Curtailment of On-Campus Research Activities


Dear Faculty Colleagues,

 As you have been hearing on the news and seeing on social media, state and local authorities are closing schools, restaurants and bars, and in the Bay Area ordering people to stay at home.  In a very short period of time here at UCR, we have gone from “continue research to the extent possible” to “substantially limit research to critical activities.”    ALL of the research, scholarly and creative activities we do are of immense value to the university mission, but we are quickly moving towards an unprecedented disruption and must now strictly curtail on-campus research activities to those that cannot be postponed or restarted; and prepare for a possible complete shutdown of research on campus.

 Thus, we are revising our directives to faculty PIs and graduate students under their supervision regarding on-site research as follows (i.e., research that cannot be conducted remotely):

 All on-campus research must halt by 5 p.m. on Tuesday, March 17, until and unless granted an exception from the cognizant dean. Deans may authorize specific projects or experiments to proceed if 1) the only place the research activity can be conducted is on campus; and 2) delaying the research activity would seriously undermine the project and have severe consequences for the future of the UCR research enterprise.

  1. Your dean will inform you, if they have not already, of their process for receiving requests to continue research during the shutdown. Please submit your request by 5 p.m. on Wednesday, March 18. Your dean, in consultation with the Interim Provost and VCRED, will take into consideration the consequences of stopping or delaying your research in the larger context of the current pandemic situation and will inform you accordingly. We anticipate that approved exceptions will be rare.
  2. Curtailment of operations is not a reason to take shortcuts, risks, or suspend our usual safety and research compliance protocols. Research will continue to be subject to the same existing compliance regulations.  Moreover, we will all need to be extra vigilant about surface hygiene, social distancing, and general lab safety during this time.
  3. We remind you that in no circumstance should researchers take materials other than secure laptops, data storage devices, and other approved materials offsite (e.g., to their homes) to maintain research continuity during a curtailment.
  4. We will prioritize our future research capacity, including expensive instrumentation and facilities, unrecoverable biological materials, data, and artifacts. This will take precedent over current research that could eventually be restarted.
  5. For those of you working with animals, even if you are allowed to continue current experiments, no new animals should be ordered or new studies initiated if they could be delayed. Keep in mind that supply of PPE may be interrupted soon and for an extended period of time.
  6. No undergraduate students will be allowed in any on-campus labs or research facilities during spring quarter.
  7. Assistant professors whose research is seriously curtailed can apply for “stop the clock” through their department and the Academic Personnel Office.

 To prepare for the possibility that all research activities may be shut down, PIs of approved research activities are required to submit a shutdown plan by Friday, March 20 at 5pm to their dean. Guidelines  for developing such plan for wet-labs and labs with animals will be distributed soon.

 This is the time to be reflective and creative about our intellectual work, to complete data analysis, and draft manuscripts. We encourage you to write that papers that you have never had time to start and to begin work on your next grant application.  We understand that closing down your lab will be hard, but the extreme conditions of the current pandemic justify it.

Thank you for your understanding and cooperation and for all what you continue to do for our University and community. We believe in our faculty, staff, and students and that we will come out of this crisis stronger and more resilient.  There will be many new opportunities that we cannot even imagine about future research and we are committed to help you take advantage of them

Please let us know if you have any questions.