COVID-19-related Guidance for Grant-funded Research:

  1. Ask questions about project extensions necessitated by COVID-19.
    • Projects funded by the National Science Foundation enjoy an optional one-year extension, which can be approved by the Office of Grants and Sponsored Programs (you do not need to contact your program officer to request this extension). Contact Lauren Causey for questions related to federal sponsors or changes to research projects. Contact Carole Kampf for questions related to grant expenditures.
  1. Secure your data.
    • Ensure that you and all study personnel are adhering to your study’s procedures for data format and security, data sharing and access, archiving of data, and other related topics. Reassess your Data Management Plan. Ensure it is still viable given your remote work, or make adjustments as needed.

  2. Identify personnel who are necessary to maintain not easily replaceable perishable research materials. Communicate with the Department of Public Safety (612-330-1717) about such personnel.
    • Example: Long-term experiments where there would be considerable cost and/or time associated with requiring the experiment to end; ongoing maintenance of cell lines. 
    • Students may not be pressured or compelled to take part in laboratory-based activities during the pandemic.
  1. Identify staff who are responsible for maintenance of equipment that, if not done, could result in damage or high cost to equipment. Communicate with the Department of Public Safety (612-330-1717) about such personnel.

  2. Distinguish critical research from research that must be suspended. Critical research may include studies that must continue to conduct experiments that have a small time window for completion.
    • Examples: Time-sensitive experiments with not easily replaceable perishable research materials. Experiments with a specific measurement that can only take place a few times a year.
    • Students may not be pressured or compelled to take part in laboratory-based activities during the pandemic.
  1. Prepare for supply chain disruptions.
    • COVID-19 will have an effect on research related supplies. Laboratories should consider stocking up on consumable supplies, particularly those with a long shelf life. Further, availability of supplies may lag behind the resolution of a health crisis. So, researchers should consider maintaining in their groups supplies of those reagents that can be safely stored in order to assure their availability for the duration of a period of disruption that could last several months.
  1. Notify the Institutional Review Board of changes to protocols for studies involving human subjects.
    • If a researcher must make significant changes to a protocol based on adaptations caused by COVID-19, the researcher must notify the IRB and obtain approval to study changes before proceeding.  
    • Researchers must comply with local requirements for social distancing, or stay-at-home orders, which are likely to disrupt data collection plans and timelines.
  1. Respect local governance and federal recommendations regarding travel.
  1. Identify opportunities to conduct critical research that would shed insight on the scientific or social parameters of COVID-19.
    • The National Science Foundation (NSF) is accepting proposals to conduct non-medical, non-clinical-care research that can be used immediately to explore how to model and understand the spread of COVID-19, to inform and educate about the science of virus transmission and prevention, and to encourage the development of processes and actions to address this global challenge.
    • NSF’s RAPID structure should be used for these COVID-19-related, urgent proposals which may request up to $200,000 for projects up to one year in duration.