COVID-19 & Research Restart

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

COVID-19 Message to UIC Research Community

COVID-19 Message to UIC Research Community

Dear Researchers,

I realize it is a stressful time with the current COVID-19 emergency, managing your research activities and being mindful of your personal circumstances. I would like to provide some guidance to help you support these ongoing research activities.

 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.

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 COVID-19 and research studies to help Principal Investigators (PIs) 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 Institutional Review Board. 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 organization if UIC is a subaward component, 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.

The Biological Resources Laboratory (BRL) and all animal research services will continue to provide maintenance care indefinitely. Its support for research services continues at present although some limitations are being considered to research-related functions. BRL users should consider curtailing the initiation of new projects during this time of uncertainty. All Research Resources Core (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. Some Cores will not be at full capacity/operations. PIs should immediately begin preparing alternative plans for the continuity of their research during the time that all on-campus research transitions to essential activities only.  The RRC urges users to curtail new experiments.

The Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) will continue business operations, 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. Additional and more specific guidance for sponsored projects will be posted on the OVCR website.

Please know that we are here to support you and your ongoing research activities.

Sincerely,

Joanna Groden
Vice Chancellor for Research