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 is proceeding – as of June 25 – to resume additional on-campus research activities, fieldwork and research involving low-risk face-to-face interactions with research participants. This process is in accordance with an updated Framework for a Phased Approach to Returning to On-Campus Research Spaces, Fieldwork and Face-to-Face Interactions with Research Participants. 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 an updated framework for a phased approach to returning to on-campus research spaces, fieldwork and face-to-face interactions with research participants on June 25. You can read that statement here online. Updated June 25.
*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, which was approved by Vice-President’s Council on May 12, for phasing in research activity. An updated framework is available here online. It provides details on resuming additional on-campus research activities, fieldwork and face-to-face interactions with research participants.
To learn more, please see the June 25 update on research from the vice-president (research) here. Updated June 25.
*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). At Level 3 and Level 2, the approvals of requests will be provided at the level of dean and school head, with some campus specific processes as outlined in the framework. We now plan to move to Level 2 requests in line with the province’s move to Alert Level 2, but will drop back to higher levels should the provincial situation change. 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.
Prior to approving on-campus access related to research activities under Level 2 of the framework, including access by graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, building-specific Health and Safety Plans must be developed by academic units and be approved by Environmental Health and Safety (EHS), or the appropriate campus health and safety authority, for overall ramp up of operations (research, teaching and administration) within a building in which the research activity is to take place. This will include defining measures to control and monitor space use and people flow in corridors, common areas (such as washrooms, lunchrooms, lounges, seminar rooms, classrooms, photocopy rooms, etc.), and shared graduate student or postdoctoral fellow offices. In some cases, multiple academic and non-academic units will need to coordinate in the development of building-specific Health and Safety Plans where buildings are shared.
For resumption of research activities under Level 2 of the CRWG Framework, researchers must complete the relevant request forms (see the Face-to-Face Interactions with Research Participants Request Form here; the Fieldwork Request Form here; and the On-Campus Research Request Form here) and submit the forms to their dean or school head (see the framework for campus specific procedures).
The requested research can proceed once it has (1) been approved by the dean or school head and (2) been approved by EHS (or the campus equivalent). Deans, school heads and EHS (or the campus equivalent) must copy their approvals to firstname.lastname@example.org. Updated June 25.
*I am currently doing my research remotely. What is changing?
As of June 25, Memorial is proceeding to resume additional on-campus research activities, fieldwork and research involving face-to-face interactions with research participants in accordance with an updated Framework for a Phased Approach to Returning to On-Campus Research Spaces, Fieldwork and Face-to-Face Interactions with Research Participants. To learn more about this process, please read the June 25 update from Dr. Neil Bose, vice-president (research), here. Updated June 25.
*Are there still restrictions to on-campus research spaces?
Yes, however, as noted above Memorial has implemented 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 June 25 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 email@example.com. Updated June 25.
*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 where possible. Meetings with supervisors should continue to be carried out using remote methods. At level 2 we are resuming more on-campus research activities, fieldwork, and research involving low-risk face-to-face interactions with research participants with the safety plans being approved by the faculty and school. Please consult with your supervisor to determine what research activities have been approved.
Academic units are also developing Health and Safety Plans that will facilitate the return to campus of graduate students and post-doctoral fellows who normally would share office or other research spaces. Graduate students should consult with their supervisors or department head with respect to the status of graduate student offices and shared workspaces.
Students cannot be compelled to be involved in approved research activities if they do not feel comfortable doing so.
Any graduate student who is comfortable resuming on campus research activities must make contact with their research supervisor, graduate officer, or the dean of graduate studies to ensure that their needs are addressed as part of the process to approve requests to return to campus. Updated June 26.
*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 June 25 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 June 25.
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?
As noted above, Memorial has taken a careful, gradual approach to phase in 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 June 25 update by our vice-president (research). For resumption of research activities under Level 2 of the COVID-19 Research Working Group Framework, researchers must complete the relevant request Fieldwork Request Form, which is available here and submit the form to their dean or school head (see the framework for campus specific procedures). Updated June 25.
*How do current building access restrictions affect my access to lab, research or teaching space?
Current building access provides faculty members access to their individual offices. If you require access to your lab, research or teaching space, please follow the approval process outlined here. Updated June 26.