Grant Policy Changes for Psychological Science Funders Resulting From COVID-19

Learn about how COVID-19 is affecting grant policies of psychological science funders

With COVID-19 disrupting life around the world, funding agencies are issuing policy updates and other guidance related to grants and contracts. APS is collecting updates from major psychological science funders and will link to information as it is published. Check back for updates on new and changed funder policies.

View all the latest funding and policy news on the Federal Research, Funding, and Policy page.

National Institutes of Health (NIH), United States

NIH has announced that it will be highly accommodating to late grant applications through May 1, 2020. NIH anticipates that applications submitted by that date will be reviewed in the council round they were submitted to (e.g. August or October 2020). The NIH statement says, “All grant applications submitted late for due dates between March 9, 2020, and May 1, 2020, will be accepted through May 1, 2020.” Applications submitted after the May 1st deadline may be not be reviewed until October-November, 2020.

View the full announcement here: UPDATE: NIH Late Application Policy Due to Public Health Emergency for United States for 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

NIH also states that:

For Funding Opportunity Announcements that expire prior to May 1, 2020, NIH will extend the expiration date for 90 days to accommodate the submission of late applications and will be adjusted to allow NIH to receive applications. Additionally:

  • Reference Letters for Fellowships and Career Development Award applications submitted during this interval will also be accepted through May 1, 2020.
  • Non-AIDS applications eligible for continuous submission (NOT-OD-20-060) will also be accepted through May 1, 2020
  • Some Institute/Center (IC)-reviewed FOAs with due dates during this time may be able to accept applications beyond the May 1, 2020 deadline. However, applicants must contact the IC first, to confirm that a later deadline is possible.

For updated general information regarding NIH’s policies, click here

As of 7/22/2020

Guidance for NIH-funded Clinical Trials and Human Subjects Studies:

NIH encourages recipients to consult with their IRB and institution. “As outlined in the NIH Grants Policy Statement, recipients may extend the final budget period of the approved project on active grants one time for up to 12 months without requesting prior approval from NIH.” NIH will also allow for additional extensions for awards supporting NIH-funded clinical trials and human subjects research.

View the full notice here: NOT-OD-20-087

As of 3/16/2020

National Science Foundation (NSF), United States

NSF has released answers to frequently asked questions regarding how grants might be affected due to COVID-19. NSF will allow one-year grantee approved no-cost extensions on projects that have been disrupted by COVID-19 (as approved by NSF). NSF notes that, “If you foresee a need for NSF-approved extensions, you should include that information in your annual report and discuss the need ahead of time with the cognizant NSF program officer for your award.” Those who have conference or event grants for which the conference has been canceled should contact their program officer regarding next steps. More information for grant holders can be found on the frequently asked questions page. NSF notes that deadlines for some funding opportunities have been extended. For a complete list, visit the Impact on Existing Deadlines page on the NSF website. NSF is still reviewing other extensions on a case by case basis.

As of 7/22/2020

Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), Canada

Canada’s Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council has released a statement for researchers who have received federal funding for travel to meetings or other research-related activities. The statement notes that, “If you must cancel or postpone travel or events paid through agency funds, we will consider the costs associated with the changes as allowable project expenses, provided they align with agency policies. The Agencies are also canceling or postponing non-essential events and travel at least until early April (more details to come).” The statement notes that the Tri-agency will continue to monitor and adjust program application deadlines and reporting deadlines as necessary. Please consult the relevant agency websites for updates: CIHRNSERC, and SSHRC.

The Agencies also note that there will be disruptions to grants, saying that “Academic institutions can immediately approve extension requests of up to 12 months to agency grants with an end date between February 1, 2020, and March 31, 2021, inclusively.” This will have no impact to grants awarded for the Fall 2020 competition.

COVID-19 related exceptions to tri-agency post-award regulations for research training award holders:

Recipients of a Training Award (Master’s, doctoral, or postdoctoral) may defer the start date of their award . They may also request an unpaid internship for up to four months for COVID-19 related situations. Dates can be adjusted to align with the next start date (May 1, 2020; September 1, 2020; or January 1, 2021) for master’s or doctoral award holders.

“The agencies will continue to support training award holders who, given the challenges posed by the COVID-19 situation, can only devote part-time hours to their research. They may continue to hold their awards, and SSHRC will pay the full amount of the award. The amount will not be prorated, and the end date of the award will remain unchanged.”

SSHRC Extranet for Applicants:

The SSHRC Extranet for Applicants is a new system that allows SSHRC to communicate results to applicants. Applicants will be able to view the results of their funding applications. SSHRC notes that, “Applicants will receive, via email, information on how to activate their account on the site. Once the result documents have been uploaded, applicants will receive a subsequent email inviting them to view the results.”

Updated 4/29/2020

COVID-19: Impacts on SSHRC‘s policies and programs

View the full notice the Canadian Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council here.

The latest news from the Canadian Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council can be found here.

As of 7/22/2020

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), United Kingdom

For Institutions/Grant Holders/Applicants:

UKRI is planning for funded programs to continue. UKRI is working on understanding what impact COVID-19 will have on funded projects. “UKRI recognises that the current situation may present additional challenges to those intending to apply. To help with that, the deadlines on all open funding opportunities will be extended to give applicants more time to submit their applications. These extensions will be managed on a case by case basis. ‘No-cost’ extension requests to grants impacted by coronavirus will be allowed.”

Training Grants/Students:

UKRI recognizes that students may find themselves unable to complete essential tasks and/or experiments in order to be ready to submit their thesis, due to disruptions caused by COVID-19. To avoid unnecessary pressure on students, students should continue to receive their stipends and extensions to submission dates should be awarded when needed.

Student health and wellbeing should be the priority during this unprecedented and uncertain time and no penalties will be applied to Research Organisations as a result of COVID-19 extensions.

UKRI Training Grants Specific Guidance – please click here to view new additional guidance.


UKRI has released a statement noting that for instances where travel is impacted due to COVID-19, grant recipients can charge those costs to the grant. UKRI states, “If researchers or students cannot travel due to government/official advice, or it poses a risk to the individual (due to an underlying medical condition etc.), this can be charged to the grant in line with any other cost. If that cost cannot be absorbed by any overall underspend on the grant then UKRI will cover that small addition.”

As of 7/22/2020

European Research Council (ERC), EU

Currently, panel evaluations for proposals are being organized remotely. ERC is able to finalize Step 1 evaluations of Starting Grants on time. ERC is offering flexibility for researchers to adjust their research projects.

ERC does note that, “We are aware that many ERC funded research projects are facing disruption and delays that will require postponing the start date, for those which have not started yet, or extending the project duration, or other actions. We invite ERC grantees and their host institutions to flag any problems to their usual counterparts in the ERC’s scientific and granting departments. We are collecting and analysing these requests, and we invite ERC grantees to consult the FAQs for beneficiaries of the Horizon 2020 Programme to find adequate solutions using the flexibility provided by the grant agreement.”

Coronavirus – Business Continuity Measures at the ERC

As of 7/22/2020

Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (German Research Foundation; DFG), Germany

The latest news can be found here.

As of 7/22/2020

Australian Research Council (ARC), Australia

The ARC will continue the National Competitive Grants Program (NCGP) following the standard process to manage applications, peer review, and any post award activities. Researchers seeking funding should apply normally. Selection Advisory Committee meetings will be held with video conference due to travel restrictions around the world. New closing dates for some grants are as follows:

  • Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA) 2022 application – November 25, 2020

For those who currently hold ARC funding, and may experience disruptions due to coronavirus, the following deadlines will be extended:

  • Final Reports – initial three month extensions will be automatically approved by the ARC on request. Noting that submission dates for final reports vary project by project and that extensions may impact researchers’ eligibility for future applications, it is not practical to provide a blanket extension. 

The ARC also notes that, “Looking to the longer term, the ARC is also working through ways we can minimise the administration of current projects—once the full extent of the impact is known. We are working with researchers and research offices on the many scenarios they are facing due to the disruption, or inability to progress their research. We have been advised of difficulties in contracting or keeping partner organisations associated with ARC grants. If you experience this, we encourage you to contact your Research Office and we will work with them to provide additional assistance. “

View the full Australian Research Council statement here.

View an update from the ARC CEO regarding research and next steps.

View grant updates as they are published here

As of 7/22/2020

Notice a policy change that APS Members might want to know about? Send tips to [email protected].

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