New statement regarding on-campus research and scholarly activities, fieldwork and interaction with research participants from vice-president (research)

Feb 10th, 2021

By Dr. Neil Bose

New statement regarding on-campus research and scholarly activities, fieldwork and interaction with research participants from vice-president (research)

In view of the decision for Memorial to return to a fully remote teaching, learning and work environment at the St. John’s, Signal Hill and Marine Institute campuses, I am writing to advise that we will be re-activating the COVID-19 Research Working Group (CRWG) process (see Framework for a Phased Approach to Returning to On-Campus Research Spaces, Fieldwork and Face-to-Face Interactions with Research Participants) at Level 2 for on-campus research activities at the St. John’s, Signal Hill and Marine Institute campuses. Please note that the situation is evolving rapidly and further adjustments may be required to parts of the process in the coming days.

Only research activities that have been approved under the processes of this Framework are permitted to continue from Feb. 10, 2021. For ongoing research activities on the St. John’s, Signal Hill and Marine Institute campuses that were not approved under this Framework, they must be considered and approved as described in the Framework.

The following request forms must be used: on-campus research activities here; research fieldwork or travel here; research involving face-to-face interactions with research participants here.

At this stage, all requests much be submitted by the Dean or School Head to Memorial’s Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) unit (health.safety@mun.ca) with a copy to research.requests@mun.ca. Research must not proceed until approval has been received from EHS and any changes to the Health and Safety Plan required by EHS have been adopted. See the Framework for campus-specific review processes.

As previously communicated, for research – new or ongoing – requiring approval from the Interdisciplinary Committee on Ethics in Human Research (ICEHR), researchers must first receive the necessary approvals as outlined in the CRWG Framework before submitting their ICEHR approval request, along with the CRWG request form and Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) plan, to ICEHR. Please note that ICEHR continues to limit face-to-face interactions with research participants to only that absolutely necessary.

For research – new or ongoing – requiring approval from the Health Research Ethics Authority (HREA), following the HREA approval process described here, prior to resuming their research, researchers must follow the CRWG Framework process and go back to the HREA in the event that there are subsequent changes to the research protocol as a result of the EHS or decanal approval. 

In all cases where research impacts on Indigenous groups, the resumption of any on-campus research, fieldwork or research – new or ongoing – involving face-to-face interactions with research participants must, in addition to the required ICEHR or HREA approval, also have permission from the appropriate Indigenous group as a condition of approval to resume research, including documentation of consent to resume research activities within already-existing research approvals. For all research requiring ethics clearance or Indigenous group permission, researchers must ensure that such permissions and ethics clearances, or amended protocols/clearances, are linked or uploaded in ROMEO. Please contact Indigenousresearch@mun.ca to provide documentation of appropriate permissions, or seek advice as needed.

While this is a very disappointing development, I want to thank you in advance for your continued cooperation with our processes. My office continues to work hard to help facilitate your important research at this challenging time. 

Dr. Neil Bose
Vice-President (Research)
Feb. 10, 2021

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