COVID-19 - Updated: 04/1/2020

OVCR Research-Related Updates Regarding COVID-19 Emergency

COVID-19 Specific Response Information

Updated : April 1, 2020

The OVCR will continue to provide services and support during the immediate future. Importantly, we recommend the following guidelines to ensure that all research at UIC be conducted or modified in a manner that minimizes risk to research personnel and any research participants during the COVID-19 pandemic. Please contact research@uic.edu with any questions or concerns.

Date Updates
March 23, 2020, 10am Research staff monitoring animals on current studies and/or managing breeding colonies are considered essential personnel and have access to UIC animal facilities.
March 20, 2020, 5pm The Biologic Resources Laboratory (BRL), following Governor Pritzker’s ‘stay at home’ order starting on Saturday at 5:00pm until April 7th, recommends that Principal Investigators designate lab members who will come to campus for routine monitoring and ongoing management of their animals.
March 19, 2020 The Biologic Resources Laboratory (BRL) will remain operational, but we will make several changes needed to manage our limited resources. The policies are effective immediately until further notice due to the changing dynamic of the COVID-19 situation.
March 17, 2020 The Biologic Resources Laboratory (BRL) will continue to provide animal research support for those projects already initiated; BRL will provide maintenance care indefinitely. In addition, BRL will remain accessible to PIs and laboratory personnel until further notice. PIs should limit aspects of their work to those critical for its continuity. Researchers using either BRL or RRC are advised that new orders and the initiation of new projects will be placed on hold.
March 16, 2020 The Biologic Resources Laboratory (BRL) and all animal research services will continue to provide maintenance care indefinitely. Its support for research services continues at present with some limitations. New orders of large animal species have been suspended through April 6th. Additional limitations are being considered to research-related functions. BRL users should consider curtailing the initiation of new projects during this time of uncertainty.
Date Updates
March 25, 2020

Updated FAQs:

  • How should I communicate with OACIB? In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and recommended social distancing, OACIB is operating remotely and will continue until further notice. During this time, general questions and concerns, and protocols and protocol modifications should be sent to oacib@uic.edu with the subject line appropriately completed. A member of the OACIB staff will respond to the inquiry and/or acknowledge receipt of the submission. Do not submit questions or documents to a specific employee during this time.
  • Will my submission be reviewed? Please note that during this time of remote operation, OACIB will triage submissions in order to accommodate projects with active ongoing animal experiments. The highest priority will be given to protocols undergoing triennial renewal and in “Just in Time” as well as modifications to protocols in which animals are currently being used in an experimental study. New protocols and/or modifications requesting to conduct new experiments will be considered a lower priority as research staff are not to initiate new studies at this time. As a result, protocols and modifications categorized as low priority may experience a delay in the review process compared to previous submissions. The intent, however, will be to review all submissions in as timely a manner as possible during this unprecedented time.
March 17, 2020 and March 16, 2020 The Office of Animal Care and Institutional Biosafety (OACIB) is also prepared to serve the UIC research community and continue business operations in the event of scaled back University operations.

FAQs:

  • How should I communicate with OACIB? All questions and submissions (protocols, modifications, revisions, continuations) should be submitted to oacib@uic.edu. Please use a specific subject line for communication sent to the office. Please refrain from sending documents or questions to a specific employee during this time.
  • Will my submission be reviewed? Yes, but it may take longer for review than in the past. Investigators need to consider submission of any new projects (protocols or modifications) at this time. Resubmission of an expiring protocols and annual continuation are not new projects and will be given first priority.
Date Updates
March 31, 2020 Updated FAQs: Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Human Subjects Research at UIC
March 20, 2020, 10am Updated FAQs: Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Human Subjects Research at UIC
March 17, 2020 Human subjects research studies that are necessary for clinical patient care may continue according to UI Health policies and recommendations https://hospital.uillinois.edu/news/covid-19. Other human subjects’ research activities are on hold until further notice, unless such activities can be conducted remotely, without in-person visits. The Office for the Protection of Research Subjects (OPRS) is triaging submissions through OPRS Live to prioritize emergency research (e.g., compassionate use protocols), amendments to protocols impacting staff and subject safety and continuing reviews necessary to keep projects open. PIs should maintain a log of studies/activities placed on hold and report these to the IRB at the next Continuing Review. Temporary modification of study procedures may be made at the PI’s discretion and a Prompt Reporting form should be submitted through OPRS Live. PIs must continue to follow all UI Health and University data security policies, and submit prospective amendments to the IRB for any requests to change their current IRB-approved data security plan. See the latest OPRS FAQs for more information.
March 16, 2020 Clinical research protocols that use patient care areas within UI Health facilities MUST also comply with all restrictions for patient care area access. Personal protective equipment is in short supply and will only be available for clinical care delivery; any research affecting therapies will need to be closely coordinated with patient’s care needs. The UIC Office for the Protection of Research Subjects (OPRS) has developed FAQs for COVID19 and research studies to help Principal Investigators modify study procedures to mitigate any real or apparent harm to research subjects and study personnel. When possible, a request for change in protocols or protocol deviation requests should be prospectively submitted to the IRB. However, IRB response to requests may be slowed by reduced IRB staffing and by the volume of requests. In all cases, investigators are reminded that UIC policy allows changes necessary to eliminate apparent immediate hazards to subjects and others may be made without prior approval of the IRB. PIs should keep a log of changes made, brief written justifications for any changes, including whether the change was at the request of the study sponsor, the PI at the prime if UIC is a subaward, and the date the PI notified the study funder, the PI at the prime, and the IRB. Contact OPRS with any research protocol questions at 312-996-1711, or via email at uicirb@uic.edu. FAQs regarding human subjects research are posted on the OPRS website and will be updated as needed.
Date Updates
April 1, 2020 Updated COVID-19 OSP Information.
March 30, 2020 Updated COVID-19 OSP Information.
March 27, 2020 Updated COVID-19 OSP Information.
March 24, 2020 Updated COVID-19 OSP Information.
March 20, 2020
March 19, 2020 New COVID-19 FAQs and Updated Information.
March 17, 2020 The Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) is closely monitoring guidance from Federal awarding agencies. OSP has observed a slowdown in the release of Federal (and other) awards beginning today, March 17, 2020. We are seeing a great deal of administrative and financial flexibility from sponsors, such as NIH and NSF. For example, many agencies are being flexible with granting no-cost time extensions and late submission of proposals. PIs are advised to document all instances where schedules are delayed or unmet, and to contact their program or contracting officers as soon as a delay is anticipated. OSP remains operational and is ready to assist with any urgent matters, including expedited processing of COVID-19 related projects and contractual modifications necessary due to project delays. See OSP Guidance for more information and links to sponsor-specific guidance.
March 16, 2020 The Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) is prepared to serve the UIC research community and continue business operations in the event of University closure, including submission of proposals, negotiation of contracts, and other administrative and financial award management tasks. Please email any specific questions or concerns to awards@uic.edu or gcopost@uic.edu. In anticipation of potential impact to sponsored projects due to COVID-19, OSP is providing the following guidance:
  • Communicate delays in writing to your sponsors in accordance with 2 CFR 200.328(d)(1), and any agency or award-specific terms and conditions.
  • Request prior approval through OSP if you anticipate a change in budget or program plans (e.g., need for additional funds, disengagement of key personnel for more than 3 months or 25% or more reduction in effort, change in scope, etc.) in accordance with 2 CFR 200.308(c). Note, some sponsors may have more stringent prior approval requirements.
  • Work with OSP to prepare contract modifications for Federal contracts and/or other sponsored programs with strict deliverable due dates and schedules that may be impacted by closures, availability of personnel, materials or equipment, etc.
  • Keep track of charges impacted by COVID-19, such as cancelled travel and conference registration fees, salary costs for quarantined staff, etc. in the event sponsors provide future guidance that necessitates a change in funding source.
  • Review University Payable’s Travel Reimbursement and the Coronavirus (COVID-19) (https://apps.obfs.uillinois.edu/news/dsp_News.cfm?FY=2020&A=19756F12-CCC9-4DD3-AE9A-8CEC2FDCEDB3) guidance for cancelled or interrupted travel.
For more information, please see https://research.uic.edu/covid-19osp/.

Research Development Services is providing frequent updates on new funding opportunities and announcements related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Our Limited Opportunities Newsletter and RDS News will continue to be published weekly with general funding announcements.  Please reach out to RDS@uic.edu with any specific questions.

Updates

Date Updates
March 19, 2020 We have moved to end most Research Resource Center (RRC) services today in order to reduce the number of people in our core facilities and with the goal of completing most projects in process by the close of business today. Only critical research projects using RRC will be conducted at this time. If there is a need for services/projects exceptions, please request exemptions with a detailed explanation to jgroden@uic.edu and the Core Director.
March 17, 2020 The Research Resource Center (RRC) facilities remain available, albeit at reduced staffing, for projects already in progress. PIs should limit aspects of their work to those critical for its continuity.  Researchers using either BRL or RRC are advised that new orders and the initiation of new projects will be placed on hold.
March 16, 2020 All Research Resources Center (RRC) Facilities are continuing to operate, with increased cleanliness requirements for equipment, surfaces, supplies, etc. Users of shared instrumentation cores will need to follow posted guidance with respect to enhanced disinfection procedures mandated by individual core directors. Understandably, the situation is fluid. PIs should immediately begin preparing for all on-campus research to be restricted to essential activities only as soon as possible. The RRC urges users to review aspects of your work that are not absolutely critical for the continuity of your research program. New experiments should be curtailed.