Information for AIRC Applicants and Recipients of AIRC Funding, in relation to the Covid-19 emergency

The worldwide dramatic impact of SARS-CoV-2 pandemic on the health care systems is also considerably impinging on cancer research. Researchers are facing many problems due to administrative constraints, disruptions, limitations and repurposing of their activities in relation to the clinical and public health response to Sars-CoV-2.

At AIRC we are well aware that many researchers are concerned about both their currently funded research and the possibility of continuing or resuming their research as soon as possible. Please be assured that AIRC is fully committed to supporting cancer research during these challenging times.

The following information may be useful to AIRC researchers; fellows and grant officers to manage AIRC funded grants and fellowships in this difficult time

Stay up to date:

• This is a rapidly evolving situation.
• Information provided in this statement is current as of April 21, 2020 and may be further updated.
• Updates of general interest will be added on this page; notices on specific grants and fellowships will be sent out by email.

AIRC offices are virtually open:

• AIRC Scientific Directorate staff is working remotely.
• We continue to process Calls for proposals and deadlines, applications and peer review process, progress- and final reports, administrative reports etc.
• We offer augmented flexibilities regarding expenditures of funds and other administrative procedures and deadlines.
• We are helping our colleagues at AIRC communication department to disseminate publications of results emerged by AIRC funded projects in oncology and in Sars-CoV-2 related researches.
• We are in contact with other cancer research funders in the world, sharing possible measures and solutions to mitigate the impact of Sars-CoV-2 public health emergency.
• All our web resources and platforms are regularly working, thanks to our colleagues working remotely to maintain our IT infrastructure.
• Our secretarial staff is assisting researchers and staff by email and telephone.
• We welcome any result that AIRC funded research may provide to help Sars-CoV-2 public health emergency.

Patient care and researcher safety:

• AIRC is deeply concerned for the health and safety of people and patients involved in clinical research funded by our grants, and more in general about the effects of the Sars-CoV-2 public health emergency on the biomedical research field.
• AIRC is providing several administrative flexibilities to help the research continue or resume as soon as it will be possible, while ensuring the safety of all human participants and research staff involved in clinical trials.

Multi unit grants (5 per mille “metastasis”):

• The in itinere evaluation for active programs scheduled in 2021 will be postponed.

Co-funded programs (Accelerator Award):

• The Accelerator Award 2020 Call in collaboration with CRUK and FC-AECC has been regularly published in early March. The first deadline for the presentation of expressions of interest has been delayed to the autumn (date to be confirmed).

Peer review evaluation of individual grants (IG, MFAG, Start-Up):

• AIRC Call for Individual grant applications and progress reports have opened regularly and are now closed.
• The evaluations by peer review of proposals submitted to AIRC is progressing regularly.
• Site visits to laboratories and institutions may be delayed and/or planned remotely.
• We are conducting meetings virtually and are planning for future peer review- and study section meetings to be done remotely in case the emergency will continue.
• AIRC renewal requests will open regularly but the deadline will be extended, most likely to September 2020 (details will be provided in the specific instructions).

Fellowships funding schemes:

• Calls for proposals for AIRC and FIRC fellowships for Italy and abroad will be published shortly, as planned.
• A new Call for iCARE-2 fellowships grants is not foreseen in 2020.
• AIRC will be flexible with extending time constraints for active fellowships (AIRC, FIRC, iCARE-2), in case work and travel are limited by the Sars-CoV-2 emergency.

Salaries and stipends, and other administrative flexibilities:

• Funds for consumables may be used to cover salaries and stipends for staff and fellows involved in AIRC funded projects, working remotely, within the requirements and rules of the relevant Calls for proposals.
• More in general, there is flexibility on the redistribution of financial resources.
• We are flexible regarding deadline for expenditures of funds, and no cost extensions may be asked for, when needed.
• The activities for the negotiation and stipulation of framework agreements with host institutions for research projects and fellowships are regularly underway remotely, with a flexible approach on deadlines.
• Activities for grant acceptances, redistribution of financial resources, affiliation certificates and any other documents, continue regularly, with a flexible approach.
• Disbursements of funds for grants and fellowships are continuing regularly, as well as the assistance to researchers and grant officers.

Closure of projects and auditing:

• Deadlines for sending administrative reporting have been postponed.
• We are postponing in site auditing visits to research institutions.

Others:

•          At the moment AIRC does not foresee any specific Call for proposals on Covid-19.

Contacts:

For contacts, please visit this page

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