COVID-19 – Message for Grant Holders from Carla Owen, Chief Executive, Animal Free Research UK

COVID-19 is impacting on all of us in myriad ways, both professionally and personally.

We know that it will have a serious impact on our supporters and our researchers, people waiting for better treatments for diseases and animals in laboratories. We are committed to working with our communities to find the best possible solutions for us all.

We want to be as flexible and supportive as possible and understand this time of uncertainty will have a significant impact on the research we fund, as well as the health and well-being of our researchers.

We’re working together with our Scientific Advisory Panel to find the best ways we can come together and support animal free medical research now and in the future.

We know that you may have significant challenges in the coming months. Our research community could be called upon to provide essential support in the fight against COVID-19.

We’re aware that clinical research has slowed or halted, and that universities have entered a shutdown.

We recognise that as a result, research projects may temporarily pause or potentially close down as a result of the impact of COVID-19.

We are here to support you – during this time of global pandemic and beyond.  Here’s how we are helping:

Current research

  • The decision to pause or close down any research is a local decision made by the principal investigator. We support any local decision and will work with teams after the crisis to explore how research projects can be reinstated.
  • We will support the delay of any research that has been recently awarded but not yet started in the event that it is not possible to recruit.
  • Student health and wellbeing should be the priority during this unprecedented and uncertain time and no penalties will be applied as a result of COVID-19 extensions.
  • We recognise that students may find themselves unable to complete essential tasks and/or experiments in order to be ready to submit their thesis, for example due to illness, caring responsibilities or departmental or institution closures. To avoid unnecessary pressure, students should continue to receive their stipends and extensions to submission dates will be awarded when needed.
  • Where individuals working on research projects become unwell or need to self-isolate, we will follow the employing organisation’s own policy, in line with your Grant Agreement.
  • We will be flexible on the use of underspend to cover any exceptional and additional cost incurred by the COVID-19 pandemic to keep your research activities going.
  • We will offer no-cost extensions to your award if needed. Please contact our Grants Manager to discuss arrangements for this via
  • We will consider costed extensions in exceptional circumstances on a case by case basis.
  • Costs for extensions in the first instance should be met by grant underspend. We will work closely with primary investigators to understand the impact of these extensions, including the costs associated with the extensions (in terms of stipends and research costs). Further guidance will be provided in due course.

Summer Student programme

We have cancelled this year’s Summer Students Programme and contacted all applicants to inform them. We will carry over research proposals to 2021.

Conference bursaries

ACTC 2020 has been postponed. Abstracts will be valid for the new date and conference bursaries will be rolled over.

WC11 is currently still planned to take place in Maastricht at the end of August and the organisers have extended the deadline for abstract submissions until 31 March.  We will communicate with grant holders about registration bursaries nearer the time.

Support from Animal Free Research UK

Our team is continuing to work from home to support you. Please contact our Grants Manager to update us about any changes to your activity or with concerns you may have.

For general enquiries about our research please contact


Page last modified on April 2, 2020 9:18 am

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