Guidance note for COVID-19 related research continuity, scale back, and shut down

Updated Information

Last updated: March 26, 2020.

Revised 'Request Form for Critical and Time Sensitive Research'. 

Consistent with public health policy, and following consultation with colleges, the Office of Research urges, in the strongest terms, the significant scale back of research activities, with the aim that scale back is done to reinforce social distancing.

Following extensive consultations and guidance, and consistent with public health policy, the Office of Research has issued the following directives pertaining to ongoing research until notified otherwise:

  1. Any research that proceeds must comply with these guidance notes from the Office of Research.
  2. Any research that proceeds must not contravene the directives provided by the Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies detailed at this link.
  3. All research activities must abide by University of Guelph policies pertaining to workplace health and safety, including required adjudication and approvals at the departmental/school, college, and university levels.
  4. Research should not proceed without appropriate supports, including custodial, administrative, financial, and others needed to sustain the research activities.
  5. No research is to be conducted with human participants that requires face-to-face contact (e.g., physical assessments, in-person interviews). If a researcher is concerned that this directive will impact the health of study participants, an exemption request may be submitted for review and institutional approvals.
  6. Research that is not impacted by social distancing policies, such as research that can be completed remotely (e.g., online), may continue provided that normal approval processes for such activities have been followed.
  7. Current, on-going animal studies may be completed, provided that adaptations to protect staff, namely social distancing and limiting the number of researchers in the animal facilities, can be implemented. Any animal-based research requiring intake of new animals will be undertaken only on a very limited basis, and not without consultation with managers of research animal facilities. Priority will be given to research that has a very narrow window in which it can be initiated or which are COVID-19 studies.
  8. No new research that requires access to University of Guelph-operated facilities should be initiated. Exceptions to this may be granted for research assessed as critical and/or time sensitive (for e.g., research supported by emergency COVID-19 funding; research focusing on COVID-19 or pandemics; research dependent on the seasonal nature of crops and/or livestock, etc.). Researchers seeking exemption for critical or time-sensitive research should use the Request Form for Critical and Time Sensitive Research, and submit their case to their Chair/Director (or their designate) for submission to the Office of Research through their ADRGS, or, in the case of Research Centre and Institutes, to the Dean of their primary college affiliation for submission to the Office of Research.
  9. Information on ongoing, scaled-back research activity should be shared with and approved by the Chair or Director (or their designate) of the academic unit to which the researcher is appointed. In the case of Research Centres and Institutes, information on ongoing, scaled-back research activity should be presented to, and approved by, the Dean (or their designate) of the college to which the centre or institute is primarily affiliated.
  10. Researchers must develop plans to close down existing research within university facilities on short notice, including plans for waste disposal and identification of essential services to maintain research samples, facilities and infrastructure where appropriate. The shut-down plans should take guidance from these notes provided by the Office of Research. Shut-down plans should be shared with and approved by the Chair or Director (or their designate) of the unit to which the researcher is appointed. In the case of Research Centres and Institutes, the plan should be presented to, and approved by, the Dean (or their designate) of the college to which the centre or institute is primarily affiliated.

In the Office of Research, we understand that members of the research community are concerned, and we want to assure everyone that we are doing everything we can to ensure the health and safety of our research community, and the long-term, continued success of University of Guelph’s research enterprise.

We continue to provide existing research services to ensure research continuity; thus, all Office of Research units (Office of Research Services, Research Innovation Office, and the Office of Research, Agri-Food Partnership) remain operational. During these exceptional circumstances service delivery may be delayed, and we appreciate your patience. 

Staying informed

Faculty members have a responsibility to their staff, students, and research participants to ensure that certain precautions are taken.

The University's COVID-19 webpage has updates, answers to frequently asked questions, and general information about COVID-19, including how to reduce the risk of exposure and transmission. The University will continue to monitor the 2019 novel coronavirus situation and provide updates on this page as needed. 

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