Guidelines for ongoing research impeded by the corona crisis

4 June 2020

The scale and the impact of the corona crisis is becoming increasingly palpable. Science has been hit hard as well: research is delayed due to the closure of buildings, access to laboratories is limited, recruiting staff has become more difficult, trips are being cancelled... to name but a few examples. NWO is aware that this unprecedented crisis is also creating unprecedented situations and raising new questions and challenges that differ from one research project to another.

We therefore want to be as flexible as possible as we attempt to come up with appropriate solutions with researchers. An initial priority is to complete, to the extent possible, NWO-funded research that has been delayed or frozen by the crisis. To provide guidance, NWO is now announcing guidelines that it will apply in the event of changes to ongoing NWO research that is delayed as a result of the crisis.

Guidelines regarding ongoing NWO research

There are four starting points for the guidelines for ongoing research experiencing delays as a result of the crisis:

  • Extension of the starting date:

Researchers will be given more time to launch their project. Projects for which the starting date expires before 31-12-2020 will now all receive an automatic extension of the starting date until 31-12-2020. A further extension is possible at the request of the project leader, up to a maximum of what is usually permitted, plus three months (six months for consortium and/or co-funded projects).

  • A fourmonth delay for all reporting deadlines for ongoing research:

NWO will accommodate requests from project leaders to postpone the submission of interim or final reports. The project leader will have to submit a request for postponement to NWO, however.

  • Adjustments within the framework and budget of ongoing research:

NWO will do its best to accommodate requests for changes to the research plan, project extensions and/or budget shifts. One condition, however, is that these requests aim to complete the project within the framework and the budget of the research project, and that the appointed PhD candidates conduct research that leads to a dissertation.

  • Report any problems with the delivery of cofunding to NWO immediately:

If partners in collaborative projects are unable to deliver the intended co-funding (cash or in-kind) as a result of the corona crisis, then the project leader must report this to NWO as soon as possible so suitable measures can be taken. Indeed, the starting point in that respect is that a commitment to co-funding is not without obligation.

Read the more detailed, complete guidelines regarding the above-mentioned points here

Other NWO measures

The above measures are a supplement to the measures previously announced by NWO as a result of the corona crisis. In early April, NWO announced that it would make 13 million euros available for corona-related research. Through its Taskforce for Applied Research, NWO will also make a one-off sum of 10 million euros available for the universities of applied science, see also ‘Impuls 2020’, in order to maintain the research infrastructure for practical research. In addition to these urgent one-off investments, NWO is now faced with the challenge of getting regular research funding back up to standard via indirect funding as soon as possible. This is important to prevent the Dutch knowledge infrastructure from suffering further damage as a result of the corona crisis.

Below is an overview of all measures that NWO has already taken to date. More detailed information about these measures can be found here.

Resuming frozen calls and new calls in 2020

The following starting points apply to the resumed calls that were frozen and to new calls in 2020:

  • Closure of noncomplex rounds (i.e. those that do not require a consortium or co-funding:

Rounds that were frozen due to social distancing measures will now be resumed. To give all researchers sufficient opportunity to submit, a non-complex round has to have been published at least four months at the time of closing and the final closing date must be communicated at least two months before closing.

  • Closure of complex rounds:

As it is difficult to establish consortiums in this situation, applicants will be given more time to do so. The round for frozen complex instruments has to have been published at least six months before closing; the final closure date must be communicated two months before closing.

  • Online interviews:

For resumed calls that are in the interview phase, NWO will conduct online interviews. NWO has developed and tested a protocol for this purpose.

In June, NWO will publish a timetable for instruments for the rest of the year, taking these starting points into account. We take the summer period into account as much as possible in our timetable and, where possible, avoid setting deadlines for instruments with the same target group too close together.

Source: NWO