Research continuity

Restarting research and creative activities

A phased approach to restarting research and creative activities

Principles and a framework have been developed to support the resumption of research, laboratory operations and creative activities.

Request form to restart research and laboratory ops

Essential, critical or time-sensitive research and laboratory operations may resume with the approval of the Chair, Dean and VPRI and the completion of required trainings by all personnel.

Contingency planning for research laboratories

Researchers should revisit contingency planning and implement cross-training that would allow continued operations with minimal personnel, in the event that a ramp-down in operations is required.

Lab occupancy maps

Use these building maps to check your lab occupancy to comply with social distancing guidelines.

  • You must be connected to the University’s network to view the maps (either on campus or through remote access). If you’re connected to the network and the link appears broken, please contact OIT for assistance.
  • If you’re having trouble accessing the information in the maps, contact EH&S at (775) 327-5040.
  • If you need to make updates to your lab space within the maps, see data inconsistencies, or have questions about the information on the maps, email Chad Leonard.

Operations within Research & Innovation

All Research & Innovation services are available, with personnel working either on campus or remotely. It is our intention to maintain seamless, quality services, and your understanding is appreciated as we adapt to operating in this unusually fluid and challenging time. Please check the following “division status” for more information.

  • Research & Innovation division status

    Animal Resources

    Ongoing regular care of animals is expected with only minor changes to the frequency of some non-essential processes. Animal Resources has well-developed plans to respond to a variety of curtailment or reduced staffing scenarios, and will communicate directly with relevant PIs if campus circumstances change. Find more information on animal research in the following Guidance FAQs.

    Enterprise & Innovation

    Services continue remotely. For MTAs and NDAs, contact Cara Baird, carab@unr.edu.

    For all other matters contact Ellen Purpus, epurpus@unr.edu, (484) 318-9509, or the team member with whom you have been working.

    Environmental Health & Safety

    Environmental Health & Safety (EH&S) continues to operate per normal work schedule and will maintain functions essential for support of research laboratories, which are chemical receiving and delivery, hazardous waste management, and laboratory safety. Most EH&S staff will be working remotely and can be contacted using their University email. EH&S can be contacted 24/7 at (775) 327-5040. All incidents (e.g., chemical spills, personnel exposures) should be reported to EH&S by calling (775) 327-5040. Find more information on specific services and research programs in the following Guidance FAQs.

    Innevation Center

    The Innevation Center reopened to members-only on Monday, June 8, 2020 at 8 a.m. for normal member operations. All members have access to the facility but with a number of health and safety precautions including: the required use of face coverings, required completion of the University’s COVID-19 training, occupancy limits in each room, and no training provided on Makerspace equipment. The Innevation Center plans on extending access to the public on Monday, June 22, 2020. This and additional information has been communicated directly to Innevation Center members.

    Nevada Center for Applied Research

    The Nevada Center for Applied Research (NCAR) is operating both remotely and with some on-site support to current and new businesses working on campus. NCAR has also partially resumed the grant-supported programs for connected and autonomous vehicles. Contact ncar@unr.edu with questions.

    Nevada Industry Excellence

    Nevada Industry Excellence is continuing to work remotely through the week of June 8, 2020 and will start having limited office hours starting the week of June 15. Employee hours will be staggered until the Innevation Center is fully re-opened. Contact Mark Anderson, director, at manderson@nvie.nevada.edu to set up meeting appointments, or contact your project manager directly. NVIE is now visiting client’s operations while maintaining proper social distancing, wearing all necessary PPE, and adhering to client safety guidelines.

    Proposal Capture Team

    Contact Carrie Busha, cbusha@unr.edu, and Kate Dunkelburger, kdunkelberger@unr.edu, for proof reading, proposal external review, and proposal consultation services.

    Research Core Facilities

    The Nevada Proteomics Center and the Nevada Genomics Center continue to operate. For proteomics lab work contact David Quilici at quilici@unr.edu and for genomics contact Paul Hartley at phartley@unr.edu. The Nevada Center for Bioinformatics will be operating remotely and all meetings or consultation with its scientists will be conducted via Zoom.

    Data Management and Curation:

    Activities related to data management and curation, administration of ScholarWorks repository application will be performed remotely. Contact Rohit Patil, rohit@unr.edu.

    Research Integrity

    The office has resumed work on campus. Reach out to us through email. We will also be available through Microsoft Teams and Zoom.

    Sponsored Projects

    Most Sponsored Projects personnel are working remotely and will continue to provide proposal review, submission and advisory services, invoicing and reporting, and award setup and negotiation services. Some staff will be in the office on a rotating basis, but please continue to contact the department via phone or email. Sponsored Projects will also continue to meet proposal, invoicing and reporting deadlines, and appreciates your patience and understanding. Find more grant-related information in the following Guidance FAQs.

    The primary, suggested means of contact for any staff, faculty, or sponsors needing assistance through Sponsored Projects is a shared inbox, ospadmin@unr.edu. The main office line will continue to be supported during business hours throughout this period: (775) 784-4040.

    Conflict of Interest:

    Conflict of Interest will continue operations on a remote basis. Contact Michele Dondanville, mdondanville@unr.edu.

    Undergraduate Research

    Activities of the Undergraduate Research office will be conducted remotely. Active awardees can continue research on their extension if it can be completed remotely. For any questions contact Tanya Kelley, tanyak@unr.edu.

COVID-19 related federal updates and grant funding opportunities

 

Incentivized rapid utilization of available technologies to address the global COVID-19 pandemic

The COVID-19 Technology Access Framework is a movement to share COVID-19 related intellectual property to facilitate the development of treatments and diagnostics.

  • COVID-19 Technology Access Framework

    We strongly believe that while intellectual property rights can often serve to incentivize the creation of new products, such rights should not become a barrier to addressing widespread, urgent and essential health-related needs. To address the global COVID-19 pandemic, institutions involved in the COVID-19 Technology Access Framework are implementing technology transfer strategies to allow for and incentivize rapid utilization of available technologies that may be useful for preventing, diagnosing and treating COVID-19 infection during the pandemic.

    To achieve the common goal, the University is committed to the following guidelines:

    1. We are committed to implementing COVID-19 patenting and licensing strategies that are consistent with the goal of facilitating rapid global access. For most types of technologies, this includes the use of rapidly executable non-exclusive royalty-free licensesto intellectual property rights that we have the right to license, for the purpose of making and distributing products to prevent, diagnose and treat COVID-19 infection during the pandemic and for a short period thereafter. In return for these royalty-free licenses, we are asking the licensees for a commitment to distribute the resulting products as widely as possible and at a low cost that allows broad accessibility during the term of the license.
    2. We are committed to making vigorous efforts to achieve alignment among all stakeholders in our intellectual property, including research sponsors, to facilitate broad and rapid access to technologies that have been requested to address the COVID-19 pandemic.
    3. We are committed to making any technology transfer transactions related to addressing the COVID-19 pandemic our first priority, and to minimizing any associated administrative burdens.

    View the list of signatories that have adapted the COVID-19 Technology Access Framework.

    Please contact the Assistant Vice President for Enterprise and Innovation, Ellen Purpus, at epurpus@unr.edu or (484) 318-9509 for more information.

 

Research continuity guidance

With the ongoing concern about the spread of this disease, contingency plans to provide appropriate continuity for research-related services, laboratories and research work, and creative activities have been implemented. Guidance and further information is provided in the following FAQs.

  • What assumptions can I use for planning, based on a scenario with widespread COVID-19 communal transmission?
    • A significant percentage of your laboratory workforce may be unable to work.
    • Essential research infrastructure, such as power and telecommunications, will be maintained.
    • Sponsored Projects will continue operations on a limited, remote basis with a focus on proposal submission deadlines, reporting and invoicing deadlines, and setup of new awards.
    • Animal Resources and Environmental Health & Safety will maintain critical functions.
    • Orders for critical supplies may be delayed.
    • Processing of visas by the federal government may be delayed, resulting in delayed appointments.
    • Core facilities and other fee-for-service resources may not be available.
    • Repairs performed by Facilities and other University and non-University service providers may be delayed.
    • Decontamination of your workspace may be necessary in the event of a local illness.
    • The University will communicate any disruptions to laboratory access.
  • What measures can I take to prevent the spread of illness among my research group if the risk of COVID-19 increases within the local community?
    • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for 20 seconds. Hand sanitizer is not a substitute for hand washing in the laboratory.
    • Disinfect common laboratory areas and touch points (e.g. doorknobs, sink handles, freezer doors, fume hood sashes, telephones) with 70% ethanol, diluted (1/50) bleach solution, or EPA registered COVID-19 disinfectant. View information on the EPA’s Registered Antimicrobial Products for Use Against Novel Coronavirus [PDF] .
    • Remind staff to stay home when they are sick or not feeling well.
    • Consider alternating work schedules to meet the demands of the laboratory while limiting close contact with others.
    • Identify work that can be done from home or remotely, such as data analysis.
    • Test and update remote work technologies such as VPN and Microsoft Teams conferencing.
    • Note: VPN access may be limited, and you may need to prioritize access for your group.
    • Avoid in-person meetings. Use remote work technologies such as Microsoft Teams conferencing.
  • What other considerations should I take for lab and research program safety?
    • Ensure that individuals performing critical tasks have been adequately trained and understand whom to contact with technical or safety questions.
    • Avoid performing high-risk procedures alone. When working alone is necessary, exercise maximum caution.
    • Notify colleagues of your schedule when working alone for an extended period of time.
    • Ensure that high-risk materials (radioactive, biohazards, chemicals) are secured.
  • Will there be changes to allowability of costs through grants?

    Sponsored Projects is reviewing questions relating to the allowability of costs associated with any disruptions to sponsored projects stemming from the coronavirus. Send questions to departmental business offices who should coordinate with Sponsored Projects. In order for a cost to be allowable, it will require consistent treatment across all funding sources.

  • Will I continue to have access to my research building?

    As of Tuesday, March 18, 2020, access to campus buildings is available only to research staff who have building keys or keycards.

  • What should be done to prepare for the care of research animals?

    Laboratories should be prepared to ramp down, curtail, or postpone animal research experiments if and when the need arises. If experiments must continue, please limit the volume of activity and the reliance upon Animal Resources staff members for technical service support such as injections, surgeries, and research-dedicated supply orders. In the event of a ramp down, Animal Resources will continue daily animal care as always. Please communicate directly with the Animal Resources veterinarians and team leads to coordinate project-specific roles and responsibilities for critical studies.

    Animal Resources is currently well-stocked with animal food, bedding, and other essential supplies. Ongoing regular care of animals is expected with only minor changes to the frequency of some non-essential processes. Animal Resources has well-developed plans to respond to a variety of curtailment or reduced staffing scenarios, and will communicate directly with relevant PIs if campus circumstances change. Please discuss plans with Animal Resources veterinarians if you have questions.

  • What about research involving human participants?

    Special approaches during COVID-19

    We recognize that during these unusual times, there are unprecedented situations that may require special approaches to managing ongoing research. There may be confusion about the appropriate course of action, so we recommend that you contact Research Integrity staff for assistance.

    The primary concern for researchers should always be participant and research team member safety. The ramping up of human subject research includes

    1. resuming in-person activities with existing, enrolled or screened participants,
    2. plans for enrollment of new participants into existing studies, and
    3. enrollment of new participants into new studies.

    The IRB is continuing to review new applications at this time. All applications (exempt, expedited, full board) will be reviewed in the order received and will be processed through the normal process. If you need to alter data collection activities by shifting to virtual or remote approaches on your active study, submit an amendment promptly to the IRB. Some research projects have successfully and safely transitioned to being fully remote, requiring infrequent or no access to University spaces. You should consider all planned study visits to determine if visits have remote capability or if any visits have the ability to be combined.

    Research areas must comply with campus and site location COVID-19 precaution guidelines before reopening. If you work in an open environment, be sure to maintain at least 6 feet of distance from co-workers. If possible have at least one workspace separating you from another co-worker. You should wear a face mask or face covering at all times while in a shared work space/room. Convening in groups increases the risk of viral transmission. Where feasible, meetings should be held in whole or part using the extensive range of available collaboration tools (e.g. Zoom, WebEx, Microsoft Teams, telephone, etc.). During your time on-site, you are encouraged to communicate with your colleagues and supervisors as needed by email, instant message, telephone or other available technology rather than face-to-face.

    For clinical research, maximizing opportunities for remote work is critical and should remain in use for the foreseeable future whenever possible. You should proactively prepare contingency plans for their active research protocols. Assess if the disruption of a research protocol might impact the safety of your research participants. If you do need to change an approved study visit in order to eliminate apparent immediate hazards to research participants, please report it to the IRB as a deviation from protocol within five days.

    Clinical research personnel must follow the recommendations on physical distancing and hygiene practices for staff and study participants as required for the specific site locations being used. For outpatient clinical research visits that will be conducted in-person, research personnel should contact participants within 24 hours prior to the visit. Clinical research personnel should verbally confirm and document that the participant is well, and explain the procedures on site for screening. The participant should be informed to wear a mask to the visit and that they will be required to wear a mask throughout the visit. Clinical research related activities should be conducted by a minimum number of necessary people, with time limitations and minimal personnel density.

    Research Integrity research ramp-up checklist

    Contact Research Integrity

    If there are any questions about conducting human research during COVID-19, please contact Research Integrity staff:

    Jan Anderson, jananderson@unr.edu
    Cecilia Brooke Cholka, cbcholka@unr.edu
    Ada Diaconu-Muresan, diaconum@unr.edu
    Nancy Moody, nmoody@unr.edu
    Christine Wallace, crwallace@unr.edu

    When reaching out to us about your research, please have the following information ready.

    • Submission type: New Project or Amendment
    • PI name
    • IRBNet ID number (if you have one)
    • Funding source: N/A or specify agency
    • Description of study and changes
    • Whether any procedures are just for the current limited contact period or permanent for the duration of the research
  • What if I was awarded a Faculty Travel Grant and the conference is canceled or postponed?

    If your conference has been postponed, please forward communications from the conference including any estimated dates or locations to the avpr@unr.edu. If you have booked travel and incurred fees due to cancellation, documented attempts should be made in a timely manner to show the awardee tried to get a refund from the:

    • Conference if it was canceled and the conference organizer’s response,
    • Airline and the response,
    • Any other transportation company that was engaged, and the response.

    If the request for refunds was denied because they were not submitted within a certain time-period (as required by the organization, airline, etc.), then cancellation costs will come out of the total award amount. 

  • What about research travel or visiting-scholars travel?

    All non-essential University-related/research-related travel should be avoided. “Essential faculty travel” is defined as travel required to preserve

    1. the safety of a patient or research subject or
    2. the results of research activity.

    Please postpone visiting scholar and visiting student researcher visits.

  • What guidelines are to be followed for working with biological agents?

    All principal investigators must have approval from the University’s Institutional Biosafety Committee prior to performing any research that involves biological agents or for changes (amendments) to existing research. New IBC protocols (MOUAs) or amendments to existing protocols should be submitted using the standard online procedure using Safety Stratus. Specific questions should be directed to Kristin Eliasen, keliasen@unr.edu, or Ben Owens, bowens@unr.edu.

    Environmental Health & Safety (EH&S) continues to operate per normal work schedule and will maintain functions essential for support of research laboratories, which are chemical receiving and delivery, and hazardous waste management.  Most EH&S staff will be working remotely and can be contacted using their UNR e-mail account. EH&S can be contacted 24/7 at (775) 327-5040.  All incidents (e.g., chemical spills, personnel exposures) should be reported to EH&S by calling (775) 327-5040.

  • How will delivery of hazardous chemicals be handled?

    Environmental Health & Safety will maintain a presence at Central Receiving every day and continue to inventory and deliver hazardous chemical products directly to the labs, as per current practices. Keep in mind the following:

    • EH&S does not currently inventory or deliver items that do not have GHS hazardous markings or warnings on them.  All such items will remain with Central Receiving staff.
    • EH&S does not handle or deliver items that are shipped on dry ice.  All such items will remain with Central Receiving staff.

    EH&S staff chemical inventory staff will be on campus between 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. daily. Contact Melanie Mayer, supervisor of the chemical inventory team, with questions at melaniemayer@unr.edu; office (775) 327-2271; cell (661) 312-6037.

  • Are there special considerations for invention disclosure, patent applications or receiving tangible research materials?

    There are no changes. Enterprise & Innovation is working remotely and available by email.

  • What research-related training resources are available online?

    Online COVID-19 trainings, available through WebCampus, are required of all working research settings and laboratories.

    Online, research-related training options on a variety of topics are available through these Research & Innovation units: