Advertised through MRC:

UKRI is issuing a new call to tackle the gaps in the research landscape. This has been issued as a highlight notice for research to understand:

 •    The vulnerability of minority ethnic groups to COVID-19

 •     The emerging social, economic and cultural impacts of the pandemic on these groups.

The COVID-related outcomes in scope as the focus for this call are broad and include social, economic, educational and health outcomes. Factors that may influence differences in these outcomes for minority ethnic groups include, but are not limited to: economic and social factors (including employment, housing, education, income and wealth, welfare support); access to NHS health care; hereditary or other susceptibility to health conditions; social and cultural practices; behaviour; language; immigration status; historical and institutional processes and mechanisms including racism, conscious or unconscious bias and discrimination.

UKRI’s ambition is to fund one or two consortia in this area, with a combined value of up to £5 million. The highlight notice will close at midnight on 18 September 2020

Applicants should follow guidance for UKRI’s Agile Research and Innovation Response to COVID-19 on the UKRI website for applying through Je-S from 31 July 2020. Applications submitted prior to 31 July will not be considered under this highlight notice. For full details, including how to apply, please see the UKRI call highlight notice.



In this short film Dr Yeliz Prior from the University of Salford  talks of the importance of diversity in research and the need for need more women to help shape the future of health and social care research to better represent the NHS workforce.

Yeliz urges us all to not to be scared of getting involved in research, that we all have a value to add, and all we have to do is to take the first step. We in TASC are here to assist with this first step.

To watch the film please click here:  “



COVID-19 Medical Research & Development Fund 

Please click here for the application form.



Andrew Radley and colleagues present the findings of a real world, cluster-randomised controlled trial in The Lancet Gastroenterology & Hepatology, investigating the effects of pharmacists providing direct-acting antiviral drugs to people receiving opioid substitution treatment therapy in Scottish community pharmacies.

Read the article here:



Coronavirus: Dexamethasone proves first life-saving drug - BBC News 



Accolade to Tayside NRS Research Fellow/Medical Microbiology Consultant Dr Benjamin Parcell 

TASC is delighted to extend congratulations to Dr Benjamin Parcell, who has been announced as the first recipient of the Healthcare Infection Society Early Career Award 2020. 

This award has been given in recognition of his outstanding implementation and communication of novel research as an early career clinician for the prevention and control of healthcare-associated infections. 

Further information on his award can be found here:




TASC Restart Risk Assessment Checklist Version 5 040620 

Resumption PI letter



An update has been issued on the CSO website concerning CSO granted funded projects paused due to COVID-19 and can be accessed here :


Online submission of amendments and a new amendment tool will go live across the UK on Tuesday 2 June 2020. 

These new processes for handling amendments is part of the ongoing Research Systems programme to improve services for applicants. 

More info:


CSO has published a statement on restarting research paused due to the COVID-19 pandemic

This refers to the NIHR Restart Framework 

The framework outlines guiding principles for a coordinated restoration of the health and care research portfolio. Scotland and the other devolved administrations have been fully involved in its development and are supportive of the guiding principles and prioritisation criteria. We should note that the NIHR Restart Framework provides guiding principles and not directive local operational instruction. 

On May 21st the Scottish Government published the Coronavirus (COVID-19): framework for decision making – Scotland’s route map through and out of the crisis

This route map takes an evidence-led and transparent approach to easing restrictions and sets out a phased approach towards the future. We wish to stress that the Restart Framework does not in any way supersede the SG guidance around non-essential on-campus University lab work contained within the Coronavirus (COVID-19): framework for decision making document. Non-essential, on-campus University lab work should not restart until SG has issued further specific guidance to do so subject to physical distancing as part of the staged implementation of the route map.



A new online booking service will be rolled out for IRAS studies on Tuesday 19 May – replacing the current Central Booking Service (CBS) telephone line. This is part of our ongoing Research Systems programme of work to improve our services for applicants.

Applicants submitting research projects through IRAS will no longer need to call the Central Booking Service to book a Research Ethics Committee, or to enable IRAS Form submission. Instead applicants will access the new online booking service via IRAS to book their application for review. The service is quick and easy to use and, unlike the current Central Booking Service, will be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, making it easier for research applicants. If you need help and support with the new system you can call 0207 104 8008 between 8.30am and 4.30pm Monday to Friday.      

In order to make use of this new functionality, applicants will be directed to a new part of IRAS which hosts the online booking service. A separate login will be required, but support will be provided. You will need to set up a new login and password for this area unless you already have a login for a NIHR system or as part of the Combined Ways of Working pilot (CWoW) pilot. In this case you can use your existing log in details. 

Applicants will need to answer a series of questions online before being able to book a slot. This directs the applicant to the appropriate REC. The questions will be familiar to anyone who has used the CBS. Once you have completed your online REC booking, you will still need to electronically submit your application in IRAS using the normal process.



International Clinical Trials Day 2020

On Wednesday 20th May, the world will celebrate International Clinical Trials Day, commemorating the day that Surgeon Mate James Lind started what is often considered the first randomised clinical trial in 1747, aboard the HMS Salisbury. The design of his trial may have inspired and informed future clinical trial design; and his work is rightly recognised not only for having taken care to compare like with like, but for helping to cure and prevent scurvy; a disease which had cost the lives of approximately 2 million sailors.

The importance of clinical trials has never since lessened, and International Clinical Trials Day provides a valuable opportunity to recognise clinical trials staff, to thank them for their work in improving public health, and to share their work with the public. For further information on International Clinical Trials Day 2020, please visit



Results of “exemplar” testing programme published

NHS Tayside and researchers from the University of Dundee have published results from the initial phase of the Tayside health and social care worker testing programme.

The programme has been hailed as an “”exemplar of testing by Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon.

NHS Tayside was the first health board in Scotland to begin a testing programme on 12 March using a drive-through testing centre for symptomatic health and social care staff or their household members.

Testing meant those testing negative could return to work while those testing positive could appropriately self-isolate.




Online booking service for IRAS submissions




New technology enables Covid-19 co-infection risk study 


Archived News 

April 2020

March 2020