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 progressively going back to normal. 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 December 15, 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 gradually reopening:

• AIRC Scientific Directorate staff is working partly in the office and partly remotely.
• We never stopped processing Calls for proposals and deadlines, applications and peer review process, progress- and final reports, administrative reports etc. and will continue to do so.
• We offer researchers 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 also in Sars-CoV-2 related researches, especially if they are related to cancer and/or might help cancer patients cope with the pandemics.
• 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 on the oncological research.
• All our web resources and platforms are regularly working, thanks to our colleagues working both in house and 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, especially if they might help cancer patients cope with the pandemics.

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 progressively going back to normal, 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 has been postponed to 2022.
• Retreats will occur regularly, with the attendance of the programs’ advisors and AIRC staff, remotely or in person, based on what will allow the evolution of the pandemic.

Co-funded programs (Accelerator Award):

• The Accelerator Award Calls in collaboration with CRUK and FC-AECC are currently on hold. They may resume depending on the success of fund raising activities of the charities supporting this scheme. Funding for active Accelerator Awards will continue.

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

• AIRC Call for Individual grant applications and progress reports have opened regularly in 2020 and are now closed.
• The evaluation by peer review of proposals submitted to AIRC in 2020 is now concluded.
• Site visits to laboratories and institutions have been conducted remotely or have been postponed.
• We have been conducting meetings virtually and peer review- and study section meetings have been done remotely in 2020.
• AIRC renewal requests in 2020 have opened regularly, the deadline has been extended (details have been provided in the specific instructions) and are now closed.
• AIRC Calls for Individual grant applications and progress reports will open regularly in 2021, with mitigating measures meant to help applicants in this difficult situation.
• The in itinere evaluation of active individual grants will be done regularly, details will be communicated timely.

Fellowships funding schemes:

• Calls for proposals for AIRC and FIRC fellowships for Italy and abroad in 2020 have been published as planned and are now closed.
• The evaluations by peer review of proposals submitted to AIRC in 2020 are now concluded.
• AIRC is 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.
• The Calls for proposals for fellowships for Italy and abroad will open regularly in 2021, with mitigating measures meant to help applicants in this difficult situation.

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, partly 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 have postponed in site auditing visits to research institutions and have been planning for the same activities done remotely.

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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