COVID-19 & Research Restart

OVCR Research-Related Updates Regarding COVID-19 Emergency and Research Restart

COVID-19 Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research Update – March 17, 2020

Dear Colleagues,

I am writing with updated OVCR Research-Related COVID-19 Information for March 17, 2020 Please share this as needed with your faculty investigators.

I will continue to provide you with a daily update. Thank you for your resilience during this very dynamic situation.

Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research UPDATE – March 17, 2020, 4:00pm

Human subjects research studies that are necessary for clinical patient care may continue according to UI Health policies and recommendations  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.

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. Similarly, 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. Other compliance functions of OVCR will remain available including those of the Office of Animal Care and Institutional Biosafety.

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.


Joanna Groden, PhD
Vice Chancellor for Research