COVID-19: update from our CEO Tim Gardam

By Tim Gardam

The Nuffield Foundation is now operating as a virtual organisation and working as close to normal as possible.

The Nuffield Council on Bioethics, the Nuffield Family Justice Observatory and the Ada Lovelace Institute are all working out how their expertise may be of value in the pandemic. The Nuffield Council on Bioethics has already published a new policy briefing setting out the key ethical considerations relevant to public health measures being introduced to manage the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in the UK.

Last week we published a statement about working with our grant-holders during the pandemic. We are currently considering what we can put in place to support Nuffield Research Placement and Q-Step students.

We are also assessing how our various programme and curricula materials might be useful to schools and colleges as online and home education continues until the autumn.

Supporting our staff and grant-holders

Our priorities are to support our staff, our grant-holders and the young people who participate in our student programmes, as well as to fund research that addresses the wider social significance of the pandemic.

Although we have cancelled events at the Nuffield Foundation until further notice, we will explore ways we can continue to convene our audiences, and to engage them with our work, without having face to face meetings and events. 

We understand that our grant-holders’ ability to deliver their Nuffield-funded projects as originally proposed is likely to be affected by the pandemic. We are advising anyone affected to get in touch with us at the earliest opportunity and we will work with you to determine the best way we can support you to achieve the objectives of your project. We will endeavour to be flexible wherever possible and to respond promptly to all enquiries.

Changes to our application timetable

We will continue our assessment process of all funding applications currently underway, including outline applications submitted by last week’s deadline. However, we are mindful that applicants may wish to reconsider their proposals in light of the pandemic and are encouraging them to adjust and resubmit should that be the case.

For future funding rounds, we are keen to give applicants the time they need to prepare proposals in light of the fundamental changes to our society. We will therefore extend some deadlines to give applicants more time and will publish an updated timetable shortly.   

Addressing the social impact of the pandemic

The Nuffield Foundation is an independent funder; our mission is to advance social well-being and educational opportunity through the research and programmes we fund. In what is likely to be the most significant historical event in our lifetimes, we wish to support to the utmost the ambitions of our stakeholders to produce work to meet the unprecedented challenges of this crisis.  

We are currently considering, in a fast track process, applications for research projects responding to the pandemic and its social consequences that will be undertaken in the coming weeks. This immediate opportunity is now closed, but in the coming months, we are encouraging applications for research to address the huge social challenges and historical consequences of the pandemic. We seek original and ambitious proposals that will allow us to analyse and document the pandemic’s effects on our social well-being and the potential interventions that may help alleviate them in the medium term.

By Tim Gardam

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Supporting older patients to make informed decisions about knee surgery

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We improve people’s lives by funding research that informs social policy, primarily in EducationWelfare and Justice. We also fund student programmes that give young people skills and confidence in science and research.

We offer our grant-holders the freedom to frame questions and enable new thinking. Our research must stand up to rigorous academic scrutiny, but we understand that to be successful in effecting change, it also needs to be relevant to people’s experience.

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COVID-19 response

Nuffield-funded social scientists are conducting COVID-19 research in real-time, to capture people’s experiences of the social, cultural and economic impacts of the pandemic.