Questions with an asterisk (*) are new or recently updated.
Please see below for pertinent information for Memorial researchers, including faculty, staff, students (undergraduate and graduate) and postdoctoral fellows.
As the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador begins to relax some of the public health measures put in place during the COVID-19 pandemic, Memorial also looks forward with optimism to resuming some of our suspended activities using a careful, phased approach. We thank all members of our research community for their patience and commitment during this challenging time as we recognize that individual researchers face unique professional and personal challenges given their own circumstances.
*What is the latest information related to on-campus research and scholarly activities, fieldwork and interaction with research participants?
Dr. Neil Bose, Memorial’s vice-president (research), issued a statement regarding on-campus research and scholarly activities, fieldwork and interaction with research participants on May 14. You can read that statement here online. Updated May 20.
*How is Memorial planning to resume research activities?
A pan-university committee consisting of researchers and leaders from various units has been formed to develop and oversee the implementation of a framework that defines a process for phasing in of on-campus research activity, fieldwork and face-to-face interactions with research participants.
The COVID-19 Research Working Group (CRWG) is advising the vice-president (research) on the resumption of the suspended research activities. The CRWG has developed a framework (available here online), which was approved by Vice-President’s Council on May 12, for phasing in research activity. This will be in accordance with an overarching goal of increasing access to on-campus research spaces, fieldwork and face-to-face interactions with research participants.
To learn more, please see the May 14 update on research from the vice-president (research) here. Updated May 20.
*I am researcher. How does the new process outlined above affect me?
Deans and school heads have received an information package from the Office of the Vice-President (Research). They have been asked to only request, on behalf of researchers in their academic units, access to on-campus research spaces, fieldwork and face-to-face interactions with research participants when absolutely necessary. You should make contact with your dean or school head if you have specific questions and to ensure that you provide input to the processes that they are leading to solicit, review and approve requests from their faculties and schools.
Deans and school heads will prepare a package of requests for their faculties and schools that covers the range of on-campus research activities and fieldwork. Within the package of requests, each activity must be described on a separate request form (see the COVID-19 On-Campus Research Level 4 Request Form here and the COVID-19 Fieldwork Level 4 Request Form here), which includes an activity-specific COVID-19 health and safety plan.
Memorial recognizes the process is unusually detailed, it is critical that research activities resume in a manner that ensures the health and safety of our students, staff, faculty, research participants, and collaborators, as well as the broader community in which Memorial exists, at a time when COVID-19 remains a threat in our province. Updated May 20.
*I am currently doing my research remotely. What is changing?
While we aim to resume research activities that were suspended on March 19, where possible, for the foreseeable future research that can be carried out remotely should continue to be done remotely. Updated May 20.
*Are there still restrictions to on-campus research spaces?
Yes, however, as noted above Memorial is implementing a process to phase in research activity for on-campus research and scholarly activities, fieldwork and interaction with research participants. Dr. Neil Bose, vice-president (research), provided an update in his May 14 message to our university community. If you have specific requests related to the care for animals, please consult with Dr. Jennifer Keyte, university veterinarian and director of Animal Care Services, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Updated May 20.
*I am a graduate student who conducts research in Memorial’s labs. How does the new process outlined above affect me?
All graduate students in research-intensive (e.g., thesis-based programs) should continue to work from home. Meetings with supervisors should be carried out using remote methods. Graduate students are expected to continue their research as much as they can and continue meetings using remote methods with their supervisors. Under the COVID-19 circumstances, students must not be compelled to be involved in approved research activities if they do not feel comfortable doing so. Graduate students should make contact with your research supervisor, graduate officer or the dean of graduate studies to ensure that your needs are addressed in the processes that they are leading to solicit, review and approve requests from their faculties and schools. Updated May 21.
*How are the CREAIT Network labs affected by the closure?
Research activities within the CREAIT Network will resume within the context of Memorial implementing a process to phase in research activity for on-campus research and scholarly activities, fieldwork and interaction with research participants. To learn more about this process, please read the May 14 update from Dr. Neil Bose, vice-president (research), here. Staff with Memorial’s Strategic Institutional Research Initiatives (SIRI) unit and the CREAIT labs are working remotely during this period and will be available for any questions related to your research. Updated May 26.
I am a graduate student. What is happening to my funding?
The School of Graduate Studies baseline fellowship funding will continue without interruption. Researchers are strongly encouraged to continue funding their students for the foreseeable future.
I am a student interested in applying for a summer research award, what should I do?
At present, Memorial advises all faculty and students to continue with applications for research-related funding generally, including summer research awards. While many research activities are currently restricted, there is still the potential that summer research may resume. Unless applications are submitted and processed now it might not be possible to get these awards in place.
*When will I be able to conduct fieldwork?
It depends. As noted above, Memorial is taking a careful, gradual approach to phase in some of our research activities, ensuring our plans align with public health directives and the province’s alert levels. This approach, and how it affects fieldwork, is noted in the May 14 update by our vice-president (research). Updated May 20.
*I see that on April 16 Memorial announced it was enacting further measures related to buildings access. How does this affect my lab or research space?
Memorial enacted further measures related to buildings access on all our campuses in a manner that will enhance physical distancing and keep our community safe. Read full message from the president and provost issued on April 16 here. Also, a checklist has also been developed to assist in ensuring laboratory/research space hazards are controlled while the spaces are unoccupied. See here for more information for laboratory and research space owners. Updated 6:11 p.m., April 17.