COVID-19 & Research Restart

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

OVCR and OVCAS Research Update and Future Considerations

To: Deans and RAC

From: Sent on Behalf of VCR Groden and VCAS Coronado

Title: OVCR and OVCAS Research Updates and Future Considerations

Date: April 27, 2020

 

Hello Deans and Research Deans,

Thank you for all our conversations and discussions in the last few weeks, both during our regularly scheduled meetings and more spontaneous interactions. The OVCR and OVCAS have worked steadfastly through the last six weeks to support your faculty in their essential research needs. We have now begun to move forward towards increasing research activity over the coming weeks and months.

The University as a whole will examine restart in each area, with central oversight  by VC John Coronado’s Office. Much of our work depends on the staff who take care of our facilities and administration services including security, building management, custodial services, transportation, delivery of supplies and services and, not to mention most importantly for research, the Environmental Health and Safety Office (EHSO).

To prepare for the reopening of research laboratories, the VCR and VCAS are requiring PIs to register with BioRAFT, a research management tool. BioRAFT is an intuitive, scalable software solution to centralize institution-wide safety information, automate time-consuming tasks and mitigate risk using one comprehensive system. It allows faculty the ability to manage their research hazards, lab members, track training compliance and prepare for opening in a COVID-19 environment with a checklist to ensure the use of proper procedures to decrease infection risk. Questions can be addressed to EHSO, Kevin Cisner, Assistant Director for Chemical and Research Safety.

The OVCR Offices of Sponsored Programs, Research Development Services (RDS) and Postdoctoral Research, and the Office for the Protection of Research Subjects continue to provide all regular services. Similarly, all other compliance areas (conflict of interest/affiliation, export control, IACUC and IBC, and research integrity) are fully operational. BRL will remain at its steady state and, depending on our vendors, may consider increasing some orders and new projects. We are working to establish a BRL-affiliated BSL3 facility in collaboration with the COM for preclinical and translational research that will be available for use by appropriately trained researchers across campus. Our RRC research cores have also begun planning to facilitate research projects that can occur safely in the context of ongoing oversight and maintenance of instrumentation by our staff. (We are also very proud of our RRC staff who continue to supply viral transport medium for UIH clinical testing needs.) All requests for BRL and RRC services should continue to be made to the VCR for discussion and approval.

The OVCR is forming VCR-, Associate VCR- and RDS-facilitated working groups to provide guidelines on how to restart some research activities and to keep our ongoing research moving forward, especially in COVID-19-related areas. These will include groups for clinical research, population health and community engagement, translational research, STEM disciplines, data science, applied sciences and research/projects in the social sciences/humanities/arts. These OVCR groups will be organized this week.

Our Offices look forward to collaborating with you and your faculty in our next steps for research, and to be inclusive and sensitive to the requirements of each College. We will continue to support your efforts to make new discoveries and train the next generation of researchers. FAQs are posted on our websites with more detailed information.

Sincerely,

Joanna Groden, Ph.D.
Vice Chancellor for Research

John Coronado
Vice Chancellor for Administrative Services