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CSO statement on Coronavirus (COVID-19) impact on research

CSO statement on Coronavirus (COVID-19) impact on research

19th March 2020

The rapidly evolving Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation will necessitate changes to arrangements for health research in order to help protect the safety of research participants and researchers and to allow clinical research staff to support the NHS.  As a consequence, we recognise that many research studies that CSO funds, or that are supported by NHS Research Scotland, may need to be paused or changes made to research plans.

Principal investigators should consider the impact of the current situation on their research teams and research participants and liaise closely and follow the advice of their research sponsor organisations. Advice has been issued by NHS Research Scotland on arrangements for clinical research studies and trials: Read here

CSO will continue to honour CSO research grant or fellowship awards that are paused. Principal investigators should work with their grant holding institutions to consider and make adjustments to research plans and payment profiles as appropriate. These should then be discussed and agreed with the relevant CSO research manager. Since this is an evolving situation, arrangements should be kept under review. 

The 26 NHS Research Scotland (NRS) Topic Specific Networks are the key national bodies for supporting health research activity in Scotland. CSO recognises that core network activity is likely to decrease during the current COVID-19 epidemic. It is crucial that we act to maximise front-line clinical capacity at this time. CSO will therefore support the redeployment of NRS Network staff to non-research clinical duties. Our core mission remains the support of health research and the top priority for resource allocation is the support of COVID-19 related research studies

At the current time, CSO and NRS will prioritise research relating to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) response. CSO is supporting COVID-19 research in Scotland funded through the UKRI rapid response call and is working with research governance bodies to prioritise this research. Researchers should note that those involved in research governance approvals may also be involved in the frontline response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic and will also be prioritising review of Coronavirus (COVID-19) related research studies.

CSO is also exploring what additional support it might be able to provide for Coronavirus (COVID-19) research studies in Scotland, and this statement will be updated once this had been considered further.

CSO will continue to work closely with NHS Research Scotland, is in close contact with other health research funding organisations across the UK, and will update advice as appropriate.

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