions take advantage of the Government job retentions scheme and furlough researchers.

This will preserve the funding for salaries within the award and will facilitate potential no-cost extensions once research in the institution has resumed.

If the closure of your research facilities, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, does not have a negative impact on your ability to run the award, we will support not furloughing research staff on such awards.

If you’re a researcher running an existing award, or an institution hosting the award, and you have concerns about the impact of Covid-19, contact us at [email protected]parkinsons.org.uk 

 

Information for researchers running clinical studies

The closure of institutions and the inability of people affected by Parkinson’s to attend clinical examinations will also impact the clinical studies funded by Parkinson’s UK. For researchers running clinical studies, further guidance has been released by GOV.UK and MHRA.

 

Impact on charity employees and funding for research

Parkinson's UK is using the Government's job retention scheme and has furloughed 23% of its staff. This has affected a number of staff within the research directorate and therefore may affect the speed at which we can deal with enquiries.

The pandemic continues to have a major impact on the ability to fundraise. This may affect the amount of research Parkinson's UK can fund in 2020. We cannot at this stage be sure how this will affect the level of funding available for research, so we are deferring the funding decisions on open grant calls or deferring opening new calls.

Open project and non-drug approaches grants will proceed through to the review stage but the funding decisions will be deferred to October when the assessment panels will sit. 

The opening of the career development fellowship grant round has been deferred until later in 2020.

 

Please do contact [email protected] if you have any queries.

 

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