COVID-19: Research Operations at USU2021-03-22T20:13:26+00:00

COVID-19 SOPs FOR RESEARCH ENVIRONMENTS

TEMPLATE AND RESOURCES

In response to concerns regarding the spread of COVID-19, Utah State University is moving academic courses online and canceling events and non-essential travel. Other functions of the university, including those performed by the Office of Research, will continue in as normal a fashion as possible, with some restrictions. That includes the work being done by researchers across the USU system. This page is intended to provide greater clarity and best practices for researchers at Utah State.

The university has also established a website regarding USU’s response to COVID-19. Researchers should familiarize themselves with the university’s infectious disease plan.

If you have any questions that are not addressed by the Frequently Asked Questions below, we have created a portal for you to ask your question. Using this form will allow us to provide you with an accurate answer in the most quick and efficient way possible.

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SUBMIT A QUESTION

Major Recent Updates

Request to Continue On-Campus Research Activities2020-06-03T15:09:28+00:00

(Added March 29)
In the event that we move to Level 1 of USU’s Infectious Disease Plan, we must prepare for severe limitations on access onto campus. Consequently, the Office of Research is working to determine research activities that are necessary to continue on campuses and other university facilities. We have worked to established criteria to identify eligible on-campus activities, which can be reviewed here.

If you believe your research fits within these criteria and want to request continuation of your on-campus research activities, please fill out the form below.

The university has also established a website regarding USU’s response to COVID-19. Researchers should familiarize themselves with the university’s infectious disease plan.

If you have any questions that are not addressed by the Frequently Asked Questions below, we have created a portal for you to ask your question. Using this form will allow us to provide you with an accurate answer in the most quick and efficient way possible.

REQUEST TO CONTINUE ON-CAMPUS RESEARCH ACTIVITIES
Personal Protective Equipment Inventory and Donation Report2020-06-03T15:08:53+00:00

(Added March 28)
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, we expect that the demand for personal protective equipment (PPE) will increase, especially in the critical healthcare field. To assist our community clinics and hospitals, as well as important USU COVID-19 research, we are asking USU researchers to inform us of PPE they have on hand and would be willing to donate for those purposes. Use this link to declare your inventory.

USU Research Transition Considerations2020-06-03T15:08:31+00:00

Research and researchers are critical to the mission of Utah State University. The Office of Research wants to support all research faculty and personnel in considering how to continue their activities during the COVID-19 response period.

To assist you, we have created a list of considerations that encourages best practices and research productivity while promoting safety and risk mitigation.

VIEW THE RESEARCH TRANSITION CONSIDERATIONS
Laboratory Animal Research Center Epidemic Response Plan2020-06-03T15:08:15+00:00

(Updated May 14, 2020)
Please contact Dr. Aaron Olsen (aaron.olsen@usu.edu) for a detailed description of current and potential facility responses to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Office of Research Communications on COVID-19

Town Hall: Standard Operating Procedures for COVID-192020-06-17T14:27:45+00:00
Research Update — Standard Operating Procedures For COVID-192020-06-17T14:26:05+00:00

Dear researchers,

Ensuring that you and your research colleagues are protected from COVID-19 transmission is a key element in USU’s overall pandemic response. For that reason, the USU Employee Safety Committee has approved a plan requiring each PI or laboratory director to develop COVID-19 specific standard operating procedures (SOPs) for their research environment.

Researchers who work independently or do not have a research space other than their office should also formulate an individual plan to mitigate risk of exposure to and transmission of COVID-19 during research activities.

The steps for completing a plan are as follows:

1) Review the guidance at https://research.usu.edu/covid-19-sops-for-research/.

2) Download the template COVID-19 specific SOP document from that website and complete for your research environment.

3) Submit the completed SOP document by June 30, 2020 to your Department Head or equivalent supervisor for review and approval.

There will be a town hall meeting on COVID-19 SOP preparation this Friday, June 12 at 1 p.m. to address questions regarding this process.

The event will be moderated, with questions coming from USU faculty. You can ask questions until the end of the day Thursday at the link below, or via chat during the livestream.

To address as many questions as possible, the moderator may combine similar questions and will prioritize those asked most frequently.

Plan to periodically check the website above as we plan to add additional resources (e.g., example COVID-19 specific SOP documents).

We also encourage all researchers to review more USU COVID-19 specific information at https://www.usu.edu/covid-19/.

Please note that the most cautious approach will still be the most effective, so where possible prioritize continuing remote work for yourself and members of your research group.

Be well,

Lisa M. Berreau, Vice President for Research
Alexa Sand, Associate Vice President for Research
Blake Tullis, Interim Associate Vice President for Research

Town Hall: Human Subjects Research (May 28)2020-06-11T15:26:36+00:00
Office of Research Update — May 112020-06-02T19:58:51+00:00

Dear USU Faculty,

Utah State University has passed $100M in Sponsored Awards for FY20!

Congratulations, USU Researchers!

Want to know what your sponsor is doing related to COVID-19 and how it impacts your sponsored award?

Sponsored Programs’ website includes links to sponsor announcements and a federal agency guidance matrix to help USU researchers navigate the evolving landscape of conducting sponsored research:

https://research.usu.edu/spo/sponsored-programs-impacts-of-covid-19/

Increased number of submissions

Sponsored Programs (SPO) has experienced a significant increase in proposal submissions the past few weeks. To ensure successful proposal review and submission, please provide SPO with your proposal applications in final form (ready to send to the sponsor) as soon as reasonably possible, but no less than the required 3 business days prior to the submission deadline.

Contact your USU Sponsored Programs Grant and Contract Officer 

It is very important that you communicate with your assigned Sponsored Programs Officer as soon as you know you will be applying for a grant and throughout the grant preparation process to ensure the successful submission of an application.

As a reminder, our website contains the latest guidance, policy updates, and tools for researchers related to the COVID-19 situation. The website includes a form for you to ask questions directly to the Office of Research.

Be well,

Lisa M. Berreau, Interim Vice President for Research

Office of Research Update — April 16, 20202020-06-02T19:41:34+00:00

Dear USU faculty,

Research and researchers are critical to the mission of Utah State University. All functions and programs of the Office of Research remain staffed and operating.

COVID-19 Related Funding Opportunities

New funding opportunities for COVID-19 related research are evolving rapidly.  Federal agencies as well as private companies and foundations are providing funding to address a variety of aspects related to COVID-19. Current funding opportunities and guidance related to COVID-19 are detailed on this page. The Research Development Division is available to assist faculty with COVID-19 related applications.

PPE donations still needed

There is still a significant need for more donations. As the medical situation worsens, more PPE will be needed to protect those on the frontlines who are addressing this crisis. You can declare your inventory for donation at this link.

As a reminder, our website contains the latest guidance, policy updates, and tools for researchers related to the COVID-19 situation. The website includes a form for you to ask questions directly to the Office of Research.

Be well,

Lisa M. Berreau, Interim Vice President for Research

Request to Continue On-Campus Research Activities (March 30)2020-04-16T15:29:34+00:00

Dear USU Faculty,

In the event that Utah State University moves to Level 1 of the Infectious Disease Plan, USU will institute limited, controlled access onto campus and restrict nonessential university functions. At that time, we will direct all faculty to take steps necessary to suspend on-campus research activities and continue research remotely during the COVID-19 response period.

Researchers should prepare to place their activities in a state where they can be restarted without loss of progress when restrictions are lifted. We have already sent out a Research Transition Considerations list, which can help to illuminate the questions and issues that need to be addressed to make those transitions.

As the university begins the process of determining essential on-campus personnel, the Office of Research has established criteria to determine exceptional cases of research activities that may be approved to continue on campus. They include:

  • Research directly related to COVID-19.
  • Projects that, if paused, would result in a loss of years of effort or data.
  • Projects that, if paused, would result in a loss of a major investment.
  • Work that maintains major research equipment in a safe standby mode in labs.
  • Work that maintains crucial samplesplants, and animal populations.
  • Other projects deemed essential by university administration.

We understand that many of you have research that, if paused, will result in a delay on your research progress for grants, publications, tenure, etc. Please note that those potential delays would not be sufficient reasons for continuing on-campus research activities in these circumstances. At the same time, note that these circumstances are nearly universal across the country and around the world, and that organizations are offering significant leniency to account for these challenges.

For faculty who believe their research activities fall within the set criteria, we have created a form to request consideration for continuing of on-campus research activities. All submissions will be routed for approval to the faculty member’s department head and dean, and then to the Office of Research and Office of the President. A more detailed explanation of the process is included in this handout.

It is critical to note that, if we move to Level 1, we are not discontinuing research. It is our hope that many important activities will be able to continue–in your home offices, living rooms. backyards, via Webex meetings and Slack conversations. All research that can be done remotely is strongly encouraged.

We are taking these steps in the interest of health and safety of USU faculty, staff, and students, as well as our broader Cache Valley community. We understand that these restrictions may result in lost time and resources for our researchers, but we must do all we can to help “flatten the curve” during this pandemic.

If you have questions or concerns, please visit our Office of Research COVID-19 website, which is updated on daily basis and often more frequently. The website includes a form where you can submit additional questions for rapid response.

Sincerely,

Lisa M. Berreau
Interim Vice President for Research

PPE Inventory and Donation Request (March 28)2020-04-16T15:29:24+00:00

Dear USU Faculty,

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, we expect that the demand for personal protective equipment (PPE) will increase, especially in the critical healthcare field. To assist our community clinics and hospitals, as well as important USU COVID-19 research, we are asking USU researchers to inform us of PPE they have on hand and would be willing to donate for those purposes.

We will use these responses to create a USU inventory. In the event of a community or state PPE shortage, hospitals will be able to request items from the inventory, and, at that time, EHS personnel will arrange for pickup of supplies as needed. (Please note that all items should be in good condition.)

Thank you for your willingness to support our potential community needs!

Personal Protective Equipment Donation Form

As a reminder, our website contains the latest guidance, policy updates, and tools for researchers related to the COVID-19 situation. The website includes a form for you to ask questions directly to the Office of Research.

Be well,

Lisa M. Berreau, Interim Vice President for Research
Alexa Sand, Associate Vice President for Research
Blake P. Tullis, Interim Associate Vice President for Research

Office of Research Update — April 62020-04-16T15:28:48+00:00

Dear USU faculty,

The Office of Research is thankful for the responses to the PPE donation request we sent out last week. We are particularly appreciative to the Biology Department for offering tens of thousands of PPE items for donation.

PPE donations still needed

There is still a significant need for more donations. As the medical situation worsens, more PPE will be needed to protect those on the frontlines who are addressing this crisis. You can declare your inventory for donation at this link.

The highest demand items are:

  • N95 masks
  • Gowns/Tyvek suits
  • Face shields

3D printing face shields

Face shields are also in short supply and can be made from overhead transparency sheets and a 3D-printed headband. Download print files, learn more about the materials needed, and see local drop-off locations for transparencies and headbands at this website.

Research and researchers are critical to the mission of Utah State University. All functions and programs of the Office of Research remain staffed and operating.

As a reminder, our website contains the latest guidance, policy updates, and tools for researchers related to the COVID-19 situation. The website includes a form for you to ask questions directly to the Office of Research.

Be well,

Lisa M. Berreau, Interim Vice President for Research

Office of Research Update — April 22020-04-16T15:25:21+00:00

Dear USU Faculty,

Research and researchers are critical to the mission of Utah State University. All functions and programs of the Office of Research remain staffed and operating.

As a reminder, our website contains the latest guidance, policy updates, and tools for researchers related to the COVID-19 situation. The website includes a form for you to ask questions directly to the Office of Research.

Key reminders:

  • To assist our community clinics and hospitals, as well as important USU COVID-19 research, we are asking USU researchers to inform us of PPE they have on hand and would be willing to donate by following this link.
  • In the event that Utah State University moves to Level 1 of the Infectious Disease Plan, USU will institute limited, controlled access onto campus and restrict nonessential university functions. To prepare researchers for that possibility, we have established a website to help researchers determine whether their research activities will be able to continue on-campus.

Be well,

Lisa M. Berreau, Interim Vice President for Research

Office of Research Update — March 262020-03-29T22:38:02+00:00

Dear USU Faculty,

Research and researchers are critical to the mission of Utah State University. All functions and programs of the Office of Research remain staffed and operating.

As a reminder, our website contains the latest guidance, policy updates, and tools for researchers related to the COVID-19 situation. The website includes a form for you to ask questions directly to the Office of Research.

Key update:

  • Applications for the USU Office of Research’s current round of seed funding grants and capital equipment grants are due soon. In light of the current COVID-19 circumstances, the application deadlines for both programs have been extended from April 15 to May 15, 2020. Additional details regarding these programs are available at the following websites:

    https://research.usu.edu/rd/seed-grants/

    https://research.usu.edu/rd/capital-equipment-grants/

    The start date for the April seed grant funding cycle is typically July 1. To best support PIs who receive funding this round, flexible (delayed) start dates will be available upon request.

Be well,

Lisa M. Berreau, Interim Vice President for Research
Alexa Sand, Associate Vice President for Research
Blake P. Tullis, Interim Associate Vice President for Research

Office of Research Update — March 202020-03-20T21:12:18+00:00

Dear USU Faculty,

Research and researchers are critical to the mission of Utah State University. The Office of Research wants to support all research faculty and personnel in considering how to continue their activities during the COVID-19 response period.

To assist you, we have created a list of considerations that encourages best practices and research productivity while promoting safety and risk mitigation. Topics include the following:

  • Examine the functions of your research program.
  • Determine the best way to manage your research team and colleagues while potentially working remotely.
  • Create plans to be able to continue to conduct parts of your research remotely.
  • Assess how you will communicate with your research team and collaborators.
  • Determine what steps you would need to take in the event of a temporary suspension of access to your research environment.

As a reminder, our website contains the latest guidance, policy updates, and tools for researchers related to the COVID-19 situation. The website includes a form for you to ask questions directly to the Office of Research.

Be well,

Lisa M. Berreau, Interim Vice President for Research
Alexa Sand, Associate Vice President for Research
Blake P. Tullis, Interim Associate Vice President for Research

Office of Research Update — March 192020-03-20T15:44:47+00:00

Dear USU Faculty,

The Office of Research is committed to supporting the research mission of the university. Beginning with this message, we will communicate with you via email at least twice a week.

All functions and programs of the office remain fully staffed and operating. We have developed a website that contains the latest guidance, policy updates, and tools for researchers related to the COVID-19 situation.

We have also created a form for you to ask questions directly to the Office of Research.

Key updates from our website:

  • The IRB has required a temporary stoppage of all in-person research. More information is available on our website.
  • The Laboratory Animal Research Center (LARC) has posted an epidemic response plan. As of March 18, in-person training is suspended and there is a moratorium on new applications for facility access.
  • See our COVID-19 website for frequently updated FAQs relating to proposals, awards management, animal research, human subjects research, research integrity and compliance, student research, and technology transfer services.

We are here to support you and your research efforts, and we welcome your thoughts, contributions, and feedback.

Be well,

Lisa M. Berreau, Interim Vice President for Research
Alexa Sand, Associate Vice President for Research
Blake P. Tullis, Interim Associate Vice President for Research

Message from the Office of Research RE: COVID-19 (March 16, 2020)2020-03-20T15:43:59+00:00

Deans and Department Heads,

I wanted to provide you with an update from the Office of Research regarding our functions during this COVID-19 response period.

  • OFFICE OPERATIONS: All Office of Research functions and programs are fully staffed and operating as usual. 
  • RESEARCH OPERATIONS: At this time, research programs on campus, including those involving undergraduate and graduate student researchers,can continue as usual with appropriate social distancing. In line with USU travel restrictions, mission critical travel to complete research within the state of Utah, and which can be conducted with appropriate social distancing, is permitted.
  • OFFICE OF RESEARCH COVID-19 WEBSITE: We have set up a webpage that will have the most up-to-date information we have available.
  • ADDITIONAL QUESTIONS: We have created a formto provide faster responses for questions not yet addressed on the website.

Regards,

Lisa M. Berreau
Interim Vice President for Research

Professor of Chemistry
Utah State University
1450 Old Main Hill
Logan, UT  84322-1450
Phone: (435) 797-3509

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