Vitae support and activities during coronavirus (covid-19)

This page captures the latest updates and links to further information to ensure the continuity and effectiveness of our membership and other services in the light of coronavirus (Covid-19).

We are delighted to announce that the Vitae Researcher Development International Conference 2020 is being relaunched this year as ‘Vitae Connections Week’ a virtual event that will run from Monday 14 September until Thursday 17 September. 

The event programme is being developed as we speak and includes live-streamed keynote presentations allowing synchronous participation with a live questions and answers session. The opening plenary session will focus around researcher development for the pandemic and beyond. 

New report on research integrity has important messages for Covid-19

Research integrity: a landscape study was conducted before Covid-19, yet the importance of research to the management of this crisis emphasises that the need to uphold strong standards of research integrity is of overwhelming importance, says Sir Mark Walport, Chief Executive, UK Research and Innovation

Vitae member Roundtables

Women at PC

We are delighted to announce that during June, we will be hosting a series of virtual Member Roundtables, thinking about current challenges in researcher development due to Covid-19 and how this landscape might evolve.  

By having small-group discussions we hope to enable connections and serendipitous conversations, in lieu of meeting face-to-face, which can be developed into good ideas and practice. 

Vitae Members can register their interest in dates and topics on the Vitae website.

Register your interest

Research Sustainability Taskforce

In response to these uncertain times for universities and the research system, Vitae was invited to be part of the BEIS/DfE Taskforce working to sustain the university research base and its capability to contribute effectively to UK society and economy in the recovery and beyond. This has been an opportunity for Vitae members to feed into the Taskforce, particularly on planning and support for retaining and growing talent. 

Thank you to all Vitae members who helped feed in to this.

Impact of Covid-19 on researchers and the UK research base

Female scientist

We have been commissioned by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), supported by UKRI and Universities UK, to gather evidence around the implications of the Covid-19 pandemic on the activities of researchers and research groups.

All researchers employed in UK universities, research institutes, charities and companies are invited to respond to the survey and we especially would like to hear from principal investigators and leaders of research groups.

Review of impact of Covid-19 on doctoral candidates and early career researchers in the UK

Man sitting cosy on laptop

Vitae has teamed up with the UKRI-funded Student Mental Health Research Network SMaRteN  to conduct research into the impact of the COVID-19 lockdown on the working lives of doctoral researchers and research staff. You can participate here, the survey deadline is Friday 1 May.

We would appreciate your help in circulating this opportunity to any doctoral candidates or early career researchers in your networks. If the dataset is large enough we will be able to offer access to your institutional results. You can find more information and promotional materials here.

Vitae 3MT® competition 

3MT image

Now more than ever, it is vital for research to be communicated clearly to all. We would like assure our community that we will be hosting the final of the Vitae 3MT® competition in September, in whatever format is appropriate at that time 

As we’ve received some queries regarding institutional heats, we’d like to remind HEIs that they have the option to run local competitions in person, online, or whichever format they choose (within the rules as set by University of Queensland). To assist with this, Vitae has creating some guidelines on running a virtual competition. For any further queries, please take a look at our Vitae 3MT® FAQs. 

Vitae Researcher Development International Conference 2020

Conference panellists

We are closely monitoring the evolving situation, including current restrictions to work and travel, due to coronavirus (Covid-19). We are exploring all potential options for the Vitae conference, which is due to take place on 14 and 15 September in Birmingham.



Due to pressures created by coronavirus (Covid-19), we understand that you and your researchers may have other priorities right now. Therefore, in order to support communities who do wish to run CEDARS, we have taken the decision to keep the survey open until the end of July, pending future developments.  

As REF has been suspended for the time being, this extension will allow more time for institutions to collect data for their environment statement. It will be up to individual institutions to choose if and when they want to run CEDARS during this period, as best suits their needs and the context for their community.  

Key information including how to run CEDARS, frequently asked questions and promotional material for your institution to use, can be accessed via new member-only webpages. 

If the meantime, should you require any assistance, please get in touch with us at  

Connections: Getting to Grips 

Conference panellists

We are pleased to announce that Connections: Getting to Grips will now take place as an online virtual event on 14 May. We will provide further information on how the programme and timings will be adapted for the new format, while offering a time-saving and distilled version of the key take-aways, as well as the opportunity for virtual networking with other participants. 

Pending Government advice nearer the time, we also hope to schedule a face-to-face Connections event in October 2020.

HR Excellence in Research

Following the revision of the new Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers, find out the impact this will have on the UK HR Excellence in Research Award process and how we are planning to support the process going forward in a member webinar on 22 April 2020.

We have also extended deadlines for institutions of the following Cohorts:

  • Cohort 5 - Original deadline 29 May 2020, new deadline 29 July 2020
  • Cohort 10 - Original deadline 8 May 2020, new deadline 8 July 2020
  • Cohorts 13 and 16 - Original deadline 5 June 2020, new deadline 5 August 2020

#Twitterchat: Adapting to the new normal: working from home as a researcher developer

Women at PC

Read the summary of this lively Twitterchat about how others manage their working day and environment when working from home, including resources and strategies for maintaining good mental health and wellbeing, as well as for delivering initiatives online to support the development of researchers.

Man working from home 2

Read our latest blog post by Rachel Cox, Vitae Engagement and Policy Project Manager, with ideas on maintaining good mental health and wellbeing during this period.

Community support and continuity update 


Whilst the current situation brings lots of uncertainty, we want to reassure our community and clients that colleagues at CRAC and Vitae are both safe and prepared. We will continue to be available to support you and have taken steps to ensure the continuity and effectiveness of our membership and other services. Read more about how we are working.