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Research Funding COVID-19 Update #1

Royal Society Te Apārangi is taking steps to try to minimise the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic on its operations, while ensuring the safety and wellbeing of our staff, the people and communities with whom we work. Kia tū, kia oho, kia mataara tātou. Let us all be vigilant against COVID-19

Published 27 March 2020 

Like other organisations around Aotearoa, many of our staff are now working remotely.  We are doing our best to ensure that the Society remain operational during this exceptional period.  This might mean a slight delay in responses to emails and phone calls.  Please see below for more information on our current funding schemes.  We will update this regularly.

More updates will follow.  In the meantime, take care of your whānau family and loved ones, and look after yourself, as we settle into this new way of doing things.

Update for Applicants

At this stage, our expectations are that funding rounds will continue as already outlined in the published timelines.  Further details by fund or scheme can be seen below.

We will revisit this position if work conditions in New Zealand research organisations change in such a way that it is no longer possible to support the writing and submission of funding applications, and the Society can no longer run a fair and equitable funding round process.  As a result, it is possible that the mechanisms for funding rounds could change.  We will post any updates here and will inform all current applicants and research offices of any changes.

For any of our funding schemes, applications in current or ongoing rounds will still be assessed as submitted.  However, any contracts offered may need to recognise that research plans may be disrupted and a delayed start would be negotiated.

Marsden Fund

We are currently working with the Marsden Fund Council on how the 2020 round should proceed.  This could affect how the 2020 EOIs are assessed.  We are trying to maintain our application and assessment processes; however, we appreciate the situation has rapidly evolved and there are a number of challenges and pressures being faced by the research community.  We will provide an update as soon as we can.

Rutherford Discovery Fellowships

The closing date for Rutherford Discovery Fellowship applications is now on Thursday 23 April, and we will update the published timeline.  Interviews later in the year may be conducted via video link instead of in person.

Rutherford Foundation

The Rutherford Foundation funding round is due to open on 04 June and close on 06 August.  At this stage we expect the funding round to the published timeline

James Cook Research Fellowships

The closing date for James Cook Research Fellowship applications is on Thursday 07 May, and we expect the funding round to run according to the published timeline.

Catalyst Fund

The current open Catalyst:Seeding and Catalyst: Leaders call close on Thursday 23 April. Successful Catalyst: Seeding and International Leader Fellowship applicants have up to one year after the funding round closing date to start the contract, which we hope will take us beyond the worst of the travel disruptions.  We are awaiting confirmation from MBIE that the April Catalyst call will be cancelled and that the funding will instead be made available in the July call.

Applications for JSPS Postdoctoral Fellowships (under the current Catalyst: Leaders call) will proceed as normal.  The Society will notify all research offices and affected applicants if JSPS introduces changes to the scheme.

The New Zealand-China Scientist Exchange Programme is set to begin with an orientation event in Beijing on 20 October as published in the guidelines.  The Society will notify all research offices and affected applicants if this advice changes.

Update for Contract Holders

We expect that the COVID-19 outbreak will have an impact on research contracted through various research funding schemes run by Royal Society Te Apārangi: Marsden Fund; Rutherford Discovery Fellowships; Rutherford Foundation; James Cook Fellowships; and, Catalyst Fund.  We will accept any no-cost extensions and/or changes to research contracts directly or indirectly caused by COVID-19.

If you are a current contract holder and your research has been, or will be affected, please get in touch with the research office at your institution. Organisations with a large number of contracts can compile a list of affected contracts and send them through in a single email.

Once the situation has become clearer, we will negotiate contract variations where necessary.