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Covid-19 and Research: Frequently Asked Questions

The ongoing situation regarding Covid-19 is having a significant impact on our ability to perform research in Trinity.

Some of the most frequently asked questions are listed below. This list will continue to be updated and it is advised that you check it regularly. Advice and FAQs will be updated to reflect any changes in official guidance.

Researchers who have encountered specific issues can continue to log them using the online form here.

Please continue to check Trinity's main COVID-19 page for regular general updates from the university.

IMPORTANT NOTE: A strict protocol has been put in place to facilitate Covid-19 research in Trinity. Anyone looking to conduct Covid-19 related research on campus needs to complete the form below. Forms should be returned to the Dean of Research (, also cc'ing the Office of the Dean of Research (

Download the Covid-19 Research Access Form here Guidelines for the Resumption of Research Activities on Campus as of June 2nd

Research activities and access to Campus

Who is allowed on campus for research purposes?

For the duration of the campus closure, remote working is the preferred mode of work for all research.

With the easing of some government restrictions on movement, each School/Unit/Trinity Research Institute has developed, or is in the process of developing, a local plan for the resumption of activities on campus.

Guidance for the phased resumption of research activities on campus is available here.

Updated June 11

Will it be possible to carry out Covid-19 related research in Trinity?

A strict protocol has been put in place to facilitate Covid-19 research in Trinity.

For more information, download the Covid-19 Research Access Form here.

Forms should be returned to the Dean of Research (, also cc'ing the Office of the Dean of Research (


What is the SafeZone app and why do I have to use it?

With a greatly diminished level of activity in College and reduced levels of support staff, including security, available to respond to issues, we have decided to implement a system called SafeZone to assist with ensuring the safety of essential staff when working in College.  If you have been identified as an essential staff member and if you have installed the App on your smartphone, the App will automatically check you in when you arrive at any College premises and will then automatically check you out when you have finished working and have departed College.

Key features include reporting an emergency 24/7, contact with Security 24/7 and contact with College Health during normal office hours. There is also a direct link to the College COVID-19 webpages.
Please install the App with “auto check in” as illustrated below before coming into College and show the app to security/attendant when entering College.

Your use of this app while in College will greatly assist us in protecting the health and wellbeing of you and all members of our community in College which is one of our key objectives.

If you have any queries in relation to the App, please contact

Installing the App with auto check in

1.       Download the App (details included in the following link):

2.       Open the SafeZone app and enter your email (only email addresses will be accepted).

3.       Follow prompts to complete registration – see explanation below. 

4.       Review and accept permissions

a.      Location – Select always allow (note this does not mean people can always see you and even though the app has access always, that data is not visible unless you check-in).
“Always allow” is required for check-in to work in the background, which enables you to minimize the app and return to the home screen which reduces battery use.
b.       Bluetooth is for alert devices or indoor location (not necessarily required at this point in time).
c.       Notifications allows people to reach you with important messages or in an emergency.  This should be enabled (your location will not be visible in order for notifications to be sent).
d.       Motion and Fitness Activity is NOT about tracking your fitness, it refers to battery life – when the phone is not moving, the app knows not to check your location as frequently!

5.   Complete your profile and set a password.  Please note you are not required to provide a profile photo in order to register.

6.       Accept Terms of Use. Please take some time to review the SafeZone Privacy Policy at which sets out how your personal data will be processed in compliance with data protection law. If you require further information on data protection compliance at Trinity College and your rights under GDPR please contact

7.       Once the app is installed, press the menu button (in the top left of the screen) and select settings.

8.       Allow automatic check-in.

9.       You have now successfully completed the
process.  If you need assistance, please email or  

This will automatically check you in when entering College.  However, you should check your phone and the SafeZone App to ensure you are checked in.  If not, you will manually need to check in by clicking the Check in button at the top right corner.  If you are checked in, the App will then look like this:

When you leave the premises, you will automatically be checked out but please check the App to ensure this has happened.  If not, please select the Check Out option on the top right hand corner of this screen:

Remote working and Research

What supports are in place for remote working? IT Services have a range of measures in place to support remote working. More information can be found on their Working Remotely page.
Are there recommended tools for collaborative working?

IT Services has information relating to the following tools:

Microsoft Teams

Blackboard Collaborate Ultra


Can I access the Library?

The Library is providing a limited service at the moment in line with current advice. More information can be found here.

Frequently Asked Questions about the Library's current service levels can be found here..

I need to conduct interviews as part of my research. What kind of supports are available to me? IT Services has produced a comprehensive guidance note on using Microsoft Teams to record and transcribe interviews. The full document is available here.

Administrative Support (Trinity Research & Innovation)


Can I still get support for funding applications?

Yes, all support functions from TR&I are operational and available to support PIs applying for research funding.

Will contracts be supported and signed during the current closure?

Yes, the Contracts and Research Development offices of TR&I have implemented alternative working arrangements and research contracts will be supported and signed.

How will we manage engagement with industry partners?

The Industry Engagement team in TR&I is fully operational (current restrictions apply). Alternative working arrangements with Industry Partners where required are being developed.
What are the implications for Covid-19 related intellectual property?

The Technology Transfer team in Trinity Research and Innovation, working with Knowledge Transfer Ireland and other HEIs, have produced a dedicated COVID-19 Non-Exclusive Royalty-Free (NERF) Licence. This streamlined agreement is aimed at speeding up the dissemination of COVID-19 applicable intellectual property from the Irish Universities and Institutes of Technology to companies.

If you have any queries please contact the IP Development Manager Ms Aoife Tierney:

What measures are in place to support academics acting as consultants during this time?

CONSULT Trinity in TR&I has produced a dedicated COVID-19 Consultancy Contract. This streamlined agreement is intended to speed up the dissemination of COVID-19 support, creating a safe way to help, and the standard CONSULT Fee will be waived due to the critical circumstances. By making it simpler and free of charge, we hope that this resource can be utilised when it is most urgently needed. Use of the COVID-19 Consultancy template will be time limited (6 months) and a further extension possible but only after a review.

Interested staff should familiarise themselves with the Trinity Consultancy Policy and get in touch with the CONSULT office for a chat ( Some quick tips for those new to consultancy include:

  • Consultancy generally involves short projects where pre-existing knowledge (i.e. techniques or data that is already published) is applied to a Client’s problem, so usually no IP is shared or generated
  • A specific, time limited work plan should be agreed with the client to avoid any uncontrolled growth in a project's scope, the CONSULT office has been set up to help PIs ensure these limits are put in place, as well as negotiate budget, liability and insurance
  • A major cited benefit to carrying out consultancy is the opportunity to see your expertise and knowledge applied to real world problems.

Funding (Deadlines, grant requirements etc)

What are the implications for active grants, application deadlines, reporting requirements, etc?

A number of funding agencies have issued statements clarifying their positions during the current situation. Researchers are encouraged to make contact with their funders in the first instance should their query specifically relate to deadlines, grant requirements etc.

Joint statement by the Irish Research Council, Health Research Board, and Science Foundation Ireland (issued March 13th)

Consequences for Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) projects and related activities

COST Actions

Where can I find FAQs relating to specific funding agencies and Covid-19 related impacts?

The Irish Research Council (IRC) provides specific guidance and FAQs here.

The Health Research Board (HRB) has a set of FAQs here.

Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) has issued guidance which can be found here.

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine provides guidance for its funded projects here.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued its guidance here.

Given the fluid nature of the current crisis, it is advised that you check the relevant FAQs regularly.


Will the deadlines for Horizon 2020 calls be extended related to the COVID-19 outbreak?

For up-to-date information on Horizon 2020 deadlines please check the European Research Area (ERA) Corona Platform.

Updated March 30

I have other queries about a Horizon 2020 grant...

The European Commission is answering Frequently Asked Questions for H2020 grant-holders on its website.

Updated March 31

Research and Travel/Visas

Will it be possible to recoup travel expenses for cancelled or curtailed research travel?

The guidance from our insurance brokers as of March 12th is as follows:

If a conference is cancelled, staff members should in the first instance look to the conference organisers for reimbursement.

The policy will only pay the cost of irrecoverable deposits and advanced payments for transport and accommodation costs which have been paid or will be payable, or become payable under contract, or cannot be recovered elsewhere e.g. from the airline.

As departure dates approach, staff members are advised to keep a close eye on the Travel Wise app/DFA website for any updates on destination countries -
Below are some scenarios:

The DFA put a travel restriction on the country?

There are various categories under the DFA website for each country. Additional restrictions may also be in place for specific areas within each country (e.g. Italy) so the DFA website needs to be monitored closely in advance of any intended travel. If the DFA advice is “Do Not Travel” there is no cover under the travel policy if the Insured Person proceeds with the trip anyway. If there was no advice against travel at the time of booking and the Insured Person does not travel because DFA is now saying  “Do Not Travel”, policy cover will operate subject to policy terms and conditions.  If the DFA advice is “Avoid Non-Essential Travel” and the Insured Person proceeds with the trip, you will have to demonstrate to the Insurers satisfaction why it was essential for the trip to proceed, in order for Insurers to deal with any claim arising from that trip. If the advice for the country/area is “High Degree of Caution” or “Normal Precautions” policy cover will operate subject to policy terms and conditions.

If the conference/meeting/event organisers cancel the event as a precaution but there is no restriction on travel to that country?

If the purpose for the trip was to attend the conference/meeting/event and there is no longer any reason to travel as a result of the event being cancelled, policy cover will operate subject to policy terms and conditions. The cancellation has to be for reasons outside the Insured Persons control.

If the staff member decides themselves not to attend the conference even though it has not been cancelled?

There is no cover under the Cancellation section of the policy where the Insured Person decides not to travel (unless this decision is made as a result of DFA advising against all but essential travel (and the advice had not been given before the Tripwas booked).

Insurers have advised that if the Insured or Insured Person decides not to travel this would be considered declination to travel and would be excluded under the policy.

What happens to Immigration and International Protection permissions to reside in the State that are due to expire shortly?

The Department of Justice and Equality has compiled advice on its website here.

Current guidance states:

"In light of the uncertainties caused by the Coronavirus pandemic, COVID-19, the following Notice applies to all persons with a current valid permission due to expire from 20th July 2020 and 20th August 2020, whether pursuant to domestic law or powers of the Minister, or Directive 2004/38/EC (Free Movement Directive).

All such permissions that are due to expire from 20th July 2020 and 20th August 2020 are automatically renewed by the Minister for a period of 1 month. The renewal of permission is on the same basis as the existing permission and the same conditions attach. In relation to persons with existing permission under Directive 2004/38/EC (Free Movement Directive), the automatic renewal is subject to the requirement that the person is complying with the requirements of the Directive.

Any permission that was renewed by the notices of 20th March and 13th May 2020 and which therefore has a new expiry date between 20th July 2020 and 20th August 2020 is automatically renewed by this notice for a further 1 month."

Updated 23 July 2020

Research Ethics and Integrity


All researchers are urged to read the current guidance from the Research Ethics Policy Committee on Research Data Collection and Storage when Working Remotely.

Researchers who have made changes to their data collection processes in light of the current situation are advised to consult the procedure for notifying their ethics committees.

Updated April 14

How do I get ethics approval for Covid-19 related research?

As part of Ireland’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic, and in accordance with a recommendation in the WHO Roadmap for R&D, the Minister for Health is establishing a temporary National Research Ethics Committee (NREC) for COVID-19 to deliver an expedited process for review for all Covid-19-related research studies.

More information about the NREC for Covid-19 can be found here.

A detailed list of FAQs about the National Research Ethics Committee for Covid-19 is available here.

Updated 17 April

How will ethics approvals be handled while campus is closed?

Ethics committees will convene using remote tools that are GDPR compliant (e.g. Microsoft Teams)

Further guidance for ethics committees is available here.

I want to get REC approval for a study involving data to be collected in 2021 – can I apply now? For projects that are not in urgent need of ethics approval, i.e. data collection will not occur in 2020,  we ask PIs to wait until August 2020 before submitting. This helps us to mitigate demand on REC time right now. 
Is it still possible to avail of the online research integrity training?

Yes, tokens are still available for Epigeum's research integrity training module which Trinity has access to as part of a national pilot scheme. Anyone wishing to avail of the training should contact Jennifer Daly.

HR Advice regarding researcher contracts

If a researcher is two months into a 10 month research contract will they continue to be paid even though they cannot continue their research for the next few weeks?

Yes. If they’ve been contracted for a specific period of time to conduct a piece of work, they will continue to be paid, although they may not be able to complete the research in the specified time.

What happens if a researcher’s contract finishes as planned within the next few weeks? They exit Trinity as was originally planned.
If a researcher has signed a contract to start work with Trinity in the next few weeks, what will happen?

If the start date can be pushed back to a later date, it should be.

If a researcher’s contract ends in accordance with the original contract in the next few weeks, will they be entitled to the special Covid-19 welfare payment? No. If the contract concludes as was originally planned, the person will have to sign on with social welfare as normal, and will receive the normal social welfare payment as they have not lost their job due to Covid-19.
If a researcher’s contract is due to end as per their contract, but the research project is continuing and an extension to the employment contract has already been proposed, what will happen?

If a contract extension has already been signed, the employment continues seamlessly.

If a contract extension has not been signed, the employment terminates on the date as initially set out.

Advice for Postgraduate Students from the Dean of Graduate Studies

Can I get an extension if my project is delayed by Covid-19?

Yes absolutely – get your supervisor to apply for one and this will be granted. Similar extensions possible for confirmation interviews and for submission of progress reports. This is not a blanket extension to all students, rather applications will be considered on a case by case basis but if project is disrupted then generous allowances will be made.

Visit the Graduate Studies website.

I am funded – will my stipend also be extended if my registration is extended per A above?

We are actively looking into this both in relation to internal scholarships and also our external funders. At the moment we simply don’t know. As such students should assume that (i) they will continue to receive their stipends as usual for the duration of their registration but (ii) there is no guarantee or likelihood that they will receive additional stipend payments for the period of any extension of their registration.

Are there any financial supports available for postgraduate students during the crisis?
  • The Postgraduate Student Assistance Fund (PG-SAF) has reopened for new applications, and the current round will remain open until 1pm on the 30 April 2020. 
  • The PG-SAF is a means-tested fund to assist with living expenses and financial emergencies
  • New postgraduate applicants to the fund should contact PGSUPP@TCD.IE for an application pack or with further queries. 
  • Postgraduates who have previously received PG-SAF support this academic year do not need to reapply, but should contact the Postgraduate Student Support Officer PGSUPP@TCD.IE to discuss their current situation.
  • The PG-SAF is supported by the European Social Fund Programme for Employability, Inclusion and Learning 2014-20202 and the generous support of alumni and other donors to the University Student Hardship Fund.

Inspiring Generations Doctoral Support Fund

What is the Inspiring Generation Doctoral Student Fund?

The Postgraduate Advisory Service and Trinity Development & Alumni have opened an Inspiring Generations Doctoral Support Fund to extend stipends for some final year candidates in the biological, natural, chemical and health sciences. This fund is made possible through a generous support donation to the Inspiring Generations COVID-19 Response Fund.

How do I know if I am eligible?

The fund is currently open to candidates who fulfil the following criteria:

  • Candidates’ theses must be based on research conducted by them in wet-laboratory settings,
  • Candidates must be currently due to submit their PhD thesis between 30 August 2020 and March 31st 2021,
  • Candidates should have been formally granted an extension past their original submission date on the register due to COVID-19 research/writing delays, and
  • Candidates must not have access to another source of funding to extend their stipend
How much funding is allocated to successful applicants? Successful applicants will be awarded a monthly stipend extension €1,250 Euro per month for up to a maximum of four months, depending on the length of the extension they have been granted and their submission deadline.
How do I apply?

Application is a 2-step process:

1. Candidates should first complete a short online application form linked here: Inspiring Generations Doctoral Fund Application Form , and

2. Request their principal supervisor (or an acting/ academic co-supervisor) to complete the supervisor support form and submit to The supervisor form is available to download here: Supervisor Support Form (MS Word)

I am a final year PhD candidate not working in the above disciplines, am I eligible to apply?

Currently the fund is only open to final years working in wet-laboratory settings.

I’m pursuing a Masters by Research/ Taught Masters, working in a wet Laboratory, am I eligible to apply? Currently the fund is only open to final year doctoral candidates
I have not yet been granted an extension, but my funding has run out, can I apply?

The fund is intended only to extend stipends for projects where the submission date has also been extended due to COVID-19-related research delays. If you don’t qualify, contact the Postgraduate Advisory Service at to discuss the Student Assistance Fund