UKRI Launches Coronavirus Rapid Response Call

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) has launched a £20 million rapid research call for novel coronavirus research to ensure that world-class UK academic and industry expertise can initiate new and additional research as quickly as possible.

UK researchers, working with international partners where appropriate, should submit proposals for projects lasting up to 18 months to develop vaccines, therapeutics, diagnostics or to address the epidemiology, spread or underpinning knowledge of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak that emerged from Wuhan City, China. Projects supported through this call will contribute to the understanding, diagnosis, prevention and management of the virus, including the study of behaviours that may contribute to how it is spread and can be contained.

The rapid funding call will encompass the following two separate elements:

Active Intervention Development (Deadline 13 February 2020) – Focus areas:

Vaccines, with prioritisation of those with potential for rapid clinical development.

Therapeutics, with prioritisation of those with potential for rapid clinical development.

Diagnosis and Understanding of 2019-nCoV (Deadline 27 February 2020) – Focus areas:


Clinical, including clinical investigations aimed at understanding the natural history of disease.


Anthropology investigations and wider social science.

Underpinning and other research projects that would make a significant contribution to the understanding, diagnosis, prevention and/or management of the 2019-nCoV outbreak.

The priorities for this second call may be further refined following the international research and innovation forum meeting at the WHO on the 11-12th February.

The call will contribute to the global response by actively collaborating with and being informed by the WHO’s Global Coordinating Mechanism (GCM) for R&D in epidemics, the Global Infectious Disease Collaboration for Infectious Disease Preparedness (GloPID-R) and the CEPI. This call will also coordinate with the calls announced by Wellcome and the European Commission.

Academic Principal Investigators applying for this call must be hosted by a UK institution eligible for UKRI funding. Principal Investigators may only submit one application as a Principal Investigator, but may be involved in more applications if listed as a Co-Investigator. Research institutes, including UKRI Units/Institutes, for which the Research Councils have established a long-term involvement as major funder, are also eligible for this call.

Applications from Small and Medium Enterprises (including start-up or ‘spin-out’ companies), government arms-length bodies, and NHS organisations (including NHS Trusts and NHS Foundation Trusts), and equivalent UK authorities are also encouraged in alignment with NIHR funding policies. Awards to UK-based, non-SME commercial entities will be also considered.

£20 million is available in total for the two calls supported by this fund. This amount is expected to fund several awards in both calls. The size of grants will vary according to the needs of each research project.

Applicants must submit and application form by the following deadlines:

Active intervention development: 13 February 2020.

Diagnosing and understanding 2019-nCoV: 27 February 2020.

Grants are expected to start within four weeks of award notification.

More information about this research funding opportunity and the application process is available on the RESEARCHconnect funding information platform. RESEARCHconnect provides up-to-the minute content, insight and analysis on research funding news and policy. To find out more about how RESEARCHconnect can keep you in the know, and subscription fees, contact us today.