The ongoing situation regarding coronavirus has significantly impacted the health sector in Australia and internationally, including the cancer research sector. Cancer Australia is aware that many researchers are concerned about their ability to conduct their currently funded research and their ability to continue future research once the current pandemic is over.

Cancer Australia is sympathetic to these concerns and committed to supporting the cancer research sector during these challenging times.

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2020 PdCCRS

Cancer Australia is concerned about the welfare of the cancer research sector and its ability to develop and submit grant applications when many researchers are faced with:

  • the closure of research institutions and/or administering institutions
  • repurposing of activities in response to the clinical and public health response to COVID-19
  • increased carer responsibilities due to school closures or illness within the family
  • extended periods of illness

Cancer Australia is working closely with NHMRC and has agreed to extend the deadlines for closure of the 2020 PdCCRS funding round. Please refer to addenda posted on GrantConnect and to the Important Dates and Information section for the 2020 PdCCRS round.

Due to the extended deadlines for submission, Cancer Australia is currently working through the impact this may have on the availability of researchers and consumers for Cancer Australia’s PdCCRS Grant Review Committees and potential consequences for delays in assessments and the subsequent announcement of results. Cancer Australia, at this stage, anticipates announcing the results for PdCCRS applications submitted through the NHMRC Ideas Grants scheme before 31 December 2020. The announcement of results for PdCCRS applications submitted through the NHMRC Clinical Trials and Cohort Studies Grants scheme is not likely to occur before the last quarter of the financial year 2020/2021.

Research Administration Officers (RAOs) in Administering Institutions are also experiencing pressure while dealing with their own uncertainty around staffing, resources and capacity to work from home. Cancer Australia would encourage PdCCRS applicants submitting through the NHMRC Ideas Grant scheme to support their RAOs by submitting applications well ahead of the closing date, wherever possible.

Existing PdCCRS Grants

Cancer Australia is aware that the response to the COVID-19 pandemic will impact many of our existing PdCCRS grant recipients, as researchers are faced with:

  • the closure of research institutions and/or administering institutions
  • disruptions to their current research due to interruptions in clinical trials, imposed travel bans, lack of access to research facilities/laboratories, interruptions to the supply of required materials and impacts on research personnel/collaborators 
  • repurposing of the researcher’s activities in response to the clinical and public health response to COVID-19
  • increased carer responsibilities due to school closures or illness within the family
  • extended periods of illness

2019 PdCCRS grants

Cancer Australia is currently working with recipients of grants awarded in the 2019 funding round to delay the start of the project where required. All Funding Agreements for the 2019 round must be executed before 30 June 2020 regardless of the date when the project is to commence. For those recipients whose Funding Agreement was executed prior to the knowledge of the likely impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Cancer Australia will work with you to expedite a Variation to delay the start of the project, if required.

All remaining active PdCCRS grants

Reporting

Cancer Australia will be sympathetic to any requests for extension to submission dates of Progress/Final Reports and associated Financial Statements/Financial Acquittals; however, please be mindful that any payments due on acceptance of a Report will also be delayed as a consequence of a later submission.

Variations

Cancer Australia will expedite requests for extension to the date of completion of a project due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on planned research activities by a simple exchange of letters. The letter should outline the length of time that a project has been impacted as a consequence of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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