Impact of 2019 Novel Coronavirus on Alliance research projects

We recognize the COVID-19 pandemic may impact the progress of Alliance-funded projects. This website provides information for Principal Investigators of Alliance-funded projects as they work to navigate emerging provincial and University directives, and modified access to research stations and facilities.

Please review this information in conjunction with the Office of Research's 2019 Novel Coronovirus Information. All decisions regarding what research is permitted to start or continue is governed by Office of Research policy; Alliance-specific information does not supercede University-wide directives. 

If you have any questions about the Ontario Agri-Food Innovation Alliance Research Program, or an individual project please contact Laurie Halfpenny-Mitchell at  laurieha@uoguelph.ca

Request a project extension

Research activities may be delayed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Researchers may request a “no-cost” extension of up to and including twelve (12) months to complete an ongoing project. This applies to projects in the Tier I, Tier II, Gryphon’s LAAIR and KTT programs.

Extension requests should be submitted through the Research Management System (RMS) as soon as reasonably possible and before the current end date of the project. Visit the Ontario Agri-Food Innovation Alliance page on extension requests for information on how to request an extension. The extension request should include a brief revised work-plan with updated milestone completion dates. Please ensure that you are regularly updating all project team members on the status of the project. If you have any difficulty requesting an extension, please contact rescoord@uoguelph.ca for assistance.

Inability to meet ongoing Alliance project objectives or deliverables due to COVID-19

The Ontario Agri-Food Innovation Alliance recognizes that, in some situations due to the COVID-19 pandemic, original project objectives or deliverables may not be achievable within the project design or budget. As each case is unique, Alliance staff will work with the researcher to develop alternative options, which may include revisions to the deliverables, changes to the project design or additional funding, subject to OMAFRA approval. During this process, researchers are encouraged to communicate regular updates to all project team members. Please contact Stacy Favrin at favrinst@uoguelph.ca for assistance before requesting the any changes through the amendment process in RMS.

Request to delay report submission

The Ontario Agri-Food Innovation Alliance recognizes that report submission may be delayed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, especially in situations of illness or changing childcare requirements. The Alliance will approve, on request, extensions to report submission deadlines of up to three (3) months. This provision applies to projects in the Tier I, Tier II, Gryphon’s LAAIR and KTT programs. Requests for extensions to report submission deadlines should be sent to Kathy Zurbrigg at kzurbrig@uoguelph.ca.

Start and end date of new Alliance projects

Alliance projects will continue to be awarded per standard program scheduling. Researchers will have the opportunity to adjust, if required, the start and end dates of their new project, by up to twelve (12) months, with the corresponding changes in the milestones and KTT tables. This can be done in the Research Management System (RMS) during the “Offer Subject to Conditions” stage (e.g. prior to the Award Agreement being issued). Please indicate in your “Researcher Response to Conditions for Funding” text box what the changes are and note that you have made them due to COVID-19 so Alliance staff are aware. Changes are limited to timelines only. The scope, objectives and deliverables of the proposed project should not be changed without approval from Alliance staff. Please ensure that you are communicating the proposed timeline changes to all project team members, so they are aware. If your “Response to Conditions” has already been submitted and you now need to change the project’s timelines, please contact rescoord@uoguelph.ca for assistance.

Cancellation of Travel

Non-refundable expenses incurred as a result of cancelled travel and/or meetings related to the COVID-19 pandemic are considered eligible expenditures in Alliance projects, provided the expenses would have been eligible had the travel/meeting taken place as planned.

Remuneration of Individuals

Individuals receiving a salary or stipend from Alliance project funds may be recommended or required to self-isolate, and/or may be unable to work or work remotely for reasons related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Remuneration of these individuals is considered an eligible expenditure, as long as it remains eligible at the University of Guelph and provided that the expense would have otherwise been eligible to be paid out of the project.

Impacts on the HQP Scholarship Program due to COVID-19

Policy:

OMAFRA and the University of Guelph recognize the importance of graduate students in supporting the Ontario Agri-Food Innovation Alliance Research Program and maintaining the University’s reputation for research excellence. The Ontario Agri-Food Innovation Alliance is committed to supporting HQP Scholarship Recipients that have been impacted as a result of COVID-19.

Purpose:

To clearly identify the measures that will be used to support HQP Scholarship Recipients during the COVID-19 situation.

Applies to:

HQP Scholarship Recipients (new or ongoing).

  1. HQP Scholarship Recipients should discuss any potential impacts of COVID-19 on their degree program with their Faculty Advisor.
  2. New HQP Scholarship Recipients may defer the start date of their award to coincide with the changed start date for their graduate program. Deferrals may be up to a maximum of three semesters.
  3. HQP Scholarship Recipients may request an unpaid interruption of up to a maximum of two semesters for reasons related to COVID-19.
  4. HQP Scholarship Recipients may receive their scholarship while not located at theUniversity of Guelph campus or the Ridgetown campus, as long as they are registered asactive University of Guelph students in the semester of the payment.
  5. HQP Scholarship Recipients who, given the challenges posed by the COVID-19 situation, can only devote part-time hours to their program will be supported by the Alliance. They may continue to hold their awards, and Alliance will pay the full amount of the award. The amount will not be prorated, and the end date of the award will remain unchanged.
  6. HQP Scholarship Recipients, receiving their final scholarship payment in Winter 2020 or Summer 2020, can request an additional semester of funding, at their original semester amount, if completion of their program has been delayed due to COVID-19.
    • 6.1 HQP Scholarship Recipients will be asked to complete a request form providing additional details about the COVID-19 impacts.
    • 6.2 OMAFRA will be consulted on the request.
    • 6.3 A response will be provided to the recipient within two weeks of receiving the request form.
    • 6.4 Approval will not be unreasonably withheld. However, extensions will not be granted solely for the purpose of thesis writing activities.
    • 6.5 Additional scholarship payments will be funded through unallocated, carryforward funds within the Alliance Research Program, beginning with any unallocated funds in the HQP Scholarship Program Activity.
    • 6.6 Once approval is received, the University will update the record in the Research Management System (RMS) and notify Student Financial Services (SFS), so the additional payment can be processed.
    • 6.7 This may be applied to other future semesters (e.g. Fall 2020), depending on the COVID-19 situation.
    • 6.8 HQP Scholarship Recipients may receive a maximum of one additional semester of funding.

Extension Request Form

Fill out the HQP Scholarship Extension Request Form (PDF) and submit to the Research Program Coordinators at rescoord@uoguelph.ca.