FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS for research staff and students

Applying for Funding

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Can I still apply for funding calls that are currently open? 

Funders are planning to maintain grant application deadlines. Until further notice your Project Coordinator will continue to support grant applications however please allow extra time ahead of the funder submission deadline. Please contact your Project Coordinator directly by email.   

Please field queries to your College Research Office rather than going directly to your funders. This will minimise yours and the funding agency’s time and save duplicating effort. 

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Will the University still be approving applications to the funders? 

All College Research Offices are now operating remotely, but all core services will be supported including the approval of applications to funders. Please allow extra time for approvals. Please continue to contact your Project Coordinator by email. 

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Will there be delays to the outcome of grants by the funders? 

Some funders may postpone or delay reviewing applications. This is likely to be funder and / or scheme specific, so please check funder websites for further information.

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When will the MRC Confidence in Concept 2020 call be announced? 

It is anticipated that the call will be announced in May / June 2020 along with a new Early Concept Development grant scheme, funded under the new Wellcome Trust Institutional Translational Partnership Award (iTPA). It is likely that the start of the CiC- and iTPA-funded projects will be delayed until research activities within the University have resumed. The typical 12-month duration of CiC projects should remain unchanged.  

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Are applications currently being accepted for BBSRC and EPSRC Impact Acceleration Accounts, MRC Proximity to Discovery and BBSRC Excellence with Impact? 

Yes, applications for these grants are being accepted; however, the start dates for research-based projects will be delayed until research activities within the University have resumed.  

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Can I still apply to the University LKAS scheme?

The LKAS scheme has resumed. We are currently accepting applications for LKAS Leadership Fellowships only. There will be no recruitment rounds for fully funded fellows, readerships, professorships or PhD studentships.

If you have questions, please contact our LKAS team.

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Will my College Research Ethics Committee accept new applications during the COVID period? 

No new approvals for research involving face to face contact will be issued until further notice. However, committees will continue to accept and review applications to enable approvals to be issued as soon as it is possible for research involving face to face contact to resume safely. 

You should prepare your application and submit it in the usual way (if you are off-campus, some links may not work without remote desktop connection – the Research Ethics System is accessible via Business Systems). 

Some approval for research that does not involve face to face contact may still be issued. You should contact your College Ethics Officer for advice. 

COVID 19 related research is being prioritised by the Research Ethics Committee and may be reviewed by convening short, proposal specific, online/zoom committee meetings. Research teams may be asked to attend on a case by case basis as required. 

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Existing Awards and University Research Ethics

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Do all research activities need to be postponed? 

Research activity should continue, where possible, with appropriate mitigating actions to support home working. 

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My grant is due to start in the coming months, what should I do? 

Please consider the start date carefully and, if necessary, discuss any funder requirements with your Project Coordinator. You need to take a risk based approach to starting any research in the coming weeks, particularly if the work will require face to face contact with research participants, NHS-based recruitment or access to facilities that might be closed or have reduced in capacity. If you have concerns about starting at this point and feel a delay to the start date of your grant would be advisable, please contact your Project Coordinator directly. 

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Can I proceed with recruitment to any grant-funded posts?

An additional College level approval process has been introduced for all research-funded posts. Staff will be recruited to research grants if they can be onboarded safely and can work productively from home. Where this is not possible, it might be necessary to delay the start of the grant and PIs should work with their Project Coordinators to engage with the funder.

You may wish to consider delaying if you anticipate impact to your research project due to COVID-19. Funder’s terms and conditions should be checked to ensure this is allowed. The Project Coordinators and Local Resourcing Coordinators will support the Academics through this process.

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How will additional costs be met due to research being suspended? 

This will vary dependent on the funder and the nature of cost. The University is actively engaging with funders to seek clarity on this. 

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Will there be any risk to existing research staff employed by external grants because of research being suspended?  

It is anticipated that most major funders will confirm that they will support research grants which are impacted by these circumstances. The University is actively engaging with funders to seek clarity on this and will provide updates when available. 

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What is the risk to research staff with working visas if research is suspended? 

It is anticipated that most major funders will confirm they will support research grants which are impacted by these circumstances. The University is actively engaging with funders to seek clarity on this and will provide updates when available. Working permissions will not be affected where the individual continues their contract of employment. In the event of any extension to employment being approved, an application to extend the visa should be made in the usual way. If you are affected by coronavirus and you have concerns about your immigration status, please contact our immigration team.

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What records do I need to keep in relation to suspended research? 

Please keep a record of research that has been impacted so that we can quickly coordinate approaches to funders once business as usual resumes. This includes:

  • Funder and grant reference number 
  • Subproject number 
  • What has stopped / been suspended and duration 
  • Potential impact 
  • Details of staff funded on the grant who have been affected

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Will all research grants that are suspended be restarted again and contracts fulfilled/extended? 

It is anticipated that most major funders will confirm they will support research grants which are impacted by these circumstances. The University is actively engaging with funders to seek clarity on this and will provide updates when available. 

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Can I claim travel/event costs to my grant where travel/events have been cancelled? 

We anticipate that funders will adopt a pragmatic approach on this; however, as the approach is likely to be variable, please refer to the individual funder’s guidance. More information on travel advice can be found on the University Coronavirus FAQs page.

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I have been awarded LKAS funding. Will this funding be honoured?

Yes, all awarded LKAS fellowships, readerships and professorships and PhD studentships that have been awarded will be honoured. This includes LKAS commitments made on fellowship applications that have been submitted to external funders (this applies only where the fellowship is successful, as per the existing terms of the scheme). Funds can continue to be drawn from budgets allocated to LKAS awardees, in line with the agreed spending profile.

If you have questions, please contact our LKAS team.

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Will funder deadlines be extended?  

Many funders are planning to maintain grant application deadlines. Extensions to calls are likely to be funder and / or scheme specific so please check the funder website for further information. 

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Have you heard from funding agencies about whether there will be cuts in funding (especially for early career researchers)? 

This is an evolving situation. At present we are only aware of one funder who has advised that they will be reducing the award value (CRUK). Project Coordinators are working with PIs to identify how to manage the reduced budget. 

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I am receiving requests for COVID-19 information from my stakeholders/public groups. Where should I direct them?  

Direct those outside the University to the News pageFacebook page and social media channel @UofGlasgow. People can email our coronavirus support team or call 0141 330 8757. 

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I am part of a Public Patient Involvement group. What information should I give them? 

Most PPI groups are not meeting. The UK Clinical Research Collaboration is putting together approaches to facilitate continuation of involvement meetings. The MVLS Public Patient Involvement group will continue to meet by email. The group is willing to review public-facing materials you produce. 

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I was to be hosting/managing a public engagement event, what should I do? 

Advise attendees, venue, participants, and suppliers that you are cancelling or postponing the activity. We suggest you use the following text to notify attendees: “Following the advice of the Scottish Government this event is now cancelled/postponed. Customers who have tickets for the event will automatically receive a full refund over the coming weeks. Our box office staff will contact customers directly if there are any issues, please bear with us as we work through the refund process at this challenging time. Please refer to our website and social channels for further updates over the coming weeks. We greatly appreciate your support at this time.” 

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I have a project approved by my College Research Ethics Committee that involves face to face research activities. Can I continue my research? 

No. All research involving face to face contact should stop immediately until further notice. 

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Is it possible to amend my research protocol to allow me to conduct the study in a way that avoids face to face contact?  

It may be possible to amend your research project to allow the research to continue. You must consider your ethical approval and data protection responsibilities before adopting any new data collection method. Consult your local ethics officer in the first instance. Any changes to the consent process must be communicated to, and approved by, your College Research Ethics Committee before you proceed. 

Make sure the tool you use is compliant with GDPR requirements. Do not record confidential data to a cloud server if it is outside the European Union or adequate safeguarding is not in place. If you use the University of Glasgow’s Zoom service you can record meetings locally. 

Make sure you enable local recording and that you continue to follow the University’s guidance on handling confidential data.

You can also get guidance on GDPR compliance by contacting the University Data Protection Office directly.

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If I suspend my research during the COVID period, my ethics approval will expire. Should I apply for an extension? 

All studies that have been approved by a University ethics committee will be automatically extended for six months. There is no need to apply for extension. If you need to extend your research further, please contact your local ethics officer who will be able to advise as to how you should proceed. 

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Information for staff and students involved in research within the NHS 

NHS resources are currently being directed towards supporting the clinical service during this emergency. Where possible, support for research will continue but will be subject to change and/or delay. Research involving COVID-19 is being prioritised; R&D management approval will not be issued for new studies that do not involve COVID-19 until such time as emergency restrictions are lifted. If your study is taking place within the NHS, you will have been contacted by the R&D Office with guidance. To discuss further, contact information for the Scottish NHS R&D offices can be found on the NHS Research Scotland website.

NB: All non-critical research activity involving face-to-face contact with participants should be suspended with immediate effect unless you have been granted an exemption by the R&D Director. 

If you have further questions about NHS related research, you should contact your Sponsor representative. You will find their name and contact details on your IRAS form, question A4.  

If you are a member of staff and your study is sponsored by NHS GG&C, this will most likely be someone from the R&D department.

If you are a member of staff and your study is sponsored by the University, please contact:  

If you are a University of Glasgow student, and your study is sponsored by either NHS GG&C or the University of Glasgow, you should contact:

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Current Postgraduate Researchers

For additional advice for PGRs please visit the webpage on advice and support for students.

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What support is the University providing for PGR students?

The University’s approach sets out to support students in their funded period, at any stage of their studies, regardless of funding source, as well as those who are self-funded and who are within the minimum period of their degree.

The impact of the disruption on PGR studies will be mitigated in the following ways:

  • Support from supervisors to complete thesis while preserving the quality of your work through the APR process
  • Work with supervisor to quantify the post-mitigation impact of the disruption to your project
  • Financial support in the form of stipend support relating to the impact of the disruption on academic progress.
  • Financial support relating to the costs incurred during disruption.

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How is the level of support I receive determined?

Students will be supported based on the impact that the pandemic has had on their project or on their ability to progress their project. However, externally grant-funded students are expected to utilise any funds their funders make available for COVID-19-related support in the first instance.

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Are Annual Progress Reviews (APRs) being held?

Yes, Annual Progress Reviews are taking place as usual. Your APR is an important part of your studies and an opportunity for you to discuss your progress and forthcoming plans with both your supervisor and an internal reviewer.

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Will the COVID-19 impact on my studies be addressed in my APR?

Yes, given the COVID-19 pandemic and the possible impact on your studies, we are asking you to use the APR to consider the ways in which you think that you and your research have, and will be, affected by the current lockdown. Our main priority is to help you to complete your thesis in a timely manner while preserving the quality of your thesis We encourage you to take the opportunity to discuss the nature of the disruption on your research as part of your APR and consider how to:

  1. Prioritise the continuity of activities that you would normally be doing, as allowed by your projects and personal circumstances.
  2. Reduce the need for a deadline extension, for example by undertaking work that would normally be part of a different stage of your doctoral studies.
  3. Mitigate the effect of the disruption by adapting your thesis to include content that does not require access to e.g. facilities or study participants, or by adapting the way in which you carry out your research and the type of research you undertake.

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What if I have already completed my APR?

You will have an opportunity in June to have the relevant discussion about any mitigating actions required to complete your studies in a timely manner.

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What support will I receive after my APR in implementing mitigation actions?

Following your APR, it is expected that you will start to implement any agreed mitigation actions. Your academic supervisor will work with you to assess the impact on your doctoral studies project once the mitigating actions have been taken into account.

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Will I have access to financial aid?

Yes, students are able to apply for financial aid where they are able to clearly demonstrate current financial difficulty via a shortfall between income and expenditure. Please visit the financial aid webpage for more information. Students may apply for Financial Aid at any time. All applications for COVID-19 support should be submitted via the Hardship Fund process.

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I am an externally grant-funded student, will my funding be extended?

Funded students will be expected to utilise any funds their funders make available for COVID-19-related support in the first instance.

 

  • UKRI (includes all Research Councils) has announced an extension for final year students of up to 6 months. If you are a student who is funded in whole or in part from UKRI and whose funding end date is between 1 March 2020 and 31 March 2021, you will shortly be asked to discuss with your supervisor the extent of disruption and extra time needed, and to provide a brief supporting statement in May 2020.
  • Wellcome Trust has announced an extension for those studentships ending in 2020 of up to 6 months and those ending in 2021 of up to 3 months.
  • Other funder announcements will be posted on the University’s COVID-19 Research Funding website as they become available.

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Will the University be offering financial support related to the impact of the disruption on academic progress?

Yes, the University will be offering financial support in the form of stipend support. You will be able to apply for stipend support in the final 12 months of your funded period or, if you are a self-funded student, in the final year of study of the minimum period of your degree. We are also offering financial support relating to the costs incurred during the disruption itself. 

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I am an externally grant-funded student, am I eligible for stipend support from the University?

Funded students will be expected to utilise any funds their funders make available for COVID-19-related support in the first instance. Only where justified, and where mitigating circumstances are not possible or cannot be sufficient to allow a student to complete their studies to the required standard in the funded period due to the disruption, students will be able to apply to the University for stipend support. 

Applications will only be permitted by students who:

  • Are in the final 12 months of their funded period. Students who are not in their final year during the disruption itself will be eligible to apply for stipend support in the final 12 months of their funded period and
  • Have experienced significant academic disruption and have not been able to mitigate the effect sufficiently, and
  • Have not been provided additional stipend support by their funder or sponsor 

We will only consider requests where it is clear that the need for an extension has resulted from the disruption itself, either because the disruption has affected the project directly or the student’s ability to progress the project.

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I am a self-funded student, am I eligible for stipend support from the University?

Only where justified, and where mitigating circumstances are not possible or cannot be sufficient to allow a student to complete their studies to the required standard in the funded period due to the disruption, students will be able to apply to the University for stipend support.

Applications will only be permitted by students who:

  • Are in the final year of study of the minimum period of their degree or the final year of study of the minimum period of their degree, and
  • Have experienced significant academic disruption and have not been able to mitigate the effect sufficiently

We will only consider requests where it is clear that the need for an extension has resulted from the disruption itself, either because the disruption has affected the project directly or the student’s ability to progress the project. 

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I am within 6 months end of my funded period, will I receive support?

Students who are within 6 months of the end of their funded period will be contacted separately so that their application can be considered sooner, if appropriate.

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I am within the last year of the minimum period of my study, will I receive support?

Students in the last year of the minimum period of their study may request a fee-waived extension of up to 6 months to their study period if they have been impacted by the pandemic.

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If I am eligible for stipend support, what information will I need to provide?

If you are eligible, you will be required to submit:

  • A copy of your most recent APR documentation, where any disruption, approaches to mitigation or outcomes related to this were discussed;
  • A short description of the impact of the disruption on your studies (including dates), the mitigation explored, the effect of mitigation, and the residual impact (including duration).

Your case will then be assessed by your School/Research Institute and College before being forwarded to the Office of the Vice Principal for Research for a final decision.

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If I receive stipend support, can I carry out more research beyond my doctoral work?

No, you cannot. Funding is solely to enable students to complete their doctoral work, and not to carry out more research beyond doctoral work or write papers once doctoral work is complete. Theses should be submitted as soon as they are ready for examination.

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How long will stipend support cover me for?

As the funding for stipend support is limited, it will only be able to cover a proportion of the disruption period for those students that have been most severely impacted. We expect all students, working with their supervisors, to have been able to mitigate the disruption to some degree.

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I am in my thesis pending period, how will I be supported?

Students in their (unfunded) thesis-pending period are eligible to apply for Financial Aid. Students are able to apply for financial aid where they are able to clearly demonstrate current financial difficulty via a shortfall between income and expenditure. Please visit the Financial Aid webpage to apply.

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Will I be able to request an unfunded extension beyond the University submission deadline?

Requests for unfunded extensions for submission of a thesis beyond the University deadline for submission of a thesis (4 years in the case of a PhD), for instance for students in Thesis Pending, should be made in the normal way and will be considered by your College Dean of Graduate Studies. The disruption you have experienced will be taken into account when deciding upon these requests.

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Incoming Postgraduate Researchers

1 October 2020 is the preferred date to start your PhD [or the date on your offer letter].

We will run a full on-line induction and training programme that may be taken remotely for the first month. Most of our doctoral researcher training programme will also be available online and we will offer many remote opportunities to help you become part of the Graduate School and wider University community.  

Research that involves laboratory work may start following the completion of induction (all labs are currently up and running).

Some types of research (such as non-laboratory work) and supervision can be carried out entirely remotely and this may be the most appropriate way for you to work at the moment.  Contact your supervisor, if you believe this applies to your research to discuss requirements for home/remote working. You may also require the agreement of the subject, school or institute convener if you wish to carry out your PhD remotely for a fixed period. You may not continue remotely unless an adequate plan is agreed to ensure sufficient work can be undertaken prior to starting the experimental work. It is important that starting remotely does not affect the overall PhD timescale.

Delayed start dates

We understand there may be good reasons to delay:

  • If it is necessary to travel to Glasgow to begin your research, but there are restrictions preventing travel at this time, then a delay to 5 January 2021 is encouraged [when we will run full on-line induction and training programme]. You may also delay to another start time with the agreement of your supervisor and Graduate School.
  • For subjects where laboratory work is required to commence immediately following on-line induction and training and you are unable to come to Glasgow, you should consider delaying your start-date. Contact your supervisor or the Graduate School in this instance.
  • If your research involves objects, artefacts, archives or fieldwork, you should discuss this with your supervisor. Some kinds of work may be able to be started remotely; in other cases, it may be advisable to delay the start-date.
  • External government sponsors may prefer a delay and the University is happy to support this.

From our point of view, there is no disadvantage in deferring your PhD to a later agreed start date. Scholarship holders should check that this can still be provided with a delayed start.

Delayed arrival to Glasgow

If you are an international student and your arrival to Glasgow to start your research will be delayed beyond January, please complete our:

Office and study space

At present, current staff and research students are not using office spaces on campus. We do not have a confirmed date for the return to office use, but all work that can be undertaken off-campus (ie is not lab-based) should be done at home or remotely at present.

Some study spaces are becoming available on campus with a booking system in place, such as the postgraduate study space in the University Library.

International/EU students remotely starting a funded PhD

You should check with your funder that you can be paid a stipend if you are not in the UK. If you are in receipt of a scholarship, you should contact the Graduate School for advice on opening a bank account to allow stipend payments.

Changes to Normal Working Practices and REF2021 updates

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Will the duties staff perform change? 

In the current circumstances, there are wide-ranging efforts underway to reorganise work across UofG. In some cases, may will involve significant changes to jobs, both in terms of what work is required and how that work is undertaken. Staff should be ready to discuss with their managers how such re-focusing might work and be ready to undertake different duties as requested, which in some cases could mean performing distinctly different roles for a period. This will be a two-way discussion, informed by local business priorities, individual skills, and personal circumstances. 

If staff are redeployed to work in other areas, they will receive support and training from experts in that specific area. 

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Do I need to seek approval to work remotely? 

If you are off work due to sickness, please follow normal sickness reporting protocol. If you are working from home/remotely, you must discuss with your line manager the implications of this and establish any times when you might be required (subject to illness/self-isolation requirements) to attend University premises to work. Remote working will change as and when the University campus gradually re-opens.  

Due to potential requirements for staff to undertake alternative duties, the ability to work at home may not be static – this may vary as and when your role does. When informing your line manager, please indicate the circumstances in which you are at home – for example, working from home with no symptoms; self-isolating due to symptoms (including self-isolation due to the symptoms of another person in your household); or at home due to caring responsibilities.  

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Members of my team are based/currently abroad. What should I be advising them to do? 

Managers should ensure they maintain regular contact with those working abroad as part of normal communications and support. There is no standard advice for those working abroad as the advice required is likely to be specific to the individual and country. The line manager should review the specifics of each individual situation, including ensuring the employee is following local official guidance, the impact of any quarantine or travel restrictions, the requirement for work to be carried out abroad and UK guidance regarding social distancing, hygiene and those deemed to in a high risk category.

Specifically, staff should be advised of:  

  • The risk of being stranded in the country 
  • The risk of contracting Covid-19 while they are overseas with the possibility of having to rely on local health services 
  • The risk of being alone and ill and the difficulty that may bring if self-isolating 

Staff based abroad and their line managers should also ensure they monitor FCO guidance on a regular basis. The University should recommend that employees return to the UK if they wish to – staff should not be required to remain overseas against their will. Employees should be financially supported in this return if they are travelling as part of their work. The cost of returning should not prevent anyone from coming back to the UK if they judge this to be the safest approach. However, we should not compel people to return against their own judgement of the risk they face locally particularly if they judge that they are safer remaining where they are. That may be particularly the case if individuals are familiar with the country and may have local contacts and support. Where there are any concerns, these must be raised locally via School/Institute management and with College HR contacts in the first instance. 

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My contract is due to end soon and my visa will expire shortly after, but I am unable to travel home. What should I do? 

Firstly, you should speak with your line manager to establish whether your contract will be ending as planned. If yes, you should raise your visa concerns with your College HR contact and refer to UKVI guidance and/or speak directly with UKVI. Both College and Central HR teams will keep fully up to date with UKVI guidance and will support you to work through any necessary processes. 

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What happens with funding-end/fixed-term contract staff whose contract is due to expire in the next few months?

We recognise that staff may be concerned about employment security, and that current events may add complications and uncertainty. We have identified all staff with a contract ending until the end of 2020. The University continues to support PIs in making grant applications and is working with PIs to allow new grants to commence at appropriate times. There has been a lot of effort between the PIs and their Project Coordinator to expedite award set up, where possible, to transfer staff to new funding sources. Over and above the normal redeployment support efforts, the research management teams are helping PIs consider where there may be existing staff from other areas that could be relevant to new grants that are due to commence, in order that recruitment and redeployment can occur in a timely way. We are also continuing to openly recruit to new research funded positions, with normal priority consideration of any staff that are nearing a contract end date.

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I need to access University facilities to conduct essential work. How do I prove my key worker status if asked by authorities? 

Some essential services necessitate a small number of staff attending the University to perform some or all their duties. This is classified as “Key Worker” activity under government guidance. Your School/Institute maintains details of all staff in this category. Although there is no legal requirement for key workers to carry evidence, some authorities and service providers might request documentary evidence. Key workers are advised to ensure that they carry their University staff card and general ID documentation, and the University can provide a letter specifying that the individual is a key worker. If you are a key worker and require such a letter, then please contact your local Head of Professional Services. Key worker status will be kept under ongoing review in order that on-site attendance requirements can be kept to a minimum, and as such the Key Worker letter would normally be reviewed and renewed monthly. 

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What will happen to ‘critical’ buildings (those that must maintain some level of service, for example facilities)? 

Some buildings contain essential services and facilities which require a continuous level of service provision and plans have been introduced to safely support. 

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Can I postpone my planned annual leave? 

The normal annual leave protocols continue to apply. Please discuss any proposed leave cancellation/postponement with your line manager. We recognise that planned holidays over several days duration away from home are not possible at present and that staff may wish to cancel planned holidays having discussed with their line manager. Staff should, nonetheless, consider taking days off (i.e. not working) during the lock-down to relax and pursue hobbies in their homes and gardens to help preserve their physical and mental wellbeing. Line managers will continue to work with individuals and across their teams to ensure that leave arrangements are staggered and coordinated with operational needs. 

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Can I carry more annual leave over to next year? 

The University/College will try to be flexible regarding leave and carry-over requests within the constraints of needing to have sufficient staff to maintain the University's core business. The formal University policy position regarding carry over remains unchanged given that as it stands we hope that for most staff taking normal annual leave across the year can still be planned and accommodated and so avoid the need for special extra carry over, but certainly we recognise that there may be special cases and possible wider review. 

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PDR was the only time my PI and I talked about career development – how can I have these conversations outside of PDR? 

Although the formal PDR process will not run this year, the main principles of PDR concern matters that staff and their line managers will want to cover anyway as part of normal catchups and review discussions. This includes discussions around planning work and career development. All staff should feel able and supported to continue to have these discussions with their line manager and other colleagues at any time in whatever format is most suitable.  

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When can we safely go back to work while maintaining social distancing? How will this be achieved? 

At this stage, without further clarity from the government, we cannot give specific details on this. However, the University is discussing how we can best get the University back on its feet. We must accept that some things may operate differently for a time. Once we have details of this, we will share these with you at the earliest opportunity. 

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I heard that REF2021 is delayed. What is the new submission date? Has anything else changed? 

The Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021 was suspended while institutions respond to the effects of COVID-19. After consultation with the sector, the revised deadline has been announced as the 31st March 2021. Further details can be found at https://www.ref.ac.uk/. Additional guidance and any mitigations against COVID-19 effects will be announced by the 31st July 2020. You can find out the latest information on the REF2021 webpage.

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Volunteering with the NHS

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Who might be asked to volunteer for NHS work? 

  1. Clinical academics with relevant medical skills 
  2. Staff with relevant scientific and technical skills, e.g. PCR testing 

All medical clinical academics have been invited to indicate to their College whether they would volunteer for enhanced NHS duties, and this information is being shared with the NHS. Staff identified as relevant will then be contacted, and some such arrangements are already being put in place. As the situation evolves there may be further requests for volunteers. Your College will consider essential teaching and assessment work when discussing with the NHS what level of NHS duties could be accommodated. 

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If I volunteer to help the NHS, will I have to work at another location? 

You should be prepared to work from different locations, as demand necessitates. Staff will be deployed based on experience. MVLS are coordinating all volunteering with the NHS. 

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I am studying a PhD and have been asked to volunteer for the NHS, can I do this?  

Yes. The College can ‘stop the clock’ on your studies, so that you can recommence studies when you return from voluntary activities. Speak to your supervisor and relevant others to develop a contingency plan and manage the practicalities associated with your absence. 

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How do I go about volunteering for the COVID-19 Testing Centre, Glasgow Lighthouse Lab. What does it mean for my contract? 

There is an online portal for volunteer registration. If you are selected to serve in the testing centre, you will be formally seconded, your normal salary would be maintained and normal duties would be suspended to allow for full focus on the testing centre role. If you are on furlough, you will be moved off furlough and formally seconded to the Glasgow Lighthouse Lab.

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Furlough

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What is furlough and what does it mean for my contract?

“Furloughing”, formally termed the CJRS, provides support to UK employers in paying staff whose work has been made temporarily prevented due to the pandemic - essentially to help avoid short-term redundancies and or significant pay reductions across the UK economy. Furlough leave is for minimally 3 weeks and can be on an alternating basis. Government eligibility rules are quite tight, in that you cannot work for the University during this time. There will be no impact on future career progression if you are put on furlough. Furlough is applicable to all job families regardless of contract type in accordance with the scheme guidelines. For more details on the furlough scheme please visit the UofG Job Retention Scheme webpage.

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How is the decision being made on who to furlough? 

The decision on who to furlough is based on the extent to which your work can be performed in the current circumstances. In some cases where there is reduced level of work across a team the line manager will have discussed with staff individual circumstances and preferences to determine which staff should be furloughed and who can continue working. In some instances, this has included a rota to help balance the remaining work across team members over this period. 

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Which funders are in scope? 

We have received clear information from some funders, for example: small charities within the Association of Medical Research Charities have advised that they are furloughing staff and expect HEIs to likewise. For publicly funded research via UKRI the UK government advised that “where research work has been paused” consideration should be made. Project Coordinators across the Colleges are working to clearly identify the funder status.

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What impact will being furloughed have on a postdocs career? 

There will be no negative impact on anyone’s career that is put on furlough. This is a temporary measure for those who are unable to work productively during the coronavirus pandemic. Salaries are being maintained at the full level, while the furlough scheme is live and until we can come back to normal. Efforts being made within each research group to ensure that there is relevant engagement with the research funders and planning for the resumption of project activity in due course. The monies recovered via the furlough scheme can support the resumption of research.  

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I can work from home but am far from being productive just now. Is there a way to extend external funds or support me other than being furloughed? 

Unless there are funder specific alternatives, it will normally be appropriate for the University to utilise the furlough scheme

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have not been furloughed but I am working on things other than what my grant has funded, should I be furloughed? Will there be any funds to extend these grants? 

Project Coordinators are working with the PIs to identify any staff who are eligible for furlough, i.e. those staff who cannot work productively from home. Your line manager will discuss with you, to identify if you are to be furloughed and we are working with HR to identify what can and cannot be done whilst on furlough. 

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I feel that not being furloughed is a distinct disadvantage as other postdocs on furlough are still being paid and now have essentially an extension of their work. 

In some cases where work can continue remotely the project can continue and would be completed within the original timeframe. Where not possible then the salary recovery during furlough will be used to help fund an appropriate project extension. In all cases staff members continue to receive their full normal salary, even though the recovery through furlough is a lower level. 

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When will I get clarity on whether I am being furloughed? 

A process has been followed to identify which research funded staff are potentially relevant for furlough, given the nature of the impact on the work, and where the funder position means that a furlough eligibility requirements are met, this is then being formally declared in writing to those staff members.

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How long is the furlough scheme that the University is aiming to? When will we receive a confirmation letter from HR on being furloughed? 

The furlough scheme currently runs until 30 June 2020, however at the time of writing this the UK Government has just announced that the scheme will be extended in some form until October 2020. We do not know the details of this extension yet. Letters are being issues to staff as and when the applicability details are clarified - many staff have already received letters, and in other cases will know of intentions from initial discussions with line managers.

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Can people on parental leave be furloughed? 

The rules on this have been changing as the government scheme has been updated, but current position appears to be that furlough could be used in respect of University payments that go beyond UK statutory family leave levels. It may also be relevant to transfer an individual on to furlough at the end of a period of family-related leave, if they are unable to undertake their role for reasons related to the pandemic. 

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Can Research Fellows be furloughed? 

As with other research funded staff, it will depend on feasibility of working during the lockdown and the funder provisions. 

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Is the money saved being used for extensions / returned to charity funders? Where is the money coming from to cover the 20% top-up? 

From a research grant perspective, there will be a salary saving because of the furlough scheme, this budget will be available for the PI to extend contracts as required. The University is covering the salary top up, i.e. the salary costs not covered by the scheme which is 80% up to a cap of £2,500 per month. 

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What career development activities can research-funded staff carry out if they are furloughed? 

While you are on furlough, and therefore not performing your contractual duties, you are nevertheless able to pursue career development opportunities should you wish to do so, and your personal circumstances allow it. We appreciate, however, that this might not be possible. If you do pursue career development opportunities, you will still be able to access University systems for such purposes. Activities that you undertake while on furlough must not provide a service to the University. You should seek advice from your PI about which opportunities are best suited to you, and which activities are permitted or otherwise during furlough. 

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Will furlough mean an extension of my research contract? 

The full impact of COVID-19 on research projects will not be fully understood until we start to get back to research. The PI will need to assess the overall impact, if the original research plans can still be achieved within the available budget, how to best utilise any funds available, etc. In the cases where the Project has a fixed end date, and the funder will not allow for an extension, then the PI will need to assess best action to address. This will be dependent on the project. The PI and their Project Coordinator will try and negotiate with the funder to reassess the fixed end date, as appropriate. 

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Would furlough invalidate my work visa? 

No, UKVI have confirmed that furlough use does not interfere with work visas. We are not reducing salaries for staff on furlough so no reporting to UKVI is required. Although cards say “no recourse to public funds” UKVI have confirmed that as the money is processed through the University as employer, the individual would not be deemed to be accessing public funds. 

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I will need support from HR to apply for a visa extension in the coming months. Can I confirm that HR is still going to be open during furlough?

Yes, HR remains fully open and will give staff assistance as required in respect of visa issues. As normal, we are monitoring which staff have approaching visa end dates and contact staff to clarify plans and encourage staff to contact us at an early stage with any queries. We have ensured that all Tier 2 staff with end dates by end of May have been sponsored for extension and have their personal application process in hand. There might be delays from UKVI on issuing updated biometrics cards BRP, but we know that the permission to work can extend anyway while BRPs aware awaited.  

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I am here on a Tier 2 working visa under the University sponsorship. If I were furloughed for 3 months, would my visa be extended for 3 months to finish my research? 

The University should be able to extend the Tier 2 sponsorship for the period that the role continued to be needed. The exact duration would depend on the nature of the work required and funding available, rather than being directly determined by the furlough period. The University would need to confirm that the job content and salary remains the same for any extension period. 

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